Last week an article was published by a digital magazine that purports to empower and inspire career women. It supposedly was about the “secret weapon” we women hold. The photo accompanying the article is of a pretty, young, blonde, white woman in her brassiere. The article goes on to suggest that to feel extra power and confidence, business savvy women might choose to wear their best sky-high heels, a classic suit or “even a matching bra and panty set.” For just short of 500 dripping-with-sterotypioc words, the author discusses the power of color for the suit and the undies – white connoting innocence while red a bit trickier, (though the bra in the pic is good old sexy black).
She then completes the tome by getting into the nitty gritty of the properly fitted bra, as the real powerful secret weapon is revealed.
What drivel. What male, except perhaps David Beckham, would engage in such twaddle?
As a producer of TV ads and videos for political candidates and business leaders both female and male, it’s my job to make my clients look their best possible self. What conveys power and confidence is being authentic, truly comfortable in one’s shoes.
For example, these highlight videos chronicling the heroic Gabby Giffords speak for themselves, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/05/5-videos-that-show-how-far-gabby-giffords-has-come/. At all times, from strong to weak and back again, she is the real deal, and she wows everyone in her presence by her confidence.
By contrast, I’ve worked with a female executive with political aspirations on numerous occasions the past several years, and I’ve yet to see her present well on camera. That’s because she lost her “real” in the shuffle of what is supposed to be expected of her as a “hot” female leader, and I’m not sure she’ll ever be able to find it, no matter if her undies match and her bra is finely fitted, as she gives her endless empowerment speeches. Yet another female candidate I worked with found the camera just another mode of communication with her constituents and in that vein, stayed on message and sincere.
And still another: my company produced an outreach video for a large company that gave a lot of money to San Francisco parks. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom was one of the many politicians giving speeches, interviews, kudos and such. I was expecting a rock star and found instead an incredibly authentic man. The camera adores him and he knows it but I don’t think he really cares. He was totally in the moment as he did a quick ollie on a skateboard in his classic power suit ( blue, not white or red) to the pleasure of every kid there, while giving my team some exceptional b-roll at the same time.
Women continue to rise in positions of leadership every day. We don’t need to cluster together to talk about colors or bras or how we can empower ourselves or find our secret weapons, nor do we need to emulate men on the other side of the spectrum. We just need to be ourselves. That’s where our genuine power lies.
It’s questionable who actually said these bon mots, rumored to be a male, but I’m thinking perhaps to the contrary: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
That works great on camera.