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“Representing” as a female marketer

November 15, 2012

After a fast-paced day at work, it can be a struggle to find the energy to go to an event. A few Mondays ago, as I looked ahead at the traffic en route to attend a screening of the documentary “Miss Representation,” I sighed and wished momentarily for an evening of mindless media consumption from the comfort of my couch.

But a funny thing happened after watching the film that evening – I actually went home feeling more energized than I have felt in a long time.

The film opened my eyes to the incredible impact that I, as a marketer, have on shaping the future for young people who are impacted by the images they see and the media they read. The sense of responsibility and the opportunity to make a difference deeply affected me.

As marketers, we’ve been taught to appeal to our target markets, and sometimes that can mean creating a message with little thought to the unintended repercussions beyond that audience. The problem is that by doing so, we run the risk of stereotyping, offending or even worse, negatively influencing the people who are exposed to our messages.

As marketers, we are responsible for the way we portray fellow human beings in our efforts, and we must be sensitive to the effect of our choices on future generations.

And, in a world so tied together by social media, online reviews and consumer advocacy, businesses should aim for higher standards in their work as well as their communications.

Want to know more about how the media and business can affect future generations? Watch the “Miss Representation” trailer at http://bit.ly/MissRepTrailer or download the movie on iTunes.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Whitney permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:50 pm

    I saw this Lauren Scruggs video today, and it reminded me of a key message from this film. Lauren was previously a fashion blogger and she said that her tragedy has taught her that appearances and our insecurities do not define us. Great message!

    http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/lauren-scruggs/

    • Whitney permalink
      December 3, 2012 5:51 pm

      Watch at around 6 minutes in.

  2. Whitney permalink
    November 20, 2012 12:19 pm

    Great post, Melissa! I thought the film was entertaining, shocking and extremely informative. It opened up my eyes to some harsh realities that I may face in my professional career. But, it also encouraged me to present myself in the way that I want to be viewed and gave me confidence to break barriers that may stand in my way.

  3. November 15, 2012 4:45 pm

    Thanks, Bana, and I agree with you completely. This is definitely something we should all keep top of mind as we continue in our careers.

  4. Bana Varnon permalink
    November 15, 2012 4:26 pm

    Spectacular post. I also saw this film and agree wholeheartedly with the point you make about our responsibility as marketers. I think that since we all play a professional role in the making of media, we just can’t take that responsibility lightly.

    The sad thing is that if you take a look at how brands still market themselves – many of them under female leadership – we’re not making quick progress. And it’s not just sexist campaigns aimed at men (Dr. Pepper Ten comes to mind) – it’s also the brands that market to women (retailers are guilty of this by advertising their products on Photoshopped models).

    It’s a pretty powerful notion that the way we do our job affects our sisters, moms, wives, daughters and friends – from how society views them to how they view themselves. Not everyone has such a unique opportunity to make that kind of impact – and as a 20-something marketer, I want to ensure that impact is a positive one.

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