"To Secure These Rights"

"Not might makes right, might for right." Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), The West Wing.

I admit it - I'm a little confused by the Women's March. I'm told that most women don't want to be viewed as an impersonal orifice, but then...the costumes.  It has something to do with rights, respect and privilege. I'm still kind of hung up on the costumes. Go figure.

It isn't my gig and, apparently, I'm not alone. The blogosphere is rife with guys wondering just what in the holy hell. Etc. "They have the same rights as men, maybe they even have certain privileges men don't get to exercise." Oh, woe is me, they add.

I flash to the Hallmark Channel in the run up to Christmas. You know the movies - the big city guy/girl sent to the small town to buy out and close up the restaurant/inn/cookie factory. The women are pretty, the men handsome and true love takes over. The company that produces these million-ish dollar little bits of fluff have no pretense to Casablanca or Citizen Kane. Still, they are hugely popular.

One of the ads that played periodically was a little vignette about a woman architect. She had a terrible time convincing her male...boss, I gather...to take her seriously in the darkly-photographed and uninviting big firm setting. In the final scene - bright office, lots of windows - she answers the phone. She has gone into business for herself. She has a huge smile and a cheery expression. I don't remember what I was supposed to buy, but it's a cute commercial.

But, then I'm probably not the main target demographic for this commercial. I don't think this company spent millions on shooting, prepping and placing this ad on several hundred prime time spots over Hallmark's busiest time of year for me to think it's cute. I think they know their audience all too well - women who have gotten, or are getting shitty deals at work and wish they could do that. The company is as much as saying "We get you. Trust us with your next purchase decision."

Now, boys. Many of us are free-market capitalists - at least I am and most of my friends are. What do you think of this business decision? What do you think it says about the marketing department's opinion on the number of professional women with money to spend who watch that commercial and feel like someone understands?

It isn't about funny hats, creepy costumes or hastily-painted signs. It's about respect. Don't think so? I've written four books on this subject. I've interviewed dozens of women to lend authenticity to my characters.

Respect is in short supply right now. We should change that.