Battle of the Sexes

It’s become a game to guess how many guys will walk into the room on the first day of school. The male to female ratio has become the elephant in the room, something no one wants to address. As an Ad/PR student, I find that there are more females than males studying the same degree as me, and I have no idea why. Why do more males tend to lean towards marketing instead of Ad/PR? Why are males so scarce in the JMC department?

Female Dominance

Olga Khazan, writer for The Atlantic, wrote the article “Why Are There So Many Women in Public Relations?” explaining the statistics on the issue.

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Overall, the journalism world is still 51% female, making the career almost sexist to a fault. From personal experience, discussions in class can revolve around controversial topics and the female voice is very strong, skewing the conversation.

Males Speak Up

 I spoke to Austin Kilcullen, junior Ad/PR major, about his thoughts on the female dominant career path he’s chosen to study. His dreams include opening up his own coffee shop or working in an agency to collaborate with “real” creatives. I asked him why he chose Ad/PR over marketing and he responded, “marketing won’t help me utilize my creativity. I believe I excel more in an agency environment than the rigid business world. It’s just who I am.”

I wondered if the tension was only one sided when controversial topics, such as gender roles, came up in the classroom. According to Austin, they most definitely aren’t. Born and raised in Tennessee, he knows how to respect women and treat them properly; however, his liberal ideals and strong personality tend to cause some disruption in the near female environment. When Kilcullen voices his opinion in class, the response from the female students are usually cold. “I admit, I do tend to speak up and say my opinion more than I should,” says Kilcullen, “but college is meant for hard discussions and open respect for one another. I just wish my opinion wasn’t automatically a negative when I speak up.”

Common Ground

 So, what is the Ad/PR field to do? Austin is one of many men in an industry dominated by women. He wants to utilize his creative skills to help communicate and connect with others around him, just like all the other Ad/PR students around him, male and female. There should no longer be cold responses to ideas brought up by either gender, we should view everyone on the same playing field. Let’s destroy the elephants in the room, and end the “battle of the sexes”.

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