I want this to remain anonymous for now.
A question I asked myself throughout my time working at different studios and whilst contacting numerous studios across Europe was where are all my ladies at? Senior positions as creative directors and founders were approx 90% of the time men and this angered me as most of the people on my course at London College of Communication are women, so why are we not making up most of the senior positions? I understand more women may be studying these courses now than 20 years ago but it’s still deeply shocking for 2020. Whilst working in the industry I’ve realised that even if you have a team that has a majority of women, it doesn’t necessarily mean male management is ensuring these women are receiving the attention they deserve. Having experienced condescending and misogynistic language towards myself and my colleagues whilst working at a studio. When this happened I politely correcting this, asking to be called a woman and not a girl which seemed to fall on deaf ears and be viewed as a joke. It’s ridiculous that I have to justify to fully grown men why it's not appropriate to call women in the workplace ‘girls’. Language is important!
Misogynistic, sexist culture holds a strong grip around us all and I’m currently feeling tired of calling people in on what is and isn’t okay to say. I feel it's my moral responsibility to try and point something out to people in the hope that they’ll learn something. Women need allies, not enemies. But from my experience people just want to reject and argue against, and it just seems their balloon ego just can’t take and agree with a woman's opinion on what is the appropriate way to treat women. Even having discussions about this with my friend Joana who was the co-founder of Non Verbal Club in Portugal reiterated my concerns. She told me from having 15 years working within Graphic Design she has worked for lots of men who don’t seem to trust or listen to her judgment when it comes to designing. Believing it stems from outdated patriarchal values and men who struggle to have women telling them what to do. I feel like sometimes my opinions just exist within an echo chamber, even after asking people to make exceptionally minimal changes. The subtlety of some remarks and comments I’ve heard actually makes the system stronger as people ignore it, which in the long term is deeply damaging.
It’s also important to mention how whitewashed I’ve found design to be, where are all the women of colour, transgender and non-binary people? Why are these spaces not occupied with these people from my experience? I expected the creative industry and jobs inside to be ahead in terms of diversity compared to other sectors like law and engineering but it has been an equally unequal hierarchy. Girls and women are told and taught through social conditioning (from the moment their born) to not take up to much space, and I’m just beginning to unlearn patriarchal values I was brought up to believe and conform to. I’m trying to take up more space, be more unapologetic and more assertive in my actions. But what worries me is the woman that doesn’t feel their need to do this and just accept the normality of being treated as a subordinate. Finding that I felt unliked because I wasn’t playing the role of a typical submissive intern. I’m not sure whether this is the reality or its just another classic case my own internalised misogyny telling me because I speak out for myself people will dislike me. But why do I feel the need to be liked in the first place? If people only like you when you’re submissive you don’t need to be liked by those individuals. Overall its hot topic and a subject that needs exploring more, my thesis is surround the animalisation of women within visual media so I will have the time to explore this subject in detail.
I DON’T WORK FOR FREE AND NON OF YOU SHOULD EITHER. STAY STONG, BE ASSERTIVE. TAKE UP MORE SPACE.
3 ways to be a champion of women at your workplace: https://ideas.ted.com/3-ways-to-be-a-champion-for-women-at-your-workplace/?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_content=ideas-blog&utm_term=humanities
The Dilemma with internships: https://www.internal-affairs.org/essay/the-dilemma-with-internships