Good morning! Hot and fresh, here's edition #32 of The World's Best Newsletter.



[BUT FIRST...] Wanna win $50? Answer a few questions about the state of PR + Content Marketing at your organization by May 31. 

In this edition:

1. The shocking difference in how VCs describe men and women
2. Stop gendering my whiskey
3. Speaking of Anthony Bourdain…
4. Followup to last week’s Dove ad takedown
5. Why they can’t ask - and you shouldn’t tell - in salary negotiations
6. Social Media’s effect on our mental health
7. Quote of the week - the professional

Let's do it.


1. The shocking difference in how VCs describe men and women

Trust me, when you walk into a meeting looking for funding, the only thing you want is to be taken seriously. 

To be evaluated for your potential, and your merits, and your achievements to-date. 

To be seen as assertive, innovative, and competent (just like your male co-founder will be almost immediately by walking into the room.)

This gender bias (AKA bullshit assumptions we make about people) has been proven to make it more difficult for female founders to get companies off the ground. New research brings this to life in an infuriating way, and it’s damaging for not only entrepreneurs, but our society as a whole.

Researchers in Sweden (CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THIS WAS DONE IN THE US) analyzed more than 100 recordings of closed-door VC meetings, to discover that the language used to describe male and female entrepreneurs was radically different. 

Note: not what they were looking for.

“The initial aim of our work was to study financial decision making and help the group to develop their processes, not to look for gendered discourse. But as we put together our data, the presence of gendered discourse was clear and abundant, leading us to take a closer look.”

Here's what they found - the same quality was described as a positive on a man, but a negative for a woman. 

“Men were characterized as having entrepreneurial potential, while the entrepreneurial potential for women was diminished. Many of the young men and women were described as being young, though youth for men was viewed as promising, while young women were considered inexperienced. Men were praised for being viewed as aggressive or arrogant, while women’s experience and excitement were tempered by discussions of their emotional shortcomings. Similarly, cautiousness was viewed very differently depending on the gender of the entrepreneur.”


Only when we are AWARE OF and held ACCOUNTABLE FOR our bias, then we can work to change them.

Read the full article in Harvard Business Review.

2. Stop gendering my whiskey

It happened again last week - not that I mind. I find it kind of funny, something I look forward to every time I order my go-to drink: Johnnie Black, on the rocks, thanks. 

First there’s a pause, like he (bartender, always a man, the women don’t flinch) didn’t hear me correctly. Then there’s a lowering of the bottom lip, eyebrows raised in a mark of being impressed, and then, the inevitable nod of approval. There’s usually a “Nice… I like your style” or “Wow, atta girl!" as I kind of make this face in response:

Give me the scotch, take my money, and stop gendering my whiskey. 

Research shows that super oversimplified representations of male/female eating habits persist for many of us. 

How does a drink, like whiskey or beer, become gendered in the first place? 

"We're constantly bombarded with advertising and social messaging telling us that eating like a bird and dining on salad is feminine, while eating large portions and plenty of red meat is manly," Christine Brissette wrote in the Washington Post.

'These oversimplified representations of female and male eating habits may seem outdated, but research shows they persist for many of us.' Indeed, this kind of messaging is all around us. Take products like Brosé (rosé for bros), Powerful Yogurt (it's got a bull logo) and Skinny Cow for Him (truly a thing that exists), all of which take food products that are typically marketed to women and give them a masculine makeover. 

More than anything, it's the items' presentation that depicts who should be consuming it — there's nothing listed in the ingredients that make them better for men. So even though women have proven their interest in harder liquids like whiskey and beer (they were, after all, the original brewers), sale and celebration of these drinks are consistently, pitifully aimed at men.” 

Read the full article in which my favorite wandering drunk philosopher Anthony Bourdain calls out the silly stupid practice of assigning gender to food. 

3. Speaking of Anthony Bourdain…

You either love, or hate, Anthony Bourdain. He’s someone who I read or tune into whenever I have the chance to follow this lived alternative reality that I find myself inexplicably drawn to - 

I wrote once that I was inspired by his "give-no-fucks, capricious gallantry."

I was delighted then to learn more about the person tasked with following this enormous figure around the world with a camera - Lynda Tenaglia, the “Woman Who Turned Anthony Bourdain into a TV Star.”

“It became genre-defining, to follow somebody, to have a strong point of view, but then also to just capture people in their own settings and in the most intimate of fashions.”

My favorite part of the article… her recap of the American Dream: "Put your head down and work like a motherf*cker." 

Amen sister.

4. Followup to last week’s Dove ad takedown

Thanks to the power and reach of LinkedIn… my article last week welcomed a whole bunch of new subscribers (Hi! Welcome! Stick around, you'll like it here.) 

It was ALSO seen by hundreds of people who work at Unilever....


In it, I highlight the hypocrisy of the same company promoting both “real beauty” and the bikini-clad army of women in its Axe commercials.

This week, right on cue, Unilever/Axe released ads that attempt to be a major rebuke of their old commercials: “Is it OK for guys…”

Now… I’m still firmly in the camp of “can we, like, not exploit real societal problems to sell body spray” but the move deserved a call out after the public shaming I gave Unilever last week. 

(PS what is the plan with Tweets like this? #yougotsomething… got what? Herpes? LOL) 

Moving on. 

5. Why they can’t ask - and you shouldn’t tell - in salary negotiations

You’ve heard the question before in a job interview process. “How much money do you currently make?”

According to two very smart women: don’t answer.

Lilly Ledbetter is an equal pay icon, whose pay discrimination lawsuit led to a new federal law on equal pay. In this piece, she and NYC First Lady Charlene McCray illuminate the problem of equal pay for women. 

In NYC, CA, PA, and MA, there are laws related to the legality of asking this question as it traps women from the very first job they take.

Don't answer.  Instead, respond by turning the question around. “Let me tell you what I’d like to make.” 

PS: Let me tell you what I’d like to say to companies who pay hispanic women 46% of what their white male counterparts earn... Read the full article for more.

6. Social Media’s effect on our mental health - 

The very official sounding Royal Society for Public Health published a report this week that should surprise exactly zero people, finding that our obsession with social media is more addictive than cigarettes, and is causing sleep issues, depression, and anxiety (the latter of which has risen by 70% in the past 25 years. Yikes.) 

Instagram came in first as the worst for young people’s mental health. #anxiety #blessed #hustle

Read the full findings.

7. Quote of the week

Shoutout to the wonderful Liz (thank you) who sent me this quote on a week that I really needed to see it. It's from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:

Have a stellar weekend.

PS:  Boston Content, a community of over 1,300 content professionals in Boston (producers, makers, marketers, enthusiasts, technologists) wants YOU! 

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