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This text generator is like ‘Lorem Ipsum’ but for feminists

The Feminipsum text generator was designed by women, for women—but the real message is directed to men.

This text generator is like ‘Lorem Ipsum’ but for feminists

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Such is the first clause of а placeholder text that can be found anywhere you look, from templates to websites to marketing and ad copy. The problem is, unless you speak Latin, the words are gibberish. What if they could be put to good use instead?

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“To put an end to sexism, not a character will go to waste,” is the motto of a new, feminist text generator designed to help dismantle gender discrimination in the advertising industry and beyond. Titled Feminipsum (get it?), the website allows you to generate up to five paragraphs that you can copy and paste in work-in-progress slide decks, websites, ad copy, recipe layouts—anywhere that needs a natural-looking block of text while the layout is being designed.

Feminipsum was created by art director Luiza Lopes and creative copywriter Vitória Ferrari, two friends who met at an ad agency years ago and quickly grew tired of witnessing sexist jokes in the advertising industry. By virtue of its function as a placeholder, the text may have a finite shelf life, but in large teams, it could be read by dozens of people before it meets the delete button—enough to start a conversation, one word at a time.

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Together, Lopes and Ferrari have worked at ad agencies from Wunderman Thompson to NBS to Unilever’s marketing team. Today, both of them are based in São Paulo and work at Africa DDB, Brazil’s largest ad agency. “When we were starting, sexism was louder at ad agencies,” Ferrari says. “When we realized that what we were living was sexist, we decided to use our power as creatives to do something.”

The first iteration of the website was born in 2017, with text in Portuguese. Soon enough, the pair noticed that the website was being accessed from countries as far-flung as the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Russia, and the United States. At its peak, 50,000 visitors were coming through the platform every month. So, in September this year, they built a version in English. “This is a global problem,” Ferrari says. “We imagine our message would land in different markets, too.”

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If you’ve ever watched the hit TV show Mad Men, you don’t need an introduction to sexism in advertising. And while the show was set in the 1960s, too many ads today remain stuck in the same midcentury stereotypes, fueled in part by a dearth of gender diversity in the industry.

Sexism, however, goes well beyond the advertising world. According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, 42% of 5,000 adult women surveyed in the U.S. said they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender. These women worked in science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields.

Feminipsum was designed by women, for women, but the real message is directed to men. In fact, Lopes and Ferrari knew from analytics that 52% of visitors (on the Portuguese website) were male. When crafting the text—in both Portuguese and English—they wanted to strike a balance between serious and sarcastic without ever falling into apologetical or hate messaging. “Humor is always easier when talking about difficult subjects,” says Ferrari, who wrote the placeholder text, which she fittingly calls a “manifesto.”

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“Lorem Ipsum is just like sexist behaviors in creative departments,” the first paragraph of the manifesto reads. “You don’t pay attention, you just play around. But also, why take a dead language poem or women seriously? After all, they are just a small number in agencies.”

The English version of Feminipsum has been live for only a month, so it’s too early for stats. But Ferrari says she and Lopes have received messages from a variety of users, including an art director at Dove who used Feminipsum while working on the brand’s social ads. (Ferrari even noticed that the Portuguese website had been accessed by someone in the Brazilian government.)

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With a more internationally accessible version, the pair hopes to start a conversation among art directors, copywriters, and creative professionals more broadly. As Ferrari says: “Maybe women will read this and discover they are not alone.”

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