I received this stunningly tone-deaf email newsletter from your founder yesterday: Yes, I Say The F Word, and I’ll Say It Again
While delighted to learn that Krawcheck finally embraced feminism in her forties, I was appalled by the email’s tone, misunderstanding of radical feminism, and encoded presumption that Ellevest subscribers share Krawcheck’s latent discomfort with feminism.
If your corporation intends to (quite literally) capitalize on the appeal of feminist ideals to feminist investors, you need to demonstrate that you actually understand and embrace these ideals.
A newsletter title like, “Yes, I say the F word” is retrograde and insulting. Feminism is not a dirty word, I don’t feel any shame saying it, and I don’t support companies that encourage me to feel shy about being a feminist.
A bolded line like “Boy, in some circles, feminism has a real brand problem” makes me feel alienated from, not included in, your brand strategy. Where are these circles? Who is in them? Not me. Hopefully not Ellevest. So why should I be reminded that some unnamed strangers disapprove of feminism? Why would you remind me to care what other people think about my identification as a feminist?
Worst of all, the letter suggests that there is something wrong with identifying as “radical.” I wish Krawcheck had not stopped at Microsoft Word’s thesaurus, but had instead pressed on and looked up the definition of “radical” in the dictionary. While radical can be defined as “advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs,” it is also defined as “very different from the usual or traditional” and “favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.”
I was attracted to Ellevest because it seemed “very different from the usual or traditional”; because Ellevest seemed interested in helping women effect “extreme change” in financial systems that have long disfavored us and shut us out. But Krawcheck’s latest missive left me confused about your brand, your mission, and your message. In fact, I’m no longer sure that I’m the kind of investor you’re looking for.
All the best,