Drugstore chain Rossmann to become 'Rossfrau' for International Women's Day

The Local Germany
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Drugstore chain Rossmann to become 'Rossfrau' for International Women's Day
Photo: DPA/Karsten Koch

Thursday is International Women’s Day, leading many people across the world - including in Germany - to reflect on women's rights. One big-name store, however, is using the day of women to rebrand itself - and not everyone is happy about it.


RossFRAU, not RossMANN

Rossmann, Germany’s second largest drugstore chain, will exist under a new name for March 8th only: Rossfrau. Rossfrau, a play on the word Frau, meaning “woman” in German, will replace the male-centric name “Rossmann” on their online site as well as at their largest store in Hanover.

The one day gender change for Rossmann’s name was announced on February 26th, and is a part of a larger ten-day campaign by the drugstore with the slogan “Let the Woman Out!”.

In a press release, Rossmann announced the meaning behind its campaign: “Women have different facets, and each of them is worth living. Through this campaign, Rossmann itself demonstrates the courage to be feminine”.

Hanover's Rossmann to receive a feminine makeover

The largest Rossmann store in Europe is located on Georgestraße in Hanover, and will undergo a full female-themed rebranding for International Women’s Day.

In the Woman’s Day celebration, the Hanover location will have various lady-themed activities to laud femininity, including engraving stations for cosmetics with their campaign logo “#LasstdieFrauraus” (#LetTheWomanOut). 

Along with the promised “Rossfrau” party favours like balloon and buttons, the most notable change will be to the Rossmann logo itself. The name “Rossfrau” will replace the existing Rossmann sign for the day, and the iconic Rossmann centaur’s masculine upper body will be swapped with a female figure.

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RossFRAU campaign triggers mixed reactions to female stereotypes

Rossmann's campaign to become Rossfrau for International Women's Day has led to debate about femininity and female stereotypes. 

Reactions to Rossmann’s campaign ahead of International Women’s Day displayed mixed feelings from females across Germany. While many customers applauded the action as a celebration of femininity, others saw the name change as more counterproductive.

For the last ten days, Rossmann’s “Rossfrau” campaign has used social media to highlight so-called facets of "womanhood": these have included such themes as “beauty queen”, “superwoman”, “princess” and “diva”. Many women have lashed out, using the campaign’s hashtag #LasstdieFrauraus, calling these categories stereotypical and condescending.

Elvira Nickmann of the Hamburger Abendblatt noted that Rossmann’s categorization of women is a prime example of  “outdated gender role stereotypes” and suggests that Rossmann should instead use International Women’s Day “for training on gender equality”.

Equality in name alone?

Many women in Germany are also voicing their doubt about Rossmann’s real commitment to gender equality in the economic realm.

In a term coined as the “Pink Tax”, women regularly pay more for female-marketed items in drugstores like Rossmann than their male counterparts pay for nearly identical products marketed for men. This was seen in December 2017 in a study conducted by the German federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS).

“Perhaps someone (at Rossmann) should suggest lowering the price of products that cost more for women than for men,” Nickmann says. “That would be a real show of solidarity”.

READ MORE: Six things to know about women's rights in Germany


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