Is It A “She-Thang”?

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, er – yesterday, I am compelled to devote this post to my sex. To my delight, the New York Times article Boldface in Cyberspace: It’s a Woman’s Domain delved into a new site called “Wowowow: The Women on the Web” which features blogs and articles written by professional women. Most of them have backgrounds in media like Leslie Stahl, and others are groundbreaking entertainers like Candice Bergen and Whoopi Goldberg – all of them brilliant contributors to our intellectual culture. It isn’t enough to say that these women and many of their colleagues stimulated me and my rabid educational and vocational pursuits. They motivate me daily.

It is with this mindset that I explore a new question: Is PR a women’s industry?

Now, first, as a disclaimer, I’d like to point out that I’m a student blogger and my topics are mere questions that I face and answers that I find. These might be brazen claims, but they are prompted by the fact that my internship and PR classes are female-dominated and this leads me to question whether that is the nature of the industry.

Sorry, guys. It is not my intention to ostracize. I also don’t wish to ostracize my own sex with the assertions I’m about to make based on clichés. I, rather, wish to question why I feel so comfy in PR. If we consider the stereotypical female persona, the one so often caricatured in sitcoms and their accessory traits – a persona with which I often identify- and compare it to PR, are they are perfect fit?

1 . PR is about communcation: We handle situations by talking. Not only that but we learn methods of talking that help us shape our message so that people understand us. We even adopt cadences to our voices to give us credibility and authority as we make our arguments and appeals. We tailor our language to each audience. Oprah says this is healthy so we do it.

2. PR is about relationships: My life is relationships, family, friends, boyfriends, teachers, bosses. I think about relationships, I talk about relationships. I’m good at relationships. Not only that, I manage my relationships. What’s more, I look for new ways to be better at managing my relationships. And if you’ve ever watched Sex and the City, this is in every episode.

3. PR is sometimes about SPIN: There are times when some publicists are forced to talk out of their badonkadonk in order to manage a client’s reputation. Some might call it being manipulative. I call it good celebrity PR.

4. There’s a soothing nature to PR: In a time of crisis, our client’s causes become our own and we form a Florence Nightingale attachment. It’s a natural, and, dare I say, nurturing response.

5. PR is SEXY: Sometimes it’s about talking the talk and walking the walk. It’s about perception and attraction. It’s about flashy marketing stunts and reputation make-overs.

6. Lastly, PR plays games and likes gossip: PR people play word games and mind games. And now, more than ever, we play these games to create buzz or gossip about our clients and their work. We love it when things go viral. We go crazy when everyone’s talking about it. It makes us want to talk about it more so that we can generate more buzz and have a final authority on the situation: “Actually, I heard on TMZ that this is Lindsay’s fifth time in rehab, not fourth.”

Obviously, this list is not representative of every woman and these are very much some things in which both men and women participate. It does, however, bring some insight about why I, for one, enjoy PR. It speaks my language. It uses my tactics. It mimics my voice. It demands my kind of communication. It calls to me.

*Image courtesy of http://bothhands.files.wordpress.com 

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One response to “Is It A “She-Thang”?

  1. Great Post Megan–you’re off to a fine career in PR. One final comment. Just like so many careers that are associated with women (teaching, nursing), PR is often looked down upon by both men and women. There is a special place in hell reserved for female journalists who look down their noses at us flacks, don’t you agree?

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