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31 October 2018

Time to draw a line under harassment.

by Jason Stone


An initiative to end the culture of sexual harassment in the advertising industry has seen the launch of a series of three films designed to draw attention to the idea that there are lines which should not be crossed. They are part of a broader campaign which includes other media including posters and social.

The campaign was created by Lucky Generals whose co-founder Helen Calcraft has been a leading voice in the anti-harassment movement.

Each of the films depicts a different scenario in which a junior member of staff is the recipient of unwanted attention from a senior colleague.

The strongest of the three is called 'Pitch'... it captures how unwanted attention can sometimes appear so innocuous to other people in the room that they don't even notice it.

In another of the films, a woman is trying to complete work on her laptop in a busy bar when she's approached by a man. He keeps speaking to her even though it's clear that she'd prefer to just continue with what's she's doing. Rather than leaving her to it, he presses her to join him in his hotel room before offering a strong hint that her company's continuing relationship with his depends on her acquiescence.

It's a scenario which many women will recognise, even if the escalation has been accelerated because of the need to depict it in just over a minute.

The last of the films is a nod to the backlash from men complaining that they too can be on the receiving end of harassment. Lorraine Jennings of NABS reported in a tweet that men make up 9% of those who have revealed that they've been sexually harassed, though it's unclear what percentage of those have been harassed by women (as in the scenario below), and what percentage have faced the unwanted attention of other men.

Perhaps the strongest strand of the campaign is provided by its posters which benefit from the reductive power of the printed word. As you can see from the example at the top of this page, they carry a lot of weight.

The most important task for this campaign is to make those guilty of harassment aware of what it looks like. There appear to be a lot of men who are hunting for the monsters who perpetrate this kind of behaviour who are unwilling to examine their own conduct. Until all men take a long, hard look in the mirror and recognise their own failings, this problem is not going to go away.

UPDATE: Lorraine Jennings of NABS has revealed that their survey did not ask for the sex of the harasser so it is not known how many - if any - of the 2% of men who reported being harassed, were victimised by women.

David Reviews is hand-crafted by Lovely Lenzie Ltd, 7 Seven Sisters, Lenzie, Glasgow, G66 3AW. Editor: Jason Stone. Phone: 0141 776 7766. E-mail: jason@davidreviews.com.