In response to the article in this week’s Campaign on creative sexism, we’d like to invite a friend of ours to be our first guest-blogger. She’s going to crank this whole sexism debate up a notch.
I’m not one for gender stereotypes, but the older I get, the more I believe men and women are not the same. Different views of the world, based on life experiences means we can empathise with each other, but can’t know what it feels like to be ‘the other’. The last time I looked ( Jan 2008 ) some London creative departments had no women. Those with the most women were out numbered by men by five to one. And this does seem to be more typical of London than anywhere else in the world.
Today there are more ‘younger’ female creatives, but there is a gaping absence of mid level creative heads. Why?
Creating campaigns that have the potential to change the way people think and being able to write, shoot and film stuff is a really great job. Advertising is a very competitive industry, (especially in the current climate) with agencies pitching against each other for business. This often means working late and weekends, to get it all done and maintain standards. Without a VERY supportive partner or super–nanny, it must be hard for women (who aren’t already very established) to get back to work, after they’ve had time off, to have kids. Nearly as hard as giving birth in the first place, not that I’d know as I’ve never given birth, which brings me to my next point.
Not all women want to have kids, some people find this hard to believe, so may be hesitant about putting women ‘of a certain age’ in the driving seat. Also, people can assume you’re programmed to know all about babies, shoes, make up, hair or cleaning products and the way you dress seems to be more of an issue than it is for male creatives.
You’re more visible purely because you are a woman. So if you do well it’s easier to get noticed and if you don’t it’s just as easy! Some women tread on others to attain their goals, just like some men. Sexism, racism, ageism, opportunism, cronyism and homophobia are SADLY part of life. Male British creative’s may feel discriminated against by the increasing desire for someone ‘a bit different/foreign’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m half Arab myself, born in Iraq and used to getting frisked in airports. Some fifty year olds have much livelier, creative, minds than some twenty year olds. No wrinkles and wearing the right brand of jeans doesn’t mean you are creative. In fact dressing for the approval of others is anything but original.
Being female doesn’t mean you want to get married, have kids and are an expert in fashion or household products. Yes, I believe men and women see things differently but women drive cars and men wash their hair, some even like to wear make up. White British men can be very interesting and a lot of foreigners find them ‘a bit different’. It’s what’s between your ears and the work you produce that counts.
Jayne Marar is a Senior Creative at EuroRSCG London.