I work in advertising, you’ve probably gathered this already from here. I am an account handler, and if you are in the industry you’d realise that there are loads of Tumblrs and sites dedicated to the humorous life and times of a creative, including the difficulties they face from account managers and clients – but none from the Account Man.
If I had the time and inclination I would create a Tumblr for account handlers (or The Suits, one of our more polite labels), and chart the hilarious episodes we get to deal with from creatives and clients as well. And set the story straight. But being in this department means I don’t usually get the time to trawl through the web and find pictures or make cute gifs all day.
At work one day I got a copy of Campaign Magazine, with a feature on advertising to women. Being female myself, I was intrigued – I do think advertising to women is definitely a couple of decades behind the times. But this article was the same, it was talking about not scaring the female consumer off and being careful about her. Like she was some flighty endangered species and the male advertisers were approaching her Attenborough-esque through the jungle foliage. AND IT WAS WRITTEN BY A WOMAN.
Once again, I have no answers here, but if women themselves are writing about the female audience as a foreign alien thing, how are we going to get any real insight into what our fellow ladies want to see or experience?
This neatly leads you to the kind of thinking behind Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. This essay is about cinema but it applies to everything in the world really. If media has constructed an image of woman – and this was constructed with a male viewpoint, then we don’t really represent ourselves. And over time this vision of women becomes reality and you start to wonder whether your own perceptions are a product of this, or if trying to overcome this would also be a product of the original mis-perception.
Then again – do we need to be gender and politically correct in every thing we put out in the world? I think that if you are creating beauty and enjoyment in the world, and you’re not hurting people, then it doesn’t matter if you use stereotypes or shorthands that might not be exactly nuanced in a mindful way. But I also think it’s extremely necessary that there are people out there who believe all communications have to be mindful, just and equal, all imagery should only be fair and not biased, and who would fight for this. And I think it’s important that we have the extremes in the world – the radicals, the feminists, the fighters. But I don’t think they are better than any other role you take in the world (unless it’s a role that takes away beauty and enjoyment, or hurts people) – you just fulfil a different purpose.
The title of this entry is adapted from a quote by Maya Angelou, who recently passed on. It’s a sad thing to lose such a wonderful presence in the world, but her words and work prevail:
‘I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch, you’ve got to kick ass.’ Maya AngelouAdvertisements