Associate creative director, Kat Mercer, has written a poem for International Women’s Day. It’s not a celebratory poem. She feels that there is little to celebrate. Instead, it’s a rallying cry. I’m a woman. I was a woman in advertising in an era when women in advertising were rare. Because they were largely unwanted. It was tough. Eventually, it beat me. That’s a frustration which still burns. I was a young woman in an era long before #MeToo. There was a competition among the men in two of the agencies I worked in to sleep with every eligible woman in the office. In one, I was the new girl on the block, the one who won my account director the award. That hurt. In another, my art director and I were dubbed “the space cadets” by the men in creative. It undermined our ability to thrive in the agency. That was the idea.
Women have come a long way, because men have come a long way. But a lot of wrong things are still entrenched in attitudes, ideas and behaviour in. Sadly, in the “power layers” of society. By Candide McDonald.
Mercer has written a brief preface for her poem. Even if you read nothing else (please read her poem), read it:
This poem has been told it’s too poetic, too political; it’s been ignored and rejected, but it didn’t give up. It must be a woman.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY IN AUSTRALIA BY KAT MERCER
This story is not the uplifting tale I wanted to write.
Instead, I feel disenfranchised and super uptight.
It’s certainly not a case of how far our nation has come.
And on International Women’s Day, the mood is unnervingly glum.
Morrison claims to have empathy, citing he has two daughters.
But something’s off. I can feel it deep in my waters.
He’s lifting the carpet and furiously sweeping,
while his Attorney General is being accused of creeping.
And our Defence Chief just set a baffling benchmark.
Don’t drink, don’t look attractive, or be out in the dark.
Instead of the cover-ups and telling women how to dress.
How about you tell men not to be violent or serial sex pests.
It’s not politics or business. It reeks of criminal behaviours.
The silencing, the defending, and toxic masculine enablers.
Enough is enough. We won’t stand for any more of this shit.
Women are not your toys, your objects, or bags you can hit.
It’s time for a refreshing change in dynamics and power.
We need more women in charge, at the top of the tower.
Safety, equality and pay parity for woman and man.
And as we climb through the ranks, let’s promise to do all we can.
My fellow women, let’s rally; they can’t make us collectively shrink.
We’re powerful. We’re strong. Way more than our PM seems to think.
Cover image from an IWD campaign by This Thing of Ours: