Picture this. You just got home from a long day at the office. You head to a party and you’re introduced to your friend’s boyfriend’s cousin’s best friend’s sister. You start talking and suddenly the ‘what do you do’ question arises, and before you even finish saying “public relations” the dreaded response escapes her lips…
“LIKE SAMANTHA JONES FROM SEX AND THE CITY?”
Woomp there it is.
If you’re a woman in the PR industry, chances are you’ve heard this at least once in the span of your career.
Samantha Jones – and many other TV and film characters like her – have given the real women of PR a bad name. Hollywood has had a field day of feeding into the stereotypes.
Here are some of the ways that Hollywood got PR women all wrong:
Expectation: Women in PR manipulate people and situations to get their way.
Samantha Jones is the #1 example of this – throughout the whole course of Sex and the City Samantha is infamous for using people to achieve her goals. If sleeping with a client will get her ahead, so be it.
Yikes. Thanks a lot HBO.
Reality: If there’s one thing that a PR professional can’t be, it’s unethical. We represent people and organizations, and to throw morals out the window is to throw their credibility out the window.
Expectation: Women in PR are unmarried and unavailable.
It’s the tale as old as time on TV and film – woman is nurturing and motherly but her career suffers the consequences OR woman is a complete workaholic with no time for romance – let alone marriage or kids.
Reality: Most women in the industry are balancing a family or relationship on top of their work life – in fact 40% of homes have a mom that is also a full-time working professional.
Expectation: Women in PR do nothing but sit around with a cocktail in their hand, chatting it up with A-listers.
Reality: Anyone who’s been in the industry longer than five minutes is laughing right now.
I mean sure, sometimes we’re holding a drink. But that’s probably after a 12-hour work-day trying to meet deadlines. And we’re probably sitting on the couch watching Friends reruns.
Sure, there was that one time with that one interaction with Johnny Depp at that one launch, but that’s because the red carpet was to the left and he was headed right.
Being a woman in PR is nothing like the movies. It requires long hours and extensive research. There’s a great deal of planning and not-so-flashy work involved. PR is an important industry that helps to define how the public sees a person or organization. And women in PR work tirelessly to make that happen – and they have gotten all the wrong representation in Hollywood.
Let’s change that.