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pretty and smart

June 26, 2008

Pretty and smart is still an unbeatable work combination.

That’s right kids, not Smart and Pretty, but Pretty And Smart, just in case you were wondering on which trait you should base your self worth first.

This delightful article about Flirting in the workplace continues with this (Via Feministing)

I know one big city mayor who used to run a high profile company and only wanted pretty girls around his bullpen. The overweight young woman whose bra straps always showed, and who had the unfortunate habit of burping out loud, lasted minutes before being moved quickly to another floor.

As an overweight young woman, who believes in the right of people with vaginas to occasionally expel gas via their mouths, and whose bra strap has never fit right because the clothing industry hates her, I just want to take this moment to say THANK GOD FOR THAT POOR GIRL.  Seriously?  Who is PROUD of working for someone who is blatantly superficial.  I’m glad she got herself out of the harem.

I mean, I know that’s what every woman wants.   We all secretly long to work for a boss who values us for his view of our cleavage over anything productive we can actually contribute.  I can hear the protests now “But, But, he respects me for my IDEAS.”  That’s right honey, your boss is thinking about your ideas while he watches you saunter through the office in your Jimmy Choos.  And while he admires your gold flecked titties, he’s thinking ALL about that last presentation you gave.

In addition to Courtney’s great points,  one thing that I find really appallinga bout this article as well is, it exsists in a world where men have all the power and women are flirting with them to get that power.  Seriously.  She talks about flirting with powerful men, and male bosses.  She totally glosses over her period of time with a female boss, talking about how insipid she found working with mostly women.  She even talks about working “with” women, and not much about working FOR women.  I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the reason she doesn’t like working with or for women is because they expect her to actually be capable.  You can’t flash your straight female boss a come hither look and get a promotion.

I’m thrilled for Betsy that being a hottie has allowed her to flirt and hump her way up the corporate ladder to a place where she can sexually harass whoever she wants.  But frankly, I’d rather be ugly and unsuccessful than successful and secretly wondering if I got where I am just because my bosses liked to look at my tits.

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12 Comments
  1. Great post, shinobi. I find it especially poignant now that I’m both job hunting AND trying to live my life the IE way, which, as we all know, makes us way happier and healthier but also more likely to get rejected at job interviews for looking ‘sloppy,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘unmotivated,’ etc.

  2. Becky permalink

    but what’s the fun in getting dressed up for work if no one’s around to appreciate the gold-flecked body powder you’ve tossed down your cleavage ?

    Ummm, wow. For me the fun in getting dressed up for work is the pride I take in looking put together and professional. And gold-flecked body powder on the cleavage is for a night out, not the office.

    And pretty and smart isn’t always an advantage… I have a friend whose coworker admitted he took her less seriously at first because she is pretty and of course the stereotype is that pretty girls are dumb and hired for their looks (a stereotype this author isn’t doing much to dispell *sighs*.)

  3. Come to think of it, I’ve NEVER seen a skinny woman’s bra strap. What do they look like? Do they wear bras made of different material? I’ve never seen one showing on a skinny girl, so I never really thought about it.

    /sarcasm

    I dress well for work — business casual. Funny, I get comments from my fashionista thin coworkers on my clothes and the security guard at Barnes & Noble told me today that she’s coming over to my place to raid my shoe closet. I feel great when I look good — nothing to do with flirting, just like to look professional and put together.

    It is sad that it’s always “pretty and smart” and not “smart and pretty.” I hate it when I see women I know are intelligent act like pretty bimbos to get attention. I think they are selling themselves short.

  4. littlem permalink

    Much as I hate this (it seems to have been allowed to flourish unabated in BushAmerikka, much like the “hiring/firing by ideology” in the DOJ; perhaps it will die down soon … 209 … 208 … 207), there’s a component to it which a lot of us don’t talk about — the Queen Bee Syndrome.

    If you haven’t heard of it, it’s where your female boss tries to keep you — and any other women she thinks are a threat to her position, conventionally attractive or otherwise — from advancing because she consciously/unconsciously believes there’s only room for one woman do to well in the organization/field and if so, it should of course be her.

    There are a lot of people looking for the most efficient way to advance. Not necessarily the most ethical, but the most efficient (particularly the more brutal the economy becomes). I think there are a lot of women who turn to the gold dust powder method because they think it’ll get them further than attempting to battle with a superior or colleague who doesn’t want them to advance because of QBS. And for that, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    I think if we as women can do a better job of networking and looking out for each other, this glitter boob stuff might subside. But then again, the glitter boob types, last I heard, tend to also be the reason Lysistrata didn’t work either. *sigh*

    Do y’all think, as a gender, we’ll ever get past that?

  5. Ginny permalink

    Did you just blame president Bush for Queen Bee Syndrome? That thing that’s existed since women have been in the workplace at all? I hope I’m reading that wrong.

