Why I embrace SlutWalk and its connection to the boardroom

SlutWalk.  I’ve tweeted about this and many have blogged about it too.  But in case you’re scratching your head, SlutWalk is a movement spreading across the world in which women march wearing whatever the hell they want protesting the “accepted” cultural belief that women are “asking for it” (i.e. sexual assaults) if they wear sexy clothes.

As you can imagine, I TOTALLY support this movement.  While I’m lucky enough to work and live in environments that are pretty open to different types of outfits, I recognize there are many places that aren’t.  In such places, women can get verbally and physically harassed by others thanks to their attire.  But that’s just the stuff on the surface.  Many women who dress in sexy attire are also often considered less intelligent and qualified for certain types of work.  And, there are many women who hold these opinions too, BTW.

Of course we have to be somewhat discerning about our outfits given the activities we choose to participate in (e.g., soccer playing) or the jobs we do (e.g., working in a factory with toxic chemicals around us) but beyond that, looking sexy shouldn’t signal anything more than, “hey, here are some sexy folks who like to embrace their bods. Great.”

Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

Hotties Get More For Free

Bright Hand Pictures created a documentary, Sexy Girls Have It Easy, about a girl that scores all types of freebies thanks to her sexy good looks (check it out on Vimeo).  Donning high heels and make-up, she’s able to get things like taxi rides, cake and champagne for free just by asking.
You could argue this is another case of looks discrimination.  And this theory is reinforced by the fact that this same hot woman is video-taped going out wearing a blah outfit, sans make-up and her hair in a pony-tail.  And like the first version, she asks for the same things for free but this time around she isn’t nearly as successful.
But instead of seeing this video as a statement of what’s wrong in our society, see it for the positive points it reveals.  Yes, she is discriminated against as a Plain Jane.  But all she needed to do to benefit from our culture’s (or human nature’s) biases is put a bit of lipstick and heels on!  In other words, beauty and the benefits reaped from it aren’t out of reach.  They just may require a bit more effort to obtain.
Oh, yeah, and you may even be able to make up the costs of the fancy duds and blow-outs thanks to all the freebies you’d get!
Watch the video and see for yourself:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/12030156]

A Legal Approach to Beauty

My mother (and undoubtedly the biggest fan of my blog) alerted me to a book review in last weekend’s New York Times.  The subject of the review, The Beauty Bias: The Injustices of Appearance in Life and Law, by Deborah L. Rhode, investigates the legal issues surrounding appearance and the behaviors we all indulge in, e.g., diets, tight shoes and cosmetics, to maintain or perfect it.
I really look forward to reading the book whenever I get off my butt and head over to the nearest Borders.  It’s great that there is a voice for appearance discrimination. But midway through the review, the journalist references the perils we women subject ourselves to for beauty, like ruined backs from high heels or thinner wallets thanks to expensive wrinkle creams.  When I read this, I got a little annoyed.  Like most decisions in our lives, the desire to pursue that which enhances our beauty isn’t simple.  Women don’t beautify just because they are enslaved by cultural norms or men’s expectations.  For example, high heels may be in style or amplify our sexuality.  But I wear them because they make me feel powerful, strong and confident.  I enjoy how they look on and how they add a bit of zip to the typical black outfit I wear to work.  As Debra Gimlin states in Body Works, women negotiate the rules and expectations of beauty to create a meaningful solution for themselves.
After my initial reaction to the review, though, I was really inspired by Rhode’s efforts to focus on these issues simply because she’s taking the role of looks seriously.  So many women choose to stay away from this topic because it seems too girly.  But, as the sheer number of beauty blogs, magazines, TV shows and products indicates, beauty is serious business. It means a lot to people and, whether we like it now, it profoundly affects them – positively and negatively.  Kudos to Rhode for tackling the topic and making people seriously take notice of it.

source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2292/2368503630_1af0ea6985_t.jpg