The F word. Squared.
Today I finally received a phone call from a Google team member. I was hopeful at first that we could have a conversation, resolve whatever misunderstanding existed, and finally get to the work of marketing our products.
Alas, it was not to be. I suspect we got off on the wrong foot, as I had just fielded three spam calls from outsourcing operations in India. Initially I was certain he was another one.
The call quality was terrible, and the fellow started off by telling me that he could not help me, and that he was unable to tell me what rule we had broken, or how to address it. He quoted the numerous vague emails that Google has sent us previously, siting "misrepresentation". I asked if he could clarify what we might be misrepresenting. He said he was unable to provide me with details, and began to read random points from the Google policy on misrepresentation.
I asked him if the determination that we were 'misrepresenting' ourselves was made by a person. He said that it was made by a person on his team. I countered that it makes no sense that he is unable to tell me what they determine our 'misrepresentation' to be, if a person on his team made that determination, as one would hope they would have to have some perceived justification. He said that he could not address the specifics of the Lippy Hippy site. I asked if I could speak with his manager, and he said that I could, but his supervisor will just say the same thing.
(Apparently a supervisor will be calling me in the next 24 hours to tell me the same thing. We shall see.)
The Google team member I was speaking with flippantly advised me to go through the Google policies and my website again; he then began quoting examples of misrepresentation from the Google website, such as an herbal supplement company claiming to cure diseases. I pointed out that the only claim I am making is that if a person orders a product from Lippy Hippy, we will send it to them. (Ok, maybe I am claiming we could Smash the Patriarchy. A girl's gotta have aspirations... but I'm pretty sure that falls under satire anyway.)
I gotta say, I nearly lost my temper.
I said, "You know, Google's mission used to be to Do No Evil." He said that is still is. (Snort).
While exploring personal statements back in 2016, my fantastic professor for core design had us each distil a message representative of our core values.
I would often use these one-off projects to learn new software and creative techniques, but this time was different. I had written numerous corporate mission statements, elevator pitches, investor proposals... but I had never really considered how I might express my personal values through the medium of design, as I had previously always approached design as a service.
The title of my presentation was "Feminist as F*ck". I enjoyed the alliteration, the play of the term "feminist" with the word "f*ck", particularly in a post secondary context, and that it was decidedly unladylike.
The semester continued, and the phrase stuck in my mind.
Seven years previous I had been introduced to the hand lettering of Alison Carmichael; I continue to admire the brave nature of her work. I found myself longing for the normalization of intersectional feminism, and I decided to bring the beauty of ink gradients to the task. By bringing traditional beauty to messaging that is critical of patriarchal structures, I hoped to create a humorous moment that normalized positive intersectional feminist messages, while also nodding to Carmichael's sense of humour.
The outcome was eventually the Feminist Missives line.
These short slogans started off as hand detailed greeting cards, and became the eventual inspiration for the Lippy Hippy website. When we launched, I had no inkling that feminist topics could be so abhorrent to advertising platforms. Honestly, after years of being served bullshit weight loss and plastic surgery ads and dating apps, I am surprised to find that they have any restrictions. (At this point, we can only guess that that is the case.)
I am not sure at this point that Lippy Hippy can survive the total advertising ban by Google and FB, but we are still fighting the fight and hoping for the bitter victory of being able to give them our advertising dollars.