Let me begin by confessing my adoration for working in advertising with and for women. They possess a fierce combination of clarity and passion that men rarely strike a balance of. It makes me wonder what the world of advertising would be like if they were suddenly gone. And what more fitting occasion than Women's Day to voice this suspicion? (But if you are anticipating a mushy tale, you might want to bail now.) So, disclaimer aside, let's get started!
I strongly believe that men are just grown-up children in disguise; and if you throw a bunch of advertising men together, they switch into a group of brats. The lack of discipline is evident, and 90% of their banter has nothing to do with work. Some of it is harmless, but when it averages out at 90%, it is a ticking time bomb for deadlines. Don't get me wrong, work almost always gets done. Most of it is almost beautiful. However, having a female colleague in the room works wonders in keeping us in line. It is inexplicable, but it is like having a fairy godmother wave her wand and restore order. Maybe it is us guys; perhaps, we have made it so tough for women to thrive in this industry that they have had to become laser-focused on the work to prove their worth. Sure, most of my male colleagues do too, but they have a weird tendency to slip into the danger zone more frequently. Should this have happened? Absolutely not. But does this exist? Unfortunately, yes.
Here is a debatable thought that will make you raise an eyebrow. I believe that the legacy of toxic masculinity has birthed a beautiful flower in advertising. Confused? Allow me to elaborate. For eons, women were criticized for their fighting spirit, leading them to develop a more passive-aggressive approach. But it definitely made them super productive. As a creative lead, I often find myself drowning in a sea of forgetfulness. That is where gentle reminders and check-ins come in to save the day. And who delivers them with the utmost grace and efficiency? You guessed it - the women on my team. The men either don't bother following up or just turn into irritants. But the women? They are like disciplined ninja warriors, and it is a breath of fresh air! So, should we have treated women poorly in the past to bring about this productive trait? No. But, at least there's a silver lining to every dark cloud, right?
If it were not for the fierce ladies in advertising, then I feel that in all, progress would lessen its pace. These ladies are the driving force behind staying ahead of the curve - constantly reading, exploring, and bringing new ideas to the table. Of course, there are men who do this too, but the consistency of the women is inspiring. This zeal is not just because of what advertising men have put them through in the past, it is because our society at large has forced women to compromise on so many levels. Yet, they still rise to the top! In fact, I often find that the most ambitious person in the room is a woman.
The list of wonderful things about advertising could go on and on! After all, we have women in the profession. Working with them has taught me so much, they have helped me grow, understand, and accept new perspectives, and I could not be more grateful. The least I could do is write this article as an ode to them.
Thank you all of you for making advertising better.
(Aalap Desai, CCO-Creative Experience, West, Dentsu Creative India)