Posted by: mobelch | March 10, 2016

Women’s issues are everyone’s issues.

A line in Peggy McIntosh’s piece “Feeling Like A Fraud” stuck out to me when I read it: “People feel fraudulent especially when ascending in hierarchies in which by social definition they do not belong at the top of the pyramid.” How many women have had truly great ideas, revolutionary ones, ones that could cure an entire population or drag a nation out of a recession…but backed down, feeling fraudulent because they were told by society that they didn’t belong? TBWA, an international advertising company decided to start this campaign called Take the Lead 20/20, helping to spread the word about the uncomfortable situations and discrimination women often face in the workplace. These situations are enough to make women feel entirely out of place any higher up in power than where they are right now.

This video and campaign serves to back up the idea that yes, men can make women’s problems their problems and stand up for what’s right. In addition, a lot of the quotes spoken in the video describe situations that we’ve talked about in class multiple times. “There’s a ‘bro code’ in this industry that I am not a part of.” “I’m not the right voice for a sports brand.” “The sad truth is that to get ahead, I have to be a bitch.” “People look at my title and think there’s no way I could have gotten here just because I’m good at my job.” These are sad quotes, and seem even more out of place when spoken by men. Some of the quotes harken back to the “overt silencing” female superintendents said they faced in Brunner’s piece. Others reference the “bitch” vs. “ditz” double bind that Fortini mentioned. The point is, this campaign is here to show that people truly do experience the things we have learned about in class. Sure, we can read about statistics and theories all we want. It’s easy to dispute numbers and complicated arguments. But it’s campaigns like this one that show you real experiences and opinions of real working women throughout the world that really make you realize that these issues affect a multitude of women every day.


  1. I think one of the problems that needs to be fixed is that women need to be encouraged to lean in and share their ideas.

    I think videos like the above, and speeches like McIntosh’s, educate women and spread the word, encouraging greater investment in the workplace. Also, it tells men to reduce the discriminatory barriers against women, such as toxic work environments, to more serious problems such as sexual harassment.

    This is a great post! Thanks for submitting it.

  2. This is a great representation of why these issues are not just women’s issues, and why we don’t only need women in the quest for equality for women, but people from all groups. When read by men, these statements sound so out of place and so unjust. However, why do we not acknowledge them when they are said by women daily? I believe that this type of video with help people of both genders and all backgrounds realize that if it was you feeling that way or reading that statement, it wouldn’t seem fair. This shows the double standard that exists, as we often do not seem surprised when they come from women but would never expect a man to feel this way because of our gender restrictions and stereotyping people into a box. I also love the powerful use of social media through campaigns like these, and the involvement of an incredibly diverse group of men to start to bring attention to these issues.

  3. I really like this video and agree that is showcased a lot of topics and issues we discussed in class. I think having these quotes read by men is what made the video powerful to me. Even though I know it is completely against what we discuss in class, I know that if women were reading the quotes I would see it as weakness and not be so sympathetic to women’s issues. I think that realization is a great representation of how men have power women do not in our society. The issue is that I recognize that a man is able to influence me and make me more sympathetic to women’s issues than another woman.

  4. I really liked this video and had never heard of this before. I find it very interesting that it takes men reading these quotes to realize that there is an issue. The comments are completely out of place and don’t make sense coming out of a man, but people would pay no attention or even further criticize women for saying these things. Men aren’t faced with the same struggles that women are. You would never hear a man saying “I was asked to attend a meeting to look pretty” or “Did I just get this job because of my looks.” That is not to say that men don’t face their own issues, however, we all have to recognize the problem exists before it is addressed and gets any better. Sometimes it appears that when an issue is noted by a woman, it is taken as her whining or being overly sensitive. That she should just “man up” and work harder. Equality is about fairness and being treated the same and compensated the same as male counterparts. Bravo to this campaign for creating this video. However, I do think it’s sad that it takes men saying the comments to make it seem out of place.

  5. This video is a wonderful representation of today’s society for two reasons. First it shows the women still face unequal treatment in today’s work force, and that it really does hinder ambitious women from reaching their full potential. The second is that it shows that more and more men are really starting to understand and recognize this issue. The more men we get to realize what they are, consciously or unconsciously doing, then the more we can combat this problem. Also one negative point about the video. Crying at the workplace isn’t just not a good thing for women, it is also seen as very unprofessional for men as well.

  6. Many of the comments made in the video are things that I fear I may one day say. I do not want to be in a room because I am a token pretty women or feel that wanting to have a family will be a negative for my career. I am hopeful that continuous talk on the issue and videos like this can have the power to make a change. Women should not feel scared or abused in the work place. Also men should be aware of women who do feel this way so that ample changes can be made. I think the fact that men are voicing the comments of women in this video make it very powerful.

    After our class speaker last week I can’t help but wonder it is was a male or female who directed this video? It is very well done with the serious men in black on a black backdrop. It creates a very serious and important tone that gets people listening and thinking. I hope more people see this video and others alike it so that progress can be made.

  7. To start off, I get your frustrations. As I too hate that some women feel like they can’t move up in a social hierarchy due to outdated patriarchal norms that suggest they are any less than a man. One it’s simply untrue, but even further, discrimination is unacceptable period. Secondly, I believe what this company is doing is an amazing thing. After all, making the public aware of a common societal issue is the first step in designing and enacting a plan for change.

    In description of the video, I would like to note how pertinent that it illustrates examples of how women are being affected in the workplace. For instance, the comments about the existence of a “bro code” and or having to be a bitch to get ahead. Additionally, I like that the point of the video is to inform others (men) of a common issue that should be and is their issue too.

    The one thing I disagree with that you mentioned was that statistics, aka numbers, are easy to dispute. Personally, I think statistics are valuable. Our guest speaker the other day even said that gathering data was the second step to making change n her particular industry in regards to women in leadership. Again, this is my opinion, so feel free to disagree. But overall, this piece does show valuable application of a real world problem and you link concepts learned in class well!

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is a great post! The short pieces that show the discrimination in our society are the ones (I feel) that have the greatest impact. The general public is not going to read a whole book published about a theory nor would they read countless essays about the double bind or any other form of discrimination. It is speeches by popular, prominent people like Emma Watson on feminism or the documentaries on the lack of women in the film industry are the mediums that get the most attention and the most reactions out of society. It would be an ideal world if the public read the statistics and saw the issues in plain view and took that as a sign to change things but it is so ingrained in our society to leave it to someone else to deal with. Like we watched in the Celluloid Ceiling video, the studios were going to wait until they were explicitly told to hire women directors before they took the initiative to do so because it was not “profitable” for them to take a chance on a woman.

    Another problem I see with how society hears about these issues is that they don’t actually hear about them until it is broadcast by a prominent person in the media. If we don’t hear about the lack of women directors from established actors and actresses, the stats and the documentaries will be known by only a small portion of society. To enact the change we want to see, we need to broadcast it more and that is what today’s society could really strive to do in the era of social media, it just needs to take hold.

  9. I really loved this video! It showed how backwards, unfair, and unrealistic some of these comments truly were. Hearing them come from men just sounded wrong. So why then, is it socially acceptable for women to say these things, feel this way, or be put in these situations? Why do women have to viewed as a bitch if they are aggressive, determined, or focused on their work? Why should women be sidelined in their career simply because they choose to have children? Men who are aggressive are seen as trend setters and have ambition while women are too emotional. To me, no one should feel like they should have to stifle their emotions, passions, or ambition just to portray themselves to the world in a certain light.

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