As subtle as a…

You know what I am on about without me finishing the title. Yes, yes, it is *that* woman, in *that* series of Daily Mail articles.

Much has been written, pretty much everywhere, with reactions ranging from astonishment to frankly, the downright nasty, not least of which by the Daily Mail itself today, using a series of photographs that can at best be described as unflattering – causing folk who comment there, not usually the kindest set of people one can find on the ‘net to suggest that the paper itself is now being less than kind.

However, I digress. To summarise her point (I think there was one), she seemingly suggests that she is discriminated against by other women, due to her looks.

The shame is, that if she hadn’t written that piece about herself – if she had simply written an opinion piece that some women discriminate against other women based on looks, she would have a fair point.

Not only fair point, but an important one. In a piece entitled “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” The Economist this week reports that research by two Israeli academics suggests that whereas for men, attractiveness increases their chances of employment, for women it decreases it (here).

The pair sent out similar CVs in response to job adverts – one containing a photo and one not. They discovered that for applications direct to a company (i.e. not via a recruitment consultant) attractive women made 11 applications before being invited to an interview; the less attractive being invited after making 7.

Having discounted what they call the ‘dumb-blonde hypothesis’ by having the photographs they used ranked for intelligence, they looked at why this was occurring. They found that 93% of those who made the decision as to whether an interview should be offered were female, leading them to the conclusion that some women will discriminate against attractive women candidates.

Here in the UK, it is unusual to send out a CV containing a photo. However, we