Looking at the long aisles of magazines in my local branch of WHSmiths on the high street, I pick up US vogue and see an article on Debbie Wasserman Schulz, the US Representative for FL-20 and making sure that it was her and not somebody else. She is unrecognisable. And after a little while longer looking at other magazines and buying my usual copies of Elle UK and Instyle. I thought nothing more of it. Until I went online later that evening to refinery29.com and read their article ‘ Why is it still an issue for a woman to be pretty and competant’
Debating the age old question of beauty versus competence. Are women deliberately underestimated by potential employers because of our appearance? Do we have to ‘dumb down’ and consider fading into the background to advance our careers.I firmly believe that being a woman in business is hard enough, a recession also makes this even tougher than ever before. What, with being taken seriously, the question of marriage and children hanging around our necks, First impressions are important but should we have to become a weaker, quieter more submissive version of ourselves to please everyone else but ourselves.
However, all things considered this is US VOGUE is not a political pamphlet. Its a fashion bible. There is no way in a blue moon that Anna Wintour would allow a woman to a appear in her magazine without looking done. This has got me thinking.. My immediate thoughts.. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin during her campaign for office in 2008 was awarded more column inches because of her makeover (Do they have Valantino in Alaska..?) and her beauty queen history than her policies. This line of questioning is the same for the current coverage of the political party conferences here in the UK, this month.
(Wife of Prime Minister, David) ‘Samantha Cameron arrives to the conference in Jeans’ (it was a Sunday)
(Wife of Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg) ‘Miriam Gonzalez Durantez is unflattering in white’
Wife of opposition leader Justine Milliband has lost weight, a new haircut and gained a stylist.
To the wider world, all of these women who are all successful capable and incredibly confident have been reduced to appearances, to be seen and not heard. Again I am reminded that in today’s modern world its appearances that matter and not our ability. This is 2012, not 1912.A woman’s appearance should not hinder her career prospects. The real reason the debate keeps on going is that we are strong, ambitious and confident women, there is only a thin layer of glass to keep us from our ultimate goal. Just because something has been believed for a long time doesn’t make it right. So, Next time your in the office or at an interview, stay true to yourself. That way you’ll look and feel confident in you and your ability.