Spoiler Alert: Women have been slaying it for YEARS.
I LOVE GoT.
HBO’s Game of Thrones series has it all. And, I. LOVE. IT. ALL.
I love the diversity of characters, the richness of storylines, and drama that comes with a politically charged fantasy world where the supernatural is all but assumed. And dragons battle zombies, for reals.
After watching the highly anticipated third episode of the eighth and final season, I started to notice something about my expectations. It was a subtle, yet oddly familiar pang of truth in this outrageously fictional series: I was looking to the men to fight in these epic battle scenes. And, the women to… well, help.
This realization was almost as horrific as the Battle of Winterfell. I’ve always seen the women of GoT as strong figures—leading armadas, traveling alone to foreign lands, riding dragons… So, why was I still looking to the men to save the day?
The reality for each of these strong female characters is that they were put in their place (so to speak) by a series of events; they were victims of circumstance, birthright or birth order, rather than being elevated and revered based on their strengths alone.
It’s realities like these that make the show relatable. And why I instantly recalled a recent article in The Guardian by Rachel Cooke (@msrachelcooke). Sexism in advertising: ‘They talk about diversity, but they don’t want to change’ details just how far we have to go to elevate women in the workforce—how little we build women up based their strengths; how much we fall victim to objectification and underappreciation.
In the Creative departments in Advertising, women are still so few and far between. Most of the time, we’re not even keeping the bench warm for battle—we’re not even on the team! But we know that diversity makes teams stronger and women get stuff done.
Through the seasons of this show women have slowly risen into leadership roles—arguably, at a more steady rate than that of the real world. They’ve put in their time, learned from their mistakes and circumstances, suffering horrific #MeToo experiences along the way, and are now poised for a massive #timeTo movement where women are seen and called upon for their strengths rather than seen for their gender and deemed weak.
But, what’s my next massive change? Here I am, 20+ years in to my career. I’ve experienced a lot of progressive change, fought my way into a seat at the table, have been a creative leader, encouraged unity, am currently on a Creative team of all women, and currently work amongst a many crazy smart, supernaturally strong women and even I… I watch and wait for the men to save the day.
For now, I’ll continue to recognize and course correct that voice in my head that comes from years of institutionalized sexism. Better yet, I’ll fist pump the air with as much enthusiasm I had at the end of this latest episode every time I celebrate the women (and men) in my office—the deserved recognition needed to actually make a change and save the day… for all of us.