A few weeks ago, ad agency JWT announced its first-ever report on Female Tribes.

[Do ignore the fact that the agency’s former chair might be facing a lawsuit re alleged sexist and racist remarks.]

Though the news release and subsequent coverage were sketchy (we suspect the details are being saved for current and prospective clients), it supposedly looks at the rise of “female capital” and the value women bring as leaders, wealth creators, and artists.  Twenty different tribes, from cultural icons and Asian alphas to teen activists, were identified from a base of 4,300 female respondents in nine countries (ages range from 18 to 70).

Three “arghhs” come from us: 

First, because this kind of survey – regardless of depth and breadth – appears to be a sort of typology foisted on top of what we as women know are our differences and commonalities.  After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pick out Beyoncé as a cultural icon and Malala Yousafzai as a teen activist (among other tribes). 

Second, the use of the phrase “female capital.”  It reminds us of time spent in professional services firms where they categorized work in HR and talent as human capital.  A phrase that’s not really descriptive and definitely dehumanizing.

And third, the sad fact that, to our knowledge, this is the first attempt to figure out the world of women from a perspective that doesn’t involve why we buy. 

Anyone ask Gloria Steinem?