Wednesday, 10 July 2013

'PR has become too feminized' - Agree?

Marian Salzman, CEO of Havas PR, has controversially commented that the PR industry has become ‘too feminised’.

Salzman proceeded to explain that the Australian success at the Cannes Lions was due to their ‘balls’ and ‘masculine energy.’

Whilst there’s no doubt that Australia’s ads were both forceful and daring, Salzman’s choice of language is deeply unfortunate. It’s true, PR has become too safe - there is more to fear now than ever before, not least the wrath of angry internet mobs - but why does safe equal female and avant-garde, male?

What Salzman is trying to say is that PR has gone a bit tame and a bit PC. Fair enough. The Cannes Lions winners were all fantastic pieces of work, but their satirical counterpart ‘The Chipshop Awards’ came out with some risqué  campaigns that were arguably better. It is time that PR got braver, but being brave doesn’t mean being male.

Clearly Salzman was attempting to make a comment on the nature of PR, but her statements will affect women in the industry more than industry practice at large. When women stereotype themselves as comparatively conservative or cautious, they’re damaging themselves and perpetuating a view that is both outdated and absurd.

So no, it’s not OK to agree with Salzman. The industry is not ‘too feminized’, it’s too safe - and those two things are most certainly not the same.

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