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The Week of March 8th

It has been a heavy week hasn’t it.

The 8th March started a catalyst of events, none of which were particularly positive.

However, the week began on Monday with International Women’s Day and certainly kickstarted the week in a positive light. I saw so many uplifting and supportive posts for friends, family members and even complete strangers. I really felt the internet had come together and was rallying in support for all women!

Many brands got on board too!

BT Sport had an entire female production on Monday evening. ‘The I’ only featured women on their front page and included a whole section on their website dedicated to International Women’s Day. 72 brands joined with The Princes Trust to help #ChangeAGirlsLife with John Lewis in particular donating £5 from any sale of their ‘AND/OR’ collection.

However, things took a turn when a certain burger restaurant got controversial! Who knew that the phrase “Women belong in the kitchen” would be a phrase used on International Women’s Day? Well, Burger King UK decided to run with it in an attempt to raise awareness that only 20% of professional chefs in the UK are women.

Now, I was torn when I saw this tweet. I believe the message is there, however the execution was not! Many people jumped to conclusions, without reading further, and chose to hate the message. But it was certainly a misjudgement on Burger King’s part. In the year 2021, saying that “women belong in the kitchen” was never going to go down well, no matter what the message behind it was.

Burger King wrote this tweet apologising for their misjudgement and deleted the original tweet, due to other Twitter users beginning to write abusive comments.

Now onto Monday evenings bombshell. Meghan & Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

I feel for them, I really do. It is clear that this is not particularly how they wanted to things to go, leaving the Royal Family completely and moving 5,437 miles away. However, they had to do what they felt was right in order to protect their family and their mental health from the negative experiences they’ve suffered over the past few years.

I cannot decipher where the truth lies. I am not convinced Harry and Meghan would flat out lie in an interview. However, some of their stories contradict themselves whilst others simply don’t make sense. But, I am not here to discuss the legitimacy of their claims. Rather the effect of the media, and how the Royal Family’s Comms/PR teams handled these situations.

Now this could need a whole separate blog post, but I will try to keep it short and sweet…

Spin. It seems that the ‘firm’, or ‘institution’ as Meghan and Harry referred to it, spun certain stories to almost protect themselves and the family. All whilst holding a complete disregard for the truth or how damaging it could be to other parties. I have talked about ethics on my blog before, and my perspective still stands. PR professionals should behave ethically, regardless of the situation. It has almost come back to bite ‘the firm’ in the backside.

We all know this by now. The British media are SAVAGE. They will do whatever it takes for a story or a reaction. We have such obvious examples of where this has all gone wrong. Caroline Flack just last year. Even Princess Diana. Both ruined by the media, and it makes me so sad to see people’s lives ripped away from them. I don’t have the answer to this and I don’t think I ever will but… Why can’t, or even why won’t the media change?

Finally, throughout the week we saw the devastating story of Sarah Everard unfold. This stuns me, I am actually lost for words. All I can say that my thoughts are with Sarah’s family and loved ones as they mourn Sarah, and navigate the situation in which she was taken from them.

I wholeheartedly admire every single woman who has stood up and shared her experiences of abuse. The fact that 97% of women in the UK have been harassed at some point is a sickening statistic. Change must be made, and we must continue to speak out for our safety. I personally have walked quicker in the evenings, and held my keys between my knuckles. But, what I cannot comprehend is that I believe there will always be bad people in the world, people who want to harm others for whatever reason (a psychology or criminology student could probably answer what that reason is). So yes, let’s educated each other, let’s encourage men to call out other men but will that be enough?

The week of the 8th of March has been tough. And I applaud you if you read all 810 words of this post. Let’s all hope and pray for a better week, and a better year for us all!

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