Labels are for Clothes: Dispelling PR Stereotypes (Part B)

We had the first two PR stereotypes in the Part A. Now, let’s begin…

The B*tch and the Bunny

Stereotypical PR practitioners – the fluffy and anti-fluff – are often referred to as the so-called PR B*itched and Bunnies.

If you are a fan of tough love and have a no-nonsense attitude then you’re probably be pegged as a PR b*tch. A PR b*tch is fierce and confident (sometimes overconfident).

Kelly “Cutthroat” Cutrone

The ultimate role model for a PR b*itch is Kelly “Cutthroat” Cutrone, founder and head of PR fashion firm People’s Revolution and author of If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. For these people the industry that requires its players to be competitive and tougher. Being competitive, at times, is not all bad. One should always strive for excellence.

A PR bunny is a young, PR practitioner characterized by a pretty face and a lack of management competence. Like a bunny, they are fluffy and cute and despite of their ability to throwing great parties, and flirting with clients, they are not good at much else. According to this stereotype, PR work is all glamorous. This is highly debatable since it is a must for PR practitioners to dress up. One should be presentable in front of their current and prospect clients. The flirting, on the other hand, is a subjective matter. Both parties simply have to be professional.

If only the knowledge of the Public Relations industry is based from shows like Sex & the City, The Hills and The City, it can be concluded that these stereotypes are true; however, these portrayals of PR practitioners are inaccurate.


Catty Industry

The PR industry may resemble high school cliques as far as being catty is concerned. The reason for these is the nature of the industry and the fact that there is such a tight competition for clients. You have to “fight” for every single position, promotion, and work from the moment you start working. That is why the PR field is known for cattiness.

Cattiness is also associated with the number of females in the industry. However, this must not be the case. Always remember that the industry is not self-regulating. Anyone can enter the industry and clients can hire anyone, making the competition tougher. Some practitioners go too far to get coverage, which could be construed as catty. Another is that there are influential individuals that have catty personality and it works with their specific line of PR.

However, the competition when women are involved is different because it is not women trying to prove that they are better that their male colleagues but that they are better than the other women competing in the industry. The “mean girl syndrome” can be observed if there is any truth to it.

Most stereotypes are directed to female PR practitioners. Dr. Larissa “Lauri” A. Grunig said, “Because PR is mostly female; the negative impacts associated with being female also impact negatively on PR.” While we all want to think public relations is as easy and as glamorous as it seems, there is really more to it. Labels are for clothes. It is high time for people to think out of the box that confines public relations.

Genuine PR professionals think critically and strategically. They do research, planning, implementation and evaluation in order to guarantee effective communications and positive outcomes. Above all, PR professionals are truthful, and practitioners maintain utmost professionalism, which includes respect and confidentiality. The notion of spin, b*tch, bunny, and catty implies something false, which good PR professionals detest. Good PR skills are taught in school and honed through experience, not by watching Sex and the City.





Labels are for Clothes: Dispelling PR Stereotypes (Part A)

Youthful, vibrant, and sexy.

Ever since Samantha Jones of Sex and the City graced our TV screens in 1998, public relations practitioners have not been able to lose the stereotypes associated with the character. Samantha changed the image of public relations for the 21st century. The stereotypes from media portrayals seemed to carry over into real life, thus, tinting the reputation of the people in the PR industry.

There are many misconceptions and stereotypes about public relations. These stereotypes are not only for PR professionals but also for the whole industry as well.


The Spin Doctor

Being labeled as a shameless spin doctor is the worst for a PR practitioner. According to this stereotype, PR professionals are downright dishonest. They “spin” or make up the truth.  Claims are said to be made without evidences and contradictions are thrown against facts.

As a PR practitioner in world where you cannot test everything for yourself, it is up to your judgment to validate the claims of your client. You must be able to identify points would prove that what the clients are saying is true. For some, it is very easy to be caught up with the excitement of doing a big campaign for a known corporation, thus, diving immediately to work without proper research and validation of facts. This can be very risky since the industry operates under the principle of truth, trust, and integrity.

The practice related to this stereotype is the “pig in lipstick,” where PR practitioners revamp the truth so it would be palatable that it actually is. This is very unprincipled. A half-truth is still not the truth.


Who Run the World…? Girls, Girls!

Another stereotype is that the PR is a female profession. Based on studies, the industry is currently female dominated. A stereotype like this was bound to happen because there are just so many women.

Despite the fact the females outnumber the males in the industry; there are more males in the PR academe, thus, making the PR instructions male-centric. Aside from this, male PR practitioners are portrayed more positively in media than their female counterpart. Females are usually shown, if not negatively, in neutral light.

Spin Doctor and Girls running the industry.. Do you agree? Let me know what you think and watch out for the part B to learn more of the PR Stereotypes.


♦ PR – A Female Dominated Industry
 Biography for Samantha Jones
Break Free from PR Stereotypes
Will PR break down the glass ceiling?
Are Stereotypes Holding Women Back? (Part 2: PR Bunnies)