The Marketing Guy: Still a Work in Progress
by Camille Hankins
You may not know Osay Imarhiagbe’s name, but you definitely know his work—he designs the majority of the promotional materials for the Center for Women, as well as creating graphics for events and programs. Imarhiagbe has been my coworker at the CWE since he joined the team in 2011. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and discuss his experiences at the center and how his time here affects his relationship to feminism.
Imarhiagbe was initially attracted to the center because of the opportunity to work in graphic design. Nervous, but desperate for a job, he began work. “I was worried being a guy in a Center for Women would kind of put me at a disadvantage. . . . I was worried there would be a bias working against me,” he explains.
The annual staff training retreat was a turning point for Imarhiagbe. “My perspective changed really quickly after that,” he says. By getting to know other staff members, he was able to understand better the purpose and practice of feminism at the center.
Osay Imarhiagbe and Camille Hankins
As he continued work, Imarhiagbe was particularly moved by the full-time staff and began to understand exactly how seriously they took feminist issues and how they relate to gender issues in their own lives. He developed a particular interest in challenging more covert, implicit ways that sexist language and behavior affect women’s everyday lives. He realized that “blasé comments” can be hurtful and has interrogated his own relationship with women. “It’s made me more conscious of what I say . . . and more conscious of the standard level of respect that should be given to everyone,” he says.
Before he came to the center, Imarhiagbe says he never would have called himself a feminist. He admits ignorance about the issue, as he associated feminism with negative stereotypes. I was surprised to learn that he still doesn’t identify as a feminist—but for a very different reason. He explains, “Placing myself relative to the people who work here, I’m not as feminist as they are. I’m definitely more knowledgeable and less ignorant about the things I didn’t know before. It’s made me realize the importance of keeping an open perspective on things.”
In addition to this new perspective, Imarhiagbe’s time at the center has provided him with experience creating graphics in a professional environment. He says he also has learned a bigger life lesson from his experience with feminism—“I know now that I need perspectives other than my own. There are things other than feminism that I don’t know about.”
Camille Hankins is a 2013 graduate of Emory who majored in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and American Studies. She will spend the next year in Atlanta learning more about sustainable agriculture and being in community with others. She then plans to move to Knoxville to grow food on Conrad Honicker's (see "The Feminist Men of the Center" article) family farm.