    Also, gold spangled tits is pretty unprofessional. Even for business casual. What’s next, pasties?

  6. Shinobi permalink

    Littlem,
    I don’t think Queen Bee Syndrome actually exsists. For one there was a study a while back that brought it to the fore, and I discussed it on my old blog, You can read it here if you want. Essentially the study results were completely misinterpreted to prove this whole queen bee theory. The study, conducted in spain, used surveys of managers and asked them to rank candidates for promotions based on stereotypical qualities of those candidates. So all the study actually proved is that women were more likely to discriminate against their own gender, which is not surprising considering the women would be less concerned about coming across as sexist for discriminating against female candidates (based on stereotypes about females, there were no actual candidates.) Basically, it was TOTAL CRAP.

    Of course everyone has anecdotal evindence of that time their female boss put them down. But I also have tons of anecdotal evidence of the times my male bosses and superiors have tried to keep me down and limit my prospects. (I work in a male dominated field.)

    Queen Bee syndrome in women is called competitiveness in men. It is absolutely not unheard of for insecure male bosses to limit the prospects of promising people below them (regardless of gender.) So why is this not King of the Hill syndrome or some such nonesense?

  7. littlem permalink

    “Did you just blame president Bush for Queen Bee Syndrome?”

    Um, no.

    Clearly I didn’t write so as to make the point I intended (or at least need to take responsibility for it being interpreted in more than one way), but no.

    “Littlem,
    I don’t think Queen Bee Syndrome actually exsists.”

    I’d argue differently, having both experienced it and witnessed it, but to each his/her own.

    “It is absolutely not unheard of for insecure male bosses to limit the prospects of promising people below them (regardless of gender.)”

    Absolutely agreed. However, my observation – being well aware that the plural of anecdote is not data, even though I live/work in NYC and Washington and read Fast Company and the Economist – is that such behavior is the exception, rather than the rule. Whereas the “keep ALL women down/out that are not me” behavior — as opposed to it being restricted to any direct threat to one’s own prospects — seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

    “So why is this not King of the Hill syndrome or some such nonesense?”

    I think it’s different because men don’t start out the one-down gender. If men were worse at helping one another along, why would people even argue the existence of the Glass Ceiling or the Old Boys’ Club?

    Therefore in my more naive days, I thought women would help one another out more because we had more ground to cover just to parse out some measure of equality in the workplace, let alone maintain it.

    YMMV.

  8. littlem permalink

    And of course, none of this makes the Glitter Boob Tactics any less ill-making. I was just trying to draw attention to what I think is a rather regularly swept under the rug reason why some women might resort to it in an effort to get ahead, even though — because Jeebus knows it comes with its own set of pitfalls — in ideal circumstances they might rather not.

  9. Sarah permalink

    “Ummm, wow. For me the fun in getting dressed up for work is the pride I take in looking put together and professional.”

    Good for you. Don’t assume the rest of us have to feel that way.

  10. I like working for women; I haven’t had many female bosses, but they’ve been my best bosses. In my experience, the women to watch out for are the smart, bitter women in clerical jobs who resent the fact that their generation wasn’t encouraged to take on professional positions – and find themselves working with younger female professionals. I can understand where they’re coming from, but ouch!

    Anyway, flirting with your male bosses loses its effectiveness once you get past a certain age and aren’t cute and naive anymore. Then, the same men who used to flirt with you find you threatening.

  11. shilohmm permalink

    That article so totally reminded me of Cosmopolitan articles from the 1970’s – someone called the author a Cosmo Girl; is the magazine still that bad? Yikes!

    Queen Bee syndrome in women is called competitiveness in men. It is absolutely not unheard of for insecure male bosses to limit the prospects of promising people below them (regardless of gender.)

    This was my thought as well. I wonder if some women in power keep women down but don’t have the nerve to treat guys that way or in some sense see themselves competing against the women but not the men. Some of the insecure male bosses limit guys but women can get somewhere if they play up to the guy as the author of that article recommends, so maybe she resented the women she worked for because she couldn’t use her usual scam.

    flirting with your male bosses loses its effectiveness once you get past a certain age and aren’t cute and naive anymore. Then, the same men who used to flirt with you find you threatening.

    As opposed to actual work skills, which are functional your entire career… why waste time developing skills with such limited usefullness?

  12. Becky permalink

    Good for you. Don’t assume the rest of us have to feel that way.

    ? I was responding to the author’s implication that the only reason for a woman to get dressed up is to attract male attention. I was countering that by pointing out that there are many reasons to get dressed up, including my own which is taking pride in my appearance. They idea that the only reason for a woman to dress up is for a man is harmful to women because it means men assume that any woman who is dressed up wants to be hit on, cat called, and leered at… even at the office! Which isn’t to say I have a problem with dressing up for male attention (I would say work isn’t the best place for that but that would really depend on your job), I’ve done it myself, but I have a problem with the idea it’s the only reason for a woman to dress up.

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