Public Relations - Facing the Stereotype
Between characters such as Samantha Jones, Ab Fad’s Eddy and Heidi Montag of The Hills – women in PR have been soaked in a variety of stereotypes. Beyond the airhead characters, truth manipulation and the representation of the job being an easy one, the one-size-fits-all stereotype of PR is that it’s all dining out at lush restaurants, wild parties and VIP events.
There have been many arguments against this stereotype – with both women and men hitting back against the idea that the industry is a game for girls, and drunk ones at that. Understandably, they claim that these characters in films, on TV and in books are grossly misrepresenting the industry. The truth is that it’s no accident that when the characters were written they just happened to go to a lot of parties as well as being in public relations with no relationship between the two character ingredients intended. In many branches of public relations, events and parties are frequently required tactic. Does this mean that they attend and go about getting drunk, being loud and partying with the guests like is so often portrayed? No. But does it mean that in some branches of PR such as fashion or celebrities; the professional in question will probably attend more parties than the average person? Yes, it often does. The other catalyst to the building of this stereotype could well be the lack of understanding of many when it comes to exactly what public relations is and what public relations professionals do. Without an agreed upon or simple and succinct explanation of what PR professionals and what these big London PR agencies are doing, who can blame the public for believing the television?
Samantha Jones is one of the most frequently hailed as a bad representation of women in the industry, however – personal life aside however, Samantha is presented as a very intelligent, driven and ambitious woman who does climb the career ladder throughout the show at a rate that reflects her ruthlessness (for a Television promotion). If someone who held this stereotype did happen to chance upon any of the PR agencies in London, It’s not difficult to see that there are many intelligent and ambitious women and men who work hard and have earned their place in their respective Public relations agency in London.
Within a similar debate asking why PR professionals are so bad at doing PR for their own industry, a woman states that thanks to these misrepresentations, she is ashamed to share the fact that she has a degree in PR when asked. Clearly this chip-on-the-shoulder mentality is a part of the problem? PR agencies in London are now seen as a necessity by many industries, companies and organisations, and those who take on the challenges of working in PR, are dedicated and hard-working should be proud to place their name alongside ‘PR company London’. Representing their own industry in the knowledge that they do a great job and work hard is one of the key ingredients in breaking down the stereotype.
Andy Richards - About Author:
Andy Richards has over 10 years of experience working for PR agencies in London. As the role of the PR practitioner is evolving, Andy writes about his experiences at his Public Relations agency in London and addresses current and potential issues facing the industry.
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