It's about five-six hours ago that we wrapped it up now, me Bill Green of Makethlogobigger and Angela Natividad Live and Uncensored recorded show 11 for AdVerve (@Adverve) where we talk about sexism in advertising. Sexist ads, and sexism at the workplace. I'm still kicking myself for yet again not managing to be ...what's the word, oh yeah, diplomatic. I know that whatever I said on this topic will probably return to bite me in the ass sooner rather than later, each word chosen should be carefully so, but I've never been that good at filtering between what my brain thinks and what my mouth says. I'm pretty sure I cursed a few times too, oops. I gave the full disclosure that yes, I am a feminist, no matter what other people may think this word means, to me not being a feminist is not possible. There are people who argue that the word "feminism" is excluding men by being a gendered word to begin with. Like I said on the show: Civil rights was already taken. That is what it is. I, as a female human being, should have the same rights as a male human being. Human being is key here - feminism is inclusionary, racism needs to end as well as sexism - basta. Despite all the progress that has been made since the civil rights movement truly sparked in the states, there's still blatant racism in the workplace and in advertising, something Hadji spoke about at length on the very same show. There are people who argue that 'extreme versions' of feminism tainted the word and it's so polarizing it overshadows any coherent argument one might make under its mantle. I've had pals argue with me that the word "humanist" should be used instead, since they know so well my stance on wanting equality for all in the human rat race. But it doesn't matter what word we label it with, to those who don't want to listen, it'll always be the wrong word. We could call it fluffycup and someone would turn it around to say fluffycup-nazibitches, I promise you. I'm also kicking myself for not telling the rather ironic story of when I worked on a campaign about women's rights - as the only woman on the core team - with a household name brand. The work was web-only, so we only communicated via the phone and email. The job began in february, and for whatever reason, the deadline for the sitelaunch kept moving, first it was July, then September, then finally October 4. At that phone-conferance I informed them that I could not work as hard after October 4 as That's my probable due date. The meeting was cut short and the project leader called me up gasping rather agitated How could you not have informed us of this!? failing completely to see the irony of it all. I was rather cold and told him that I had accepted a freelance assignment set to end in July, so if deadlines had been held, there was no reason to inform him that I was pregnant. I brought up something dubbed Schrödinger’s Rapist on the show, you should read the monster thread here at Metafilter: "Hi watcha reading?" for a full blow of women's experiences when we walk down the street to fully grasp what that helpful tutorial was trying to tell the Nice Guy™. The original post is simply trying to explain to Nice Guy™ why a woman may seem "cold" when approached in public. We've been trained by experience. Even just glancing through the monster thread you will see women from all walks of life sharing why they fear and get ever so angry about having to feel that way. It is in that light you need to view ads where women are the sexy half-naked decoration. It's from that point of view that you will understand why it hurts to see sexist ads, these ads are an extension of the harassing world I greet whenever I step outside of my own front door.
Sexist ads reinforce women being owned by other people than themselves, and to top it off these ads invade our home and our daughters brains. We shouldn't have to "lighten up", it's time people try to understand fully where the complaints are coming from. Those asking us to lighten up about it aren't looking at the full picture.
Are some people overreacting to some ads, when they are intended to be funny? I dunno, how many times will you have to hear: "You're cute when you're angry" before you completely lose it? And, as I have argued before, these ads are insulting to men with brains too. Like one quipped under that post on adland "It practically screams "HELLO CAVEMAN WE OWN YOU WITH HORMONES". I've got news for BMW, my reptilian brain does not make expensive car purchasing decisions and I'm truly insulted you thought that it did." Product as hero ads are really hard to do well, they always were. It's not just because products and services have become more complex, only the best creative shops did great product as hero campaigns. This is the holy grail to strive for. Selling without making a joke on someone's expense is a great skill. These days it looks like adpeople aren't even trying sometimes. Working in advertising isn't all that different from working anywhere else, women will be treated different in advertising because they are treated differently in the world. I brought up this study as well: Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling, to underline my point that salaries being lower for women isn't just because we aren't asking for higher pay. We know that when we do ask, we're labelled "hard to work with". I am, as I have learned, throughout the years, incredibly hard to work with. They said the same about my mentor Paul Arden, but of course when he was, it was cool. Stuff I wish I had said on that sexism show, part 2 & more: That Shiny Suds commercial, and the Adverve sexism show.