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April 08, 2006

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Claire

I have developed a new pet peeve. It is a claim I have heard all too often, made by a male, usually within the first two minutes of a conversation about women in the workplace. Neil was no exception - he eloquently states it as his second sentence (once he stops whining about all the other people he offended that night that didn't get upset).

"No one will ever have a greater responsibility than to care for and guide their own child."

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone that didn't agree with this statement, but if this really were the extent of the claimant's opinion, a lot more of them would be stay-at-home dads. What is usually left off the claim is something to the effect of "but women are better at that, and anyway, someone has to provide". It would have been nice to see Neil try to defend the entire statement, instead of truncating it before the politically incorrect part.

Yvonne DiVita

Ladies, fantastic site! We must talk... Girl-Talk! As for Neil...I agree with Claire, and will take it one step further - in his statement that women have been sold a bill of goods: that we can be Moms and still have a 'career'...while on the surface that's true, it is a bill of goods (and not very good goods, at that), to which I refer all to this statement from Gertrude Stein (Google her if you have to):
"But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don't get young men standing up and saying, 'How can I combine career and family?'"
-- Gertrude Stein.

gold1show

I don't know what to say. I think this whole topic is gender trap for men. We will never be considered right no matter which side we take.
As for Neil's comments, he is right about one thing, that night was billed as "no subject too taboo" therefore anyone entering that building sure as hell should have been prepared for anything that came out of his mouth. Number two, he was made an example of. Lastly, no one ever has it all. It is impossible to be one of the top people in a field and have a balanced home-work life. Everyone chooses to make sacrifices, both men and women. But what about the happy medium? It's there, and it's called the happy MEDIUM for a reason. You can be mildly successful, be in the middle of your field AND have a really good home life, but by doing so, you've sacrificed the dream of being tops in your field. The real question is: Is advertising a field worth being the tops in? I think so now, I don't know if I'll feel that way in twenty years. So for now, I sacrifice time with my wife and kids for TV shoots in Brazil, in the hopes that I can be the next Helmut Krone or Bill Bernbach, if anyone remembers who they are.
This issue isn't an advertising issue. It's way bigger than that. It's a societal issue that has been going on for centuries and no one will EVER solve it because to solve it would require both sides to say they are wrong and that won't ever happen.
Uh-oh, I just chose a side. Bring on the pain.

Claire

You asked for it.

1. The topic is definitely a trap. We women are excellent at building them.

2. Point taken on the evening being billed as "no subject too taboo" - Neil was just naive enough to actually belive that was true (yet another trap).

(Warning: This next statement includes generalizations, which Neil deemed acceptable when discussing this topic, so see him if you take issue.)

3. Yes the problem is bigger than advertising - what makes men consistently decide that the possibly of being the next Helmut Krone or Bill Bernabach is worth the major life-balance sacrifice, while women seem to actually believe the statement that 'parenting is the most important a person will ever do'??

That will be the extent of the pain for now.

Jenn Totten

I get it now. I really don't think there's an argument here or anything worth inflicting pain over. It all boils down to the fact that every one of us can make personal choices to end up where we want to end up.

Yes, men consistently decide that being the next superstar is worth missing out on family life for. Perhaps gold1show could elaborate more on his choice to do so. But whatever he says, his choice is personal. I'm sure a lot of men have different reasons for making that choice.

And yes, women are consistently the caretakers of the children, as Neil said. We are way more hard-wired to do so, because after all, we are the ones with the wombs. But if we want, we can choose to forego that caretaking and try to become the next Helmut Krone if that is a greater ambition. It's personal.

But I think Neil's right. "Having it all" isn't a cakewalk. Something has to give, somewhere. And that is why many caretakers, who usually happen to be women, fall into the "happy medium" of the industry.

It's just the way it is, that the woman is *typically* the caretaker and the man *typically* the provider. Ya can't argue with that. I guess we can argue with how our society raises us; does anyone with a son encourage him to aspire to be a champion homemaker?

What I was sensitive to, back in October, was hearing through the grapevine that he painted women to be less creatively talented and therefore less likely to be at the top. But according to him, he didn't say that, so hey, let's all be friends.


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