Though the parallels have been obvious for decades, I’m starting to realize firsthand how truly difficult it is to be a woman breaking into a male-dominated field.
Women in general have a slight disadvantage in career and business as an entirety (slight being relative depending on various factors), but especially if you are a good-looking woman.
Yes, this may an unpopular remark, and some may argue against my case, but let me explain.
As an attractive woman getting her foot in the door of an already-vain industry, largely controlled by male CEOs, yet designed and tailored toward female clientele, there is a clear disadvantage. This goes for anyone in anything from fashion, to cosmetology, music, and other various industries.
So, you ask… Why (and how could it possibly) be so hard to be “pretty”? Wouldn’t one think that an aesthetically pleasing female would be more desirable as the face of an industry or company based so heavily on looks?
Well, yes, that is the case to an extent, but here is why it’s so damn hard:
When males, particularly straight ones, are most often the ones doing the hiring and firing, there is a potential added layer of complication: attraction, and the impulse to act on it.
This reality leads me to question the intent behind certain offers.
Are you reaching out to me because you see my intelligence, potential, creativity, and the value I can add to your brand? Or are you looking for a slick way to get close to me?
Are you promoting me, or being nice to me, because I deserve it, or because you want to use that as leverage to get your way?
I am able to think analytically and critically, and possess an innate ability to see beyond face value. My intelligence is prevalent, albeit at times, not immediately obvious. I’m driven. Innovative. Patient and levelheaded. I’m excellent at networking, and capable of making lasting connections from anywhere in the world. I’m a hard worker who will stay in the office with you until after midnight if we need to finish a project, even if everyone else has gone home. Everything I commit to is wholeheartedly and with 150% effort.
But many times, that’s not what I’m noticed for.
I am noticed for my face. For my body. For the types of clothes and shoes I wear. For my “sex appeal.” I am instantly and undoubtedly reduced to the appearance of my shell.
I’ve been called shallow, for appreciating the finer things. Vain, for taking care of my appearance. Yet these are the things that make you desire me, and desire to work with me.
Such a contradiction. You want me for that, but you degrade me for that. And I’m so much more than that, but you think with the wrong head, and you don’t see that.
I’ll never apologize for being myself. I’ll never stop liking what I like, or looking how I want to look. I will not lower myself or “desexualize” my appearance (think Sarah Palin before and after joining politics) in order to be respected by men or the masses, or try to force people to dig deeper and see the real me.
I am who I am. Like it, dislike it, love it, or hate it. You can say what you want to say, to whoever you want to say it. I don’t care. And my job in this world is not to convince you of my worth. I can tell very quickly a person’s intentions, and if you are the type to generalize, I don’t care what type of CEO, photographer, entrepreneur, boss, or influencer you are. We will not get along.
The right people will not make assumptions. And the people who make assumptions, typically make themselves out to be the first three letters of that word.
Ladies in this situation: Pledge to work twice as hard to make it. Do so while staying true to yourself. Do so in 120mm Louboutins if you so please, and let those red soles flash in the face of these business owners as you walk out of their office, turning down a potentially great job because it was offered by a “man” with the wrong mindset.
You’re worth it. You’ll make it. You are going to Dominate. Don’t change, don’t settle, don’t complain, and don’t make excuses. Rise above. Be unapologetically yourself, and show them that you can be just as powerful with a pair of tits and stilettos bigger than their egos.