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Should The Glass Lion Be Made From Tougher Stuff?


Joint ECD at O&M Johannesburg Mariana O’Kelly shares her thoughts on femininity & the new award

Should The Glass Lion Be Made From Tougher Stuff?

The Glass Lion talks about breaking down the stereotypical portrayal of gender in advertising. I would have loved it to be a little more specific. If its intention is to show the world as it ‘should be’, as a woman I’m not sure what that ‘should be’ should look like. I have been in advertising for over 20 years, holding my own in boardrooms with men in power suits with big words. But I love the fact that I can go home and be a stereotypical mum and wife and make my family supper, read stories to my kids and tuck them into bed. I don’t want to be a man at work. I also want to be a stereotypical mum at work, being sensitive to client and creative needs in ways only a woman and a mother can. I want to be gentle in a tough world. I don’t want to see a world where women become men. I believe in femininity, not feminism. But that’s my personal opinion and I guess I am lucky to live in a country where the acceptance level of differences between cultures and gender have come a long way. 

I’m also lucky to work for a company that already has a strong focus on empowerment and equality and the work that we produce already reflects that philosophy.

However, I do realise that there are many women out there that cannot pursue their dreams because of gender inequality or prejudices. So if the introduction of the Glass Lion can change the picture for them, it’s not just another award, but a valuable tool that can help address these issues for a greater good.

I believe that when this award evolves to include other global, cultural and societal issues, it will become more relevant for a broader base of clients as gender alone might make relevance to a particular brand a little niche.

I do think that this new award needs a different name, as glass is something that can break easily, that’s fragile. It’s perhaps not the best connection to an award that wants to inspire work that portrays woman in the exact opposite light.

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