I once complained to a former superior that I was having trouble getting heard in a new office setting. Before taking the time to think, he replied, “Maybe they’re just distracted by your lips.”
Little jokes-not-jokes like this are uncool, but also not uncommon.
It goes without saying that we are more than the composition of pleasing parts, but sometimes the objectification meant to grind women down can be used to empowering effect. In a campaign called #MoreThanLips, makeup brand Soap & Glory takes advantage of eye-catching lady lips to do something positive—ensure that women’s words, for once, get heard.
During the Women’s March in Los Angeles, agency David worked with m ss ng p eces to erect a massive screen on which were broadcast the prettily made-up lips of women. The lips in this case become a focal point for vulnerability—nervous laughter, and tearful divulgences of abuse both mental and physical.
But there are also big wins. The first openly trans person to run for California state legislature. The beating of marathons. A litany of interests, professions and loves, including tap dancing, gaming and electric guitar.
Directed by Bianca Giaever with experience design by Yehuda Duenyas, the lips in #MoreThanLips betray so much in a nervous bite or a trembling smile—sorrow, joy, pride and strength.
While it seems most of the on-site audience were women, #MoreThanLips has a shot of reaching a much wider audience, and impacting those still struggling. For every post shared using the hashtag, $5 will be donated to She Should Run (up to $20,000). The organization aspires to boost the number of women running for elected office to 250,000 by 2030.
In a world where women are more equitably represented in leadership, we may well get a shot at getting our lips listened to … and not just leered at.