Would I have a job by now if my hem line was a little higher or my top was a little lower?
According to Samantha Brick in today’s Daily Mail I would be several rungs further up the career ladder by now. Here she is, the saucy minx.
She claims that if you look after your appearance and flirt just the right amount with your male superiors – without actually going as far as sleeping your way to the top – you’ll zoom past your colleagues who simply show up and focus on doing their jobs.
Brick claims that not only did her investment in her looks and ‘erotic capital’ advance her career, it has also led to a huge amount of flattering attention from men in all walks of life. Downsides? Her first marriage failed because her husband ‘couldn’t deal with her success’… or possibly because he didn’t like it how his wife openly flirted with any man in sight for the sake of a promotion or a bottle of champagne.
Brick, 41, has also lost many friends over the years due to their ‘jealousy’ of her looks, but it seems more than possible that it’s also something to do with her smug superiority complex.
Twitter is abuzz with people making fun of her. Many are simply rolling their eyes at the thoughts of all this fuss over an article in the Daily Mail. So is there anything to it?
Simply put, yes.
I’ve been wrestling with this all morning (one of the rare luxuries of being unemployed), but despite the fact that every feminist bone in my body is screaming ‘NO’, the more I think about it the more obvious it seems.
We judge people by how they look all the time. Low cut top and a short skirt? Slut. Pastel coloured skirt-suit? Classy. Blonde? Dumb/Have more fun. Short hair? Lesbian. We make a million judgement calls a day about people based on nothing more than a cursory glance.
Is it right? Hell no! But it is a fact of life.
When we go for job interviews we shower, do our hair nicely, wear our best clothes and make ourselves up. Why? Because we want to put the best possible image of ourselves forward. Because we understand if we go in jeans and a t-shirt we will not be taken seriously.
And what Samantha Brick is talking about is keeping that level of effort up even after you have the job, so that you will continue to be seen in the best possible light and you will get promotions and people will like you.
I recently left a job where it was suggested that I was chastised for not wearing high heels, and I term that misogynistic bullshit, but I still went in there every day with freshly washed and styled hair, make-up and nice clothes because I was in sales and I understand that no one wants to buy from someone who looks shabby!
More controversially, Brick talks about spending time and effort flirting with her male superiors. When you put it like that, she sounds like a silly bitch – but she’s writing in the Daily Mail, she’s being paid to be antagonistic!
What she’s really talking about is a game we play with our bosses all the time to be looked on favourably. We pretend to care about their kids, their holiday in the south of France or their stamp collection; we compliment their new haircut or outfit no matter how awful they are and no matter how unfunny or inappropriate they are we laugh at their jokes!
This storm in a teacup is happening because what Samantha Brick calls flirting, most of us would simply call sucking up.
Brick seems like an idiot to me, she’s not half as good looking as she thinks she is, nor as successful. But all she has actually done is create a bit of controversy with the language in which she made two points which are in fact truisms
- If you want to be successful in your industry, look the part and you’ll get promoted
- Get on well with your boss, take an interest in their lives and do whatever you can to get them to like you and you’ll get promoted
So ladies – are you making the most of your erotic capital? And men, do you allow yourselves to be manipulated by those that are?