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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

Who said what?

When I worked as employed in the advertising industry, in the south of Sweden, in the mid 90's, I was soon met with a superficial interest in my ideas. It was a conservative business, with a culture of total male dominance, at least for the positions as Creative Directors, Copywriters and Art Directors. I was told to come up with headlines for example, but they were seldom chosen. At one firm, the senior was congratulated on a successful ad that the client had praised to the CEO. With my headline and copy. The CEO then did congratulate me after I said it was mine, but with a reluctant attitude. One time, I did an experiment at a different firm. I asked a senior copywriter, who had been awarded, to suggest the exact same phrasing that I had come up with, for a new campaign. What do you know... he was praised immediately and it was chosen. Because he had said it (not created it) and not I. But sure, it looks good in the name of equality, to have employed a young woman.

The same thing keeps haunting me nowadays. While I'm a bit more confident and have more experience, it still plays out. People look at looks, gender, name, marriage status and popularity, not what is being said. Whether warnings or truths, mankind misses the mark, when it doesn't listen to and acknowledges what is being said. Do I need to do a boob-job and color my hair blonde to be listened to?

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