Yet another article about women in advertising and how we still have to deal with the Boys’ Club.* I’m fairly certain many of us can agree this isn’t cool. And sure, someone should be a megaphone for how much it sucks that the higher up you go in an agency’s chain of command, the less women you’ll find in positions of leadership. But, looking at all of this from the other side: how many times do we really need to bring it up? And can’t we just all agree that, deep down, we all know that as smart, capable women we can grab those higher positions if we reeeaally want to?
Kat Gordon, founder and creative director of Maternal Instinct and the main voice coming through in this article says, “This is not a gripe fest. It’s more about how the [traditional] demands of creative roles get untenable for moms when they need more predictability.” Which, on the surface seems like nothing out of the ordinary. But on a deeper level is really annoying. Because time and time again you hear this same tune. Women have to choose between being moms and having a creative career. Blah blah blah.
With all due respect to Kat Gordon, wanting some sort of predictability from your job is something that ALL PEOPLE WANT. No one wants to get to a point where they never make plans because they leave the office anywhere from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on any given day. So to continually bring in the mom thing is super annoying and, I think, not really helping us in the long run? (I’m not even talking about the fact that maybe lots of women don’t even want to be moms, that’s a whole other thing.)
When I read things like this about the lack of women in high-up-there positions in the ad world, it reminds me of this quote (from Kate Carraway):
“There is a lot of important stuff to be thought, said, experienced and disregarded about other people’s opinions about young female writers but what I just noticed and am so happy to have noticed is the utter swiftness with which me and the other girl-writers stopped talking about it and presumably letting it even graze our skin, thinks, dreams. It’s easy to forget about what is actually someone else’s problem when you’re on deadline every day, making money from writing, making something that people want to read. This is why I always implore little girls to make old, rich, white men their spirit animals: there are negative-one-million fucks given when you’re too busy to give them.”
She’s talking about female writers, but the main sentiment (especially that last, bolded part) applies to women in all sorts of creative positions: less talking more doing. Get your shit done, keep kicking ass. I’m guilty of the talking thing too, because yes, it is a little grating that all of the top-awarded creatives in D&AD history are men. But at some point it’s just talking and, to use Kat Gordon’s own words, I really feel like it does start to sound like one big “gripe fest.” Let’s stop pointing out how unfair it is that we aren’t the CCO and do whatever it is we need to do to get there. That is if indeed we want to be CCO. But you know what? Some people ain’t got time for being CCO. And it’s not always because they want to go be a mom. And that’s okay.
Am I the only one who feels this conflicted over discussions like these? One part of me is all, FUCK YEAH! We need more women running shit in agencies! This is an OUTRAGE! While the other part is just kind of like, we heard you, we get it? I can’t be the only one? Does this whole thing make me Anti-Women?! This is all very confusing. Are you confused, too?
*Would like to point out that there’s more going on in this article. Like a bunch of stuff about how putting more women in charge can actually help brands since women make more of the purchase decisions. And how not putting women in charge is “just bad business.” Clearly, I wasn’t too focused on that. But you should read the article, if you want. It isn’t life-changing but pretty interesting, particularly if you’re a woman.