Whack a mole feminism is tearing us apart.


Whack a mole feminism is tearing us apart.


Prior to 2017 I wanted to bitch slap any young white woman who said she wasn’t a feminist. We’d fought so hard for the things they took for granted. How dare they!

Then came the white woman’s #MeToo and we became legion. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Today I can’t bring myself to call myself a feminist. I can’t align myself with an ideology that goes against every ounce of my being, personal experience, and beliefs.

All I want is equality.

We all do. But when white middle-class feminists gang up and hunt down alleged bad men instead of bringing together the sisterhood to effect real change, all they’re doing is dividing us. We’re playing the patriarchy’s game.

I’m not going to dwell on Depp vs Heard – God knows it’s taken up way too much of my life already, but let’s put this simply:

Heard accused Depp of being sexually violent. He won on all three counts. Depp accused Heard of a hoax. She lost on two of the three counts.

Why can’t white middle class feminists accept this? Because to me, it’s as mad as the Republicans not accepting the 2020 election result.

My Black female friends are just rolling their eyes, this was never their #MeToo. And Survivors are triggered because #believeallwomen doesn’t appear to include them. It’s an unholy mess!

I sometimes feel like I’m in the prequel to the Matrix and we’re all being scanned to fit an algorithm. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been averse to being put in a box. And I hate being attacked when I don’t subscribe to parts of the narrative assigned to that box. 

Last year, a man who is trying to build a presence as a ‘marketing guru’ was criticised for charging young people for mentorship. The incredible Zoe Scaman grabbed hold of this and instead of attacking opened up a google doc filled with brilliant people who would mentor for free. A brilliant solution. But a group of young feminists still wanted blood and called the guy out by name. Zoe commented it wasn’t cool and was attacked. I joined in to lend a hand. When their comments became laughable we both walked away sending each other eye roll emojis in our DMs.

We’ve been fighting for too long to waste our energy on small skirmishes. We want to win the whole fucking war.

Yet I keep getting drawn into battles, then the backlash. This last week a ‘bad man’ in our industry was accused of sexual violence. This week a good woman has been forced to pause her socials for abuse she received for talking about… wait for it… paid media. It’s like a playground war on acid.

One truth this game of British Bulldog is highlighting perfectly is our industry is missing a very important voice. The mothers of teenagers. Because I swear to God, when they act up like this you want to kill the little fuckers!

But you have to take a big deep breath and then calmly explain why they are being irrational, irresponsible, violent, stupid or whatever they’re playing out. Then you have to explain why it’s wrong and the consequences they face. But most of all you have help them find a way to put it right.

It works. 18 midlife women now have careers with WPP. While y’all were getting your knickers in a knot over Mark Read’s “Harking back to the eighties” misstep, Ally Owen and I were working on a fucking amazing solution.

Zoe Scaman’s brilliantly researched and written ‘Mad Men. Furious Women’ weeded more bad men from the industry than we will ever know. She simply told her story. Someone in great power listened. A number of men are now spending a lot more time with their family. Leaving her to carry on making her dreams come true and leading us with her strategic genius. 

I adore my white sisters who subscribe to the ‘don’t moan – fix it’ school of feminism. Jo Wallace went through hell this last year. She held herself in grace as she was attacked by angry white men and the Daily Mail. She didn’t attack back, she joined the group Ali Hanan from Creative Equals gathered together to create a campaign to make NDAs fair. If we want to get the bad men out, let’s wait for the big fish and attack them with real evidence, not the accusations of imperfect victims. 

Oh, the stories that will be told. The ones we’ve all heard on the whisper network laid out bare in black and white. There will be no heated debate or angry men. And if there are, the misogynists and bullies will be readily identifying themselves.

The same can happen with the men who don’t promote women’s careers. I urge every woman who’s going to Cannes Lions to get on Etsy, EBay or Amazon and buy yourself some champion badges. Wanna feel part of a sisterhood? Get together and make a load! Then hand them out to men who have actively recognised, nurtured and promoted your career*. There will be plenty of empty lapels with bruised egos. And we’ll all know who the good guys are. Concentrate on them!

Imagine what we could build together.


*Simply employing you is not enough.