Do women need to
look good at all times
to get any respect?
I’m currently working on reviews of lip balms, having noticed that they are carried by most of the women featured in the What’s in Your Bag series. I wasn’t too sure at first about this step away from office products and coffee makers so I asked reviewer Sharon Jackson of Path 42 for her opinion.
Sharon said she thought it would be a fun thing to do, and suggested we might like to consider other ways of ‘keeping fresh, professional and yet look good’, like hand and face wipes. She added ‘Unfortunately in some ways but women need to look good at all times to get any respect it seems.’
What a thought-provoking remark. There has been a lot in the press and social media lately about the small numbers of women in broadcasting, government and public life. Then there was the storm over the Women Who Eat on Tubes Facebook page and the Circle Line Lunch Party that was organised in protest.
Helen Walmsley-Johnson, who writes the Invisible Woman column in The Guardian and is in her 50s, has written about being rejected for a job on the basis they were looking for someone more ‘up and coming’ ie younger.
Olympic swimmer and medal winner Reecca Adlington has had years of abuse by internet trolls over her looks. Apparently if you’re a woman it’s not enough to get to the very top of your field, you should look like a model as well.
As women working from home we manage to avoid office politics, which might include sexism, and certainly includes the pressure to present yourself in a certain way. I know that many of you regard the freedom from office politics as one of the great benefits of home working, along with being able to wear comfortable working clothes.
But we all need to go out, whether it’s to meet clients, attend networking events or just to enjoy the buzz of a busy coffee shop and feel part of something bigger than the home. Women often tell me they find it hard to get their wardrobe right for working outside the home.
And I’ve joked about rushing to put on make-up before a Skype call. But maybe it’s not that funny. Is it just the way the world operates or do you find it annoying and limiting? Do you feel women need to look good in order to get respect as business owners? Does it apply equally to men who look less than well turned-out?