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Here's How ThirdLove is Changing the Lingerie Game

Business

A sexy brassiere may seem like the last thing that could be empowering, but thanks to a growing shift towards body positivity, the perception of lingerie has also started to change. Instead of corsets being used to please a lover, women now see undergarments as a symbol of embracing their own femininity. Bra startup brands like ThirdLove see this notion as ‘taking back the reigns’ on the lingerie concept, especially since most lingerie ad campaigns are usually geared towards pleasing the opposite sex.


“There’s an antiquated idea that still drives a lot of lingerie brands' marketing — at the core, it’s about what is sexy to a man,” says Heidi Zak, Co-Founder of ThirdLove. “At ThirdLove, we actually don’t use the word ‘lingerie’ at all, instead we empower women by giving them back the reigns when it comes to finding their bra size.”

"We empower women by giving them back the reigns when it comes to finding their bra size.” - Heidi Zak

Launched in 2013, the ThirdLove brand was co-created by Heidi Zak, an ex Google employee, who was was tired of ill-fitting bras and awkward department store fittings. Focusing more on fit, and less on appearance, Zak’s ThirdLove bra line offers cup sizes A to F, as well as in-between cup sizes to guarantee the perfect fit. Technology is also a key asset to finding the perfect ThirdLove bra, as the brand uses a special Fit Finder quiz and Sizing App tool to help size yourself at home.

“We provide women everywhere with the tools they need to size themselves from home through our Fit Finder and Sizing App,” says Zak. “We offer both an iOS App to size yourself from home (a few snaps in the mirror with a fitted tank top and an iPhone are really all you need), plus a Fit Finder quiz to find your perfect size in seconds on our website. It’s our goal to make it incredibly simple for women to find their size and the bra recommended for their shape at the click of a button.”

Interactivity and customization through social media also play a big role to the brand, as Zak states that platforms like Instagram and Facebook have allowed the brand to start helpful and honest conversations with customers. This helps the brand develop new styles and campaigns, as well as learning what consumers exactly want and need in a bra.

“We use social media as a place to educate women on breasts, bras, and sizing and help them find their perfect fit — answering many questions along the way,” says Zak. “We also use these communities as a way to ask about potential new styles, colors, or campaigns — we have a free focus group right at our fingertips.”

However, empowerment still is a big part of the ThirdLove mission, as Zak states that all women should always feel sexy and confident in all undergarment pieces. And being that no two women are the same bra size, the brand is always committed to using using real life women in their ad campaigns.

"Real women wake up in the morning and put on a bra, not lingerie" - Heidi Zak

“We design beautiful and comfortable bras and underwear — because real women wake up in the morning and put on a bra, not lingerie,” says Zak. “Yes, bras and women can be sexy — but they can also be so much more than that. Women are mothers, bosses, leaders, partners and so much more. Our customers wear our bras to work, while they’re out with friends, and when they’re just hanging out with their families — and we want them to always feel comfortable and confident.”

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.