don’t sponsor me. promote me.

Perusing the 3% Conference Blog, as I am wont to do, I read this:

Find one shining, talented woman. Put her on a pedestal. Be there to help her knock down the obstacles that will undoubtedly arise. Perhaps more accurately, help her dismantle the ones that have always been there. Be her sponsor.

It was written by manbassador Trent Thompson, Group Creative Director at Cossette Toronto in a guest post titled “You in or What?” which is definitely worth a read.

Before we all get our panties in a bunch, I need to address a couple things:

First: I know his intentions are good, I am not out to villainize, he’s probably a lovely guy
Second: Good for him for getting involved with the 3% conference, we need manbassadors

Now, it’s time to get gritty. For the most part, it’s the word sponsor that just makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Female creatives are not malnourished Ethiopian toddlers. We do not need your charity. We are capable, we are intelligent, and while I agree that we need the support of men in the industry to gain visibility, we do not need to be put on a fucking pedestal like some sort of human prize that you found on a Twilight Zone treasure hunt and are now proudly showing off to your buddies in some weird “no, support women more” pissing contest.

We are badass forces of nature that demand your attention

What we actually need is to be respected in the workplace. We need to be listened to, we need to be allowed to present, we need to be in on important briefs and client meetings, we need to have a healthy work-life balance that allows us to have children (or not) without sacrificing job opportunities. We need men, especially in positions of power, to set a positive example and squash sexist thinking and behavior (in creatives and clients) before it is allowed to become detrimental to the creative process. We need a space where we are allowed to try and fail or succeed in whatever pattern necessary because we are treated as equals. Our failure should not be sugar coated because we are women nor should our successes be magnified. We should earn our place just like any other creative. And if we are totally killin it, we shouldn’t get a sponsorship we should get a fucking promotion or at the very least, a raise.

I can only assume that this is what Thompson was trying to say. I don’t know the guy, but he seems aiight. It’s just this language. The language of male privilege, even with the best intentions. So before y’all go sponsoring creative women like they’re in AA, maybe we should focus on the culture of the industry as a whole. Let’s create an agency environment in which women are allowed to succeed on their own because they are seen as fierce contenders and valued as crucial assets, not because they are damsels in need of a swift rescuing.

Peace, Love & More Money PLZ

 

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