Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Mad Men Discover Diversity

It’s come to our attention here at the Dead Tree Edition Research Institute that our friends in the advertising industry are suddenly talking about diversity.

This belated interest seems odd for those of us in the publishing business, where we’ve been flagellating ourselves for eons over our hiring practices and (increasingly permeable) glass ceilings.

The diversity talk in Adland is being prompted by recent scandals involving top execs making racist comments, displaying misogynistic behavior, and engaging in unwanted groping of employees. No news here: The ad agencies have been groping us publishers for decades.

But understand that “diversity,” our Publishing Word of the Day, has a unique meaning in the ad industry – where, after all, words are subject to novel interpretations.

In the World of Mad Men, diversity is when executives at the top holding companies – white, male executives – talk about the need to hire more women into the advertising industry. But not just any women, as an anonymous ad exec explained to me:

“We’re looking especially for young women. Of legal age, of course, but barely. Extra points for wearing short, tight skirts that are properly filled out, if you know what I mean. And, for God’s sake, none of those feminazis who go running to HR or a private attorney whenever the guys in the office want to have a little fun.”

Other seemingly familiar words that have received the Dead Tree Edition Publishing Word of the Day treatment this month include gravitas, long-form journalism, and master baiters.Tomorrow's word: Virtual Reality


Anonymous said...

I cracked the glass ceiling in the 90's, making President of the company, but was still called "Honey" as late as the early 2000's by men my age or older. I was hoping this generation of men were all dead by now. Wishful thinking, it still continues.

D. Eadward Tree said...

Dear Anonymous,

As a certified "old guy," I can tell you I'm often surprised by the way much younger men refer to female colleagues and associates. When did it become acceptable again to refer to women in a professional setting as "girls"?