Tuesday, June 10, 2008

advergirl, on breaking glass

Advergirl listened to Hillary's speech this weekend and, like me, took heart in her un-PC acknowledgement of sexist barriers that aren't supposed to exist anymore:
HRC: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.
Hillary's speech made me reach for a mollifying plate of wheatgrass, but happily it made Advergirl reach for her keyboard.

Here's a few excerpts from her clearheaded, without-rancor post which should be required reading for office dwellers of any gender persuasion. She diagnoses ways that men (most of whom don't mean any harm) create "boys clubs" which limit the daily success and career potential of their female peers--here's the short version:

Access: When everything from department structures to project plans are routinely being discussed in forums women don't have access to, it creates discrimination.

Stacking: It's common when talking about gender in an agency to mention what percentage of women work there - as in, women make up 45% of our staff. The trick is in asking - which 45%? Is the "About our leaders" section of an agency Web site populated with 15 guys all wearing the same suit? 

Communication: Men tend to put their hands up right away and shoot from the hip. Women tend to think about it for ~12 seconds. They think conceptually, consider lots of different angles, come to a conclusion. Cultures that communicate only by yelling, fighting and jocking for position ( a more masculine way of communicating) rewards one gender-specific style over another one.

 You miss out on a lot of great ideas and insights by steamrolling over your peers.

Entertainment. Apparently it still has to be said. Emailing pornography. Making lists of the hottest women in the office. Talking about your peer's breasts or ass or propensity for, well, you know. Yeah, that's all wrong. It creates attitudes of disrespect and otherness in cultures that by-and-large already have enough problems.

(Full diagnosis here, worth the click.)



For a very different point of view, I suggest:

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Sorry, Bob. Can't access. Is there another url?

HighJive said...

Ad Broad, try this.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks for the link, highhive.

Ah, yes. Ye olde Golda/Margaret Thatcher defense. If they can do it, there must not be sexism, or at least not enough of it to hold back a woman tough enough for the job.

Social psychologists tell us that in this country, women in leadership roles are seen as warm, likable and INcompetent, or cold, distant and competent. To be a strong, competent woman is to be culturally unattractive--which may be why so few women even try to get there.

Shirley Chisholm, the black Congresswoman who ran for President in 1972, wrote, "Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black." She didn't mean that racism was a thing of the past. She meant that the public expression of racism had become less socially acceptable than the public expression of misogyny.

Hillary's run brought out in the open anti-female sentiment that usually goes unspoken, and accounts for the semi-suppressed frustation of women navigating professions still run by boys clubs--never mind how liberal and open-minded those boys may be.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

HighJive said...

ad broad,

yeah, but obama's run is bringing lots of stuff out in the open too. that's one reason why an obama-clinton "dream" ticket would actually be a nightmare.