Are Nine West's 'Walk Of Shame' Shoes And Others Sexist?

Nine West's recent ad campaign promotes shoes for the "walk of shame" and "husband hunting," among other activities. Some say the ads are offensive.
Posted at 2:23 PM, Aug 05, 2014

The fashion advertising industry has faced its share of criticisms. Now one shoe company is receiving criticisms of its own for its fall campaign portraying the modern woman. (Via Vimeo / Peterson Milla Hooks)

The ads under fire come from Nine West, whose suggestive marketing includes shoe recommendations for "husband hunting," the "walk of shame," "first day of kindergarten" and even "drunch" — drunk lunch, that is.

Many argue the ads only portray women as girlfriends or mothers. Some have called the ads "straight out of the '50s" and "offensive." (Via The Huffington Post, Mashable, Bustle, The New Republic)

As Consumerist puts it: "Good news, women of the world! The only occasions you're going to have in your life to buy shoes boil down to finding your first husband and taking the kids to school."

But a marketing executive for Nine West seems to have a different take, telling The New York Times the campaign is just a modern spin on traditional marketing strategies.

She says the full campaign even includes an occasion for being stuck in an office meeting, called "meeting about a meeting." (Via Vimeo / Peterson Milla Hooks)

Still, a writer for Bustle says the ads fail to address women in other roles. "The problem? Nine West's ads manage to be 'modernized' without challenging sexist convention in any way."

Now some are pointing out the could-have-beens, saying Nine West still could have gotten the message across without being offensive.

As one marketing expert tells The New York Times: "'Starter husband hunting' and 'walk of shame' ... are things that men say about women, not that women say about women. ... If you really liked women, you'd be calling that a 'victory lap,' not a 'walk of shame.'"

But others seem to take a more lighthearted view of the campaign paired with some of the company's tweets, such as this one that reads: "It's hunting season. ... If you're looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, we have a shoe for that."

Some of the ads currently appear online on the Nine West website. The rest are expected to come out next month in magazines and in Nine West stores.