Cindy Gallop is an advertising veteran, equality rights activist, and the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn. Gallop prides herself on her ability to blow sh*t up - whether that's by creating a platform whose mission is to end rape culture, speaking out about the lack of diversity in corporate America, or coaching businesses to make their workplaces more inclusive. In her interview she explains why women need to create their own industries and why they also need to make a lot of money doing it.
You are a big proponent of women’s rights and equality, what positive steps can be taken to drive change, and which areas still need a lot of work?
Men still need a lot of work. And they have to do that work on themselves, themselves.
The positive step is that today we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. I tell women to get very, very angry – because when we get angry, we make shit happen.
You recently co-authored a column in HBR on 7 Pieces of Bad Advice Women Should Ignore. Why do you think women should learn to change their business perspective from practices that are rooted in a male-dominated world to something that is more female-oriented? If we could do this in a large way, what impact do you think it would have?
I hold the opposite view to Sheryl Sandberg. Sheryl wants us to lean in within the existing system, and I want us to redesign the system. I want every woman to unashamedly set out to make an absolute goddamn f*cking sh*t-ton of money. Because when we make an absolute goddamn f*cking sh*t-ton of money, we can use that money to fund other women. Help other women. Support other women. Donate to other women.
We need to build our own financial and business ecosystem because the white male one isn’t working for us. That’s why I tell women, “Start your own industry.” What I mean by that is, start your own business, but I articulate it like that because when you start your own business, you can make it work the way you want it to, and so you are starting the industry we all want to work in. We live in a world where the default setting is always male. At scale, men will not believe how much happier they will be living and working in a world that is equally designed, managed, and led by all of us.
You had an established career in advertising, do you think advertising still subverts women? What positive steps do you feel are being taken in this arena? Are we still youth-obsessed?
The single best analysis I’ve ever read of why the ad industry is the way it is, is Megan Averell’s report, ‘Bro Culture In Ad Agencies And The Impact On Women’. I’ve given up trying to make change within the system, and now, per my answer above, I want us to drive our own change outside the system and start our own industry. That’s what many women – and older women – are now doing.
When is it an advantage to be a woman in your business?
I regularly get asked by reporters, “Cindy, do you think you would face so many challenges raising funding for MakeLoveNotPorn if you were a man?” My answer is, “A man would NEVER have had this idea.”