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Did the Way She Was Portrayed Stop Her from Getting Paid?
By: Emory Brown
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It’s funny when you think about the fact that in 2009, we the people of the United States had to pass a law to ensure that women are receiving equal pay, considering that women have been a dynamic force in this country since WWII. Which, by the way, for those that didn’t know—these ladies were building airplanes, tanks, and a whole lot of things that kept our boys on the front lines in tip-top fighting shape to ensure they made it home safely. They ultimately played a key factor in us winning the war. With that being said…why has there been such a disparity in women’s pay? Without women there would be no men. What would a world be like without “Mom” or “Wifie”? So why did it take a law to ensure corporations pay female employees the same as male employees?

Let us delve into some of the cultural implications of advertising. Until recently in American history, many advertisers have not portrayed women as powerful leaders. They have always been looked at as loving wives, sex kittens, great moms…but power moguls like Oprah Winfrey (CEO of OWN Network), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo), Martha Stewart (CEO of Martha Stewart Living) should have set the bar to say ladies can do any job that men can do. However, Erma Perham Proetz, the first women to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, proved that—and that was in 1950. Before that, Madame C. J. Walker was the first African American businesswoman to make a million dollars in the early 1900s. The League of Advertising Women, which later became the Advertising Women of New York, was founded in 1912. For “Pete’s Sake!” Joyce King Thomas wrote our beloved American Express campaign “Priceless."

Once again, it has been the way women have been portrayed in media that has stopped ladies from getting paid. Axe spots don’t exactly say "Give the gorgeous, intelligent, and ambitious young lady that works hard for your corporation night and day a promotion." It leaves male managers thinking, "How do I get her to 'Wine Country' for the weekend?" Victoria Secret spots don’t help either…I’ve seen them…instant-male-paralysis.

We menfolk and advertising folk have to make sure, in the world of sexy sassy ads, that we also do empowering advertising that showcases our ladies in powerful roles as well. For instance: the great advertising that is being done by the U.S. Marines. One recent ad featuring a woman teaching her new recruits (all males) how to deliver a death strike to the throat is awesome! AdAge’s "100 Most Influential Women in Advertising” issue was awesome. 

More importantly, we’ve all had powerful women in our lives one way or another. Our moms, aunts, teachers, sisters, cousins, friends, girlfriends, and wives… the very ladies that encouraged us at times to remember that we are great, we are champions, we can rule the world.  As it is written, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And that means in all things, life and business.  Because the truth be told, even though guys don’t say it as much as we should…when we really love a lady, we will give her the world. So it shouldn't be a thing to give a qualified lady the pay she deserves. Wouldn’t you want the same treatment for your moms, aunts, teachers, sisters, cousins, friends, girlfriends, and wives?


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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