April 20, 2024

Design of human race did not make men superior

Another famous man, another famous attack on women … “Women do not make it to the top because they don’t deserve to,” said WPP’s Creative Chief Neil French last week in a conference in Toronto. French is the advertising world’s most-awarded human being.
He reportedly said women are prone to “go suckle something” – – – apparently referring to having children.

This archived article was written by: Susan Polster

Another famous man, another famous attack on women … “Women do not make it to the top because they don’t deserve to,” said WPP’s Creative Chief Neil French last week in a conference in Toronto. French is the advertising world’s most-awarded human being.
He reportedly said women are prone to “go suckle something” – – – apparently referring to having children.
In an interview with Ad Age following his comments, the 61-year-old French continued to dig himself into a bigger hole with his reference to using the word “crap” in reference to women. “Oh, of course I did, yes. But I didn’t say all female creative directors are crap. If you can’t commit yourself to a job then, by definition, you’re crap at it. If you can’t commit 100 percent to your job, don’t pretend you can. Nobody deserves a job unless they can commit to it.”
Apparently French did not follow the Back v. Hastings on Hudson Free School District, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York in 2004 held that stereotyping mothers is a form of gender discrimination.
Even the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist – not known for his staunch defense of women’s rights – recognized the need to overcome stereotypes about women’s domestic roles. He said such stereotypes perpetuated “a self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination that … fostered employers’ stereotypical views about women’s commitment to work and their value as employees.”
Has French ever heard of the term “multi-tasking?” Or can he make the excuse that he is from the era that reinforced that the role of women should be reserved for pleasing men, marrying them, bearing and caring for their offspring?
Or is he just saying out loud the inner thoughts of men in 2005? French’s comments continues to fester the wounds of classism, taking away support in the development of cross-class alliances, and working against the movement of resources in creating justice, equity and sustainability for all.
His senseless remarks tear down bridges across the class divide and linking issues of gender with class.
How can women raise consciousness about the issues of classism: class and money, and use their powerful impact on our individual lives, relationships, organizations, institutions and culture when men like French continue to tear them down?
Whether his remarks were calculated, sarcastic or whatever, they are not acceptable. We do not need any more alleged leaders perpetuating stereotypes. William Bennett’s recent comments about reducing crime rates by aborting Black babies was reprehensible as was former Dodger general manager Al Campanis remarks on ABC’s “Nightline” in 1987, “(Blacks) may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager,” Or “disadvantaged” students lack the “genetic hereditary background to have a higher average” on standardized tests, said the president of Rutgers University, Francis Lawrence, at a meeting in November 1994.
In January 2005, Harvard President Lawrence Summers told in a speech, “innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math.” Summers, who prefaced his remarks by saying he was not speaking for Harvard, said women with children are reluctant to put in the 80-hour work weeks needed to advance to top positions in math and science.
French has stepped down from his job at WPP Group, many of Bennett’s advertisers have withdrawn from his radio show and Campani was canned. Lawrence and Summers, despite many protesting their remarks, continued as presidents of their respective institutions. Lawrence stepped down in 2002 from his position at Rutgers.
Sexist attitudes are deeply ingrained. This type of grenade-lobbying is depressing and recidivist. Maybe someone ought to remind French of the woman who cared for him during his early days, is this how he thanks her?
And when it comes right down to the practical reality of God’s grand design of the human race, he neither changes or confers status on one gender over another.