CLIO Awards Think Women Are "Hot But Untalented"


The CLIO awards celebrate the contributions of people in the creative industry but seem to have forgotten that half of them are women. A quick look at the CLIO awards' promotional materials leads me to believe that the event is entirely dedicated to celebrating The BROmuda Triangle — where any sign of female talent is mysteriously lost. The only way the CLIO awards could be more excluding of women would be by pinning a proverbial "No Girls Allowed" sign to the door, followed by the disclosure: "go away, you cootie-filled talentless Other."

The CLIO awards' advertisement casually breaks down the standard attendee's attire. According to their extremely scientific poll, 100% of attendees are male and 18% of them have "hot but untalented" girlfriends who force them to wear the gauche creations they design.

It's one thing to assume that all attendees are male, but it's another to make your only mention of females about how "hot but untalented" they are. To that, Rachel Sklar, co-founder of Change The Ratio and The, replied the CLIO Awards in a tweet: "Talent IS hot you neanderthals." 

The worst part is that the CLIO awards are clearly geared toward celebrating an industry in which women do not only thrive, but thrive in large numbers. The event is meant to honor the people in a broad range, including innovative media, design, branded entertainment and content, public relations, and film. These fields are literally crawling with female innovators. Why isn't CLIO interested in attracting that kind of talent or at least pretending to celebrate it given their statement of mission: "our mission is to honor the groundbreaking work and talent that push the boundaries of creativity" and "award those creators whose work exemplifies inventive thinking" (so long as those creators are male ... or hot).

Morever, the CLIO awards expressly prides itself on its unbiased and democratic judging matrix. So, the panels are probably pretty diverse, right? Well this is what democracy looks like. All the jurors are male. The website claims: "CLIO’s judging process is known for its democratic and nonpolitical approach to recognizing creative excellence." That's funny because a (mostly white) all male-jury sounds pretty freakin' unrepresentative to me. When will we stop assuming that a male standpoint is the neutral/objective/fair standpoint? As a society, we need to come to terms with the fact that a male perspective is, by definition, one of many. Relying on it alone is, by default, non-neutral and undemocratic. If there are plenty of women working in the creative industry, then they should be called on to evaluate their peers just like their male counterparts. When CLIO failed to include any female jurors in their jury, they created a decidedly democratic deficit and made an explicitly non-"nonpolitical" choice.

I can't imagine that the thousands of outstanding women who work in these industries were all busy that day. As Sklar cleverly pointed out:

Cindy Gallop punctuates the debate with Digitas' Kathy May's picture of what "REAL Creatives" wear to the CLIO awards:

Let me know which version resonates with you on Twitter: @feministabulous and use the hashtag #askCLIO