On fishnets tights and PR bunnies

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The City law firm which has seen fit to ban fishnet tights at work is a little miguided in its sartorial witch hunt. Fishnets have moved on a bit from the Moulin Rouge and are pretty respectable (not to mention surprisingly warm).

It’s not really individual items of clothing that are the problem – more the general approach. I recently interviewed a female candidate who turned up for interview dressed in a way that could most charitably described as eye-popping. I could not tell you whether she was wearing fishnet tights or not – so astonished was I by the acres of decolletage on display.

Sadly, this is not a rare occurence in PR – nor is it confined to junior execs trying to make a splash. Stories abound of female PR executives who are urged by agency heads to wear mini-skirts and low-cut tops to a pitch where men are the decision makers. What does it say about an agency’s ‘talent’ that they resort to this level of tactics to woo clients?

Unlike corporate law – which requires a particular set of qualifications – anyone can land a job PR if they’re allowed in. This is a good thing, as it breeds breadth of creativity, experience and perspective. But it also lowers the bar to such an extent that individuals who have no business advising companies on their reputation end up doing just that.

There’s an abundance of formidably intelligent and deservedly successful women in the marketing communications sector who rely on their brains rather than boobs at work. How unfortunate, then, that many people’s experience of ’PR’ rests on half-dressed trolly dollies with little other to recommend themselves than their cup-size.