Why I Was Enraged By This Women’s Day Ad By Ogilvy And Mather

Posted by Rajkanya Mahapatra in Feminism
March 10, 2018

I wasn’t the happiest person on March 8, this year. Mostly because of the sexist and misogynistic content that turned up on my feed across social media platforms, especially the ones that were whining and asking: “But when’s International Men’s Day?”

Well, the designated date is November 19, guys.  But if you were to read a little bit of history, check current affairs, the data on ‘Crimes Against Women’ on the National Crime Records Bureau website – you’ll see every single day of the last couple of hundreds of years has been for men. You’d only be able to come to this conclusion, if you can first manage to successfully realise and acknowledge your privilege. Privilege of not being reduced to your gender every step of the way.

The conversation on privilege will be a long one, and probably for another day.

For now, let’s reflect on a specific attempt by the advertising giant Ogilvy and Mather, who tried their best to contribute to the pool of laudatory audio visual content that were doing the rounds on March 8, also known as the day of the International Working Women’s Day.

Here’s a screenshot.

Can you see the sponsored visual on your left? In the image you can see three points listed by Veronica Hernandez on ‘Having a Voice in a Male-Dominated Meeting’.

According to Ms Hernandez, who became the CEO of Ogilvy and Mather, Mexico in 2017, it’s important for women to talk louder, establish and maintain eye contact while speaking with colleagues, especially the ones who identify as men, and to continually assure oneself that their contribution is valuable.

This sponsored ad enrages me on two counts.

First, to think that Ms Hernandez might have had to struggle so hard in a workplace where men probably didn’t listen to her, and she had to talk louder while looking them in the eye for them to take her seriously. Now, that’s not sad, okay? That’s just how patriarchy works.

That’s the story of most women in history trying to make a mark, losing a great deal of her energy on just asserting herself in a manner that it transcends her gender, or the markers of it, at least.

This ad also reflects extremely poorly on all the men she ever had to sit through with, in a meeting.

I have been reminding myself each day for the last couple of weeks of the disproportionate amount of power that men hold in today’s world and how they exert that power in little and big ways every single moment. You can read a little bit of what I think on the established power structure, here.

The second reason, why I was enraged by this ad was because the onus of empowering, fighting, resisting, keeping ourselves safe and god knows what not, is put on us. So, what are the men going to do, huh? Keep maintaining the power structure, so that equality is always a distant dream for women and persons of all other genders? Maybe.

I’ll tell you what should that sponsored ad by Ogilvy and Mather have said instead. On my Instagram account last night, I shared my two cents. Here are the screenshots.

The message is pretty loud and clear, isn’t it? Take notes, please.