Girl Talk: ‘How much is it for the night?’

‘How much is it for the night?’

This is the insulting question directed at magazine editor Sherry Collins, who has decided to take out an advertisement before Cannes this year to stand up to the sexism and racial prejudice still attached to women within the advertisement/marketing/PR industry.

For years women have been silenced, having to respond to greasy bosses sexual advances with a giggle and an awkward no, ignoring the colleague that talks to their chest instead of their face and trying not to get fired because they wouldn’t suck face with the CEO’s son. How is it that in 2018, I am still seeing news articles of talented young women in the industry being sexually harassed and then blamed. It must have been because

‘Lucy smiles too much, it’s easy to confuse it with flirting’

‘Hannah wears her skirt above the knee, it leads us on’

‘Ellie comes out with the lads after work, she defo wants it’

When actually the truth is guys…nobody wants your sleazy dumbass panting over our presentation. People never judge a man on what he wears or how much he smiles, if a woman slept with the CEO’s offspring she’s F-I-R-E-D, a guy does it and he’s a ‘don’. Sherry Collins is a talented magazine editor who enjoys the artistic burst of flavour that is the annual Cannes Lions Festival. As most young and ambitious women do, she attended a networking event, seeking new job prospects and contacts. Whilst conversing with a young man, she was having a lovely evening until he decided to be what I can only describe as a jackass. He leaned in breaking her personal space and whispered in her ear, ‘how much is it for the night?’.

It was at this moment that Sherry wondered why her? She was sure that the skinny blonde networking on the other end of the room was not being asked how much for her body. Sherry posted an advert in the latest issue of Pitch as she felt that due to the advertising/marketing/PR industries all being predominately white, she was mistaken for a prostitute because why else would a well-spoken black female be at a networking event of such strong caliber?

On a daily, young black female practitioners are constantly overlooked with their work, ignored for that promotion, kept at the bottom of the chain because they were born in different areas, or belong to different religions and cultures that don’t line up with the industries boozy brunches. Some companies and people still avoid the topic and ignore the issue, purely because admitting it is a clear issue and recognizing that having white privilege proves an advantage in these industries may bruise a few egos.

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In order for women like Sherry to be recognized at the same level as her male colleagues, she has to arrive earlier, stay later, network harder, and hold her booze better. It’s time that these idiots attempting to find hookers at business events stop slacking and join the Sherry’s of this world at the bar they’re setting.


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