Growing up, my brother used to try hard to persuade me to attend The Motor Show. He is a petrolhead and the show would be the highlight of his year. I went once. My lasting memory is almost every stand had women who were dressed in a sexy way to entice the men onto the stand. It was terrible.
Years later, I spot this tweet from colleague Geoff Whitehouse:
If they were Lego or Airfix models, that’s fine – I would love to win or be given some Lego to take home – but no, he meant scantily clad ladies who would adorn their stand, look beautiful and try and get horny nerds and geeks to walk over.
Is this the 2020s? What the actual f**k?
Yet it brings home that we may be living in the 2020s but everyone still knows that sex sells. Just look at a few music videos and compare those with men versus women. The women are usually asked to be sexy and the men to be macho. And yes, that’s in the 2020s.
For all of our talk about emancipation, equality, diversity and inclusion, the world has not changed so much. Sure, we are more aware and we have to avoid using the derogatory phrases and words, but people are still wired the same way. Those who are not the same as us are treated less well. Those who are beautiful are desired. Those who need money by selling their more precious ass-et, will sell it.
It's all about money, power, sex and control. It’s not changed since humanity began, and it’s still the same. Governments try to brainwash us to think different. Society tries to tell us to be normal. The world says don’t treat women, people of colour, people of different religions, the less abled or others worse. It’s laudable and applaudable, but is it feasible and reasonable?
People have their prejudices ingrained. It’s in their DNA. It’s in all of us. You may think you have no bias but those who are without sin, throw the first stone.
That’s why I feel conflicted about cancel culture and the woke society we live in today. I don’t want people to make fun of those who have a harder life than me but, at the same time, comedy is all about recognising our differences.
I don’t know but I do care. I care about the memories of calling people of colour names; I care about the memories of my brother beating up kids in the playground, just because they were not the same as him; I care about shouting names at people who were missing limbs or had strange faces; I care about a world where everyone should be equal and included, not made fun of or excluded.
Nevertheless, I also care about allowing us to have fun. It’s like the PC-movement (politically correct) of the 1990s. It got to the stage where a colleague got sacked for saying that a co-worker’s hair looked nice today. It can be ridiculous, and the woke cancel culture world of the 2020s is little different to the PC moves of the 1990s … just more extreme.
Therefore, coming back to the opening point, a company that thinks it appropriate to offer women to entice men onto a stand at a tradeshow is about as acceptable as a comedian making a joke about someone with cancer. It can be done … but only if it is done with taste.
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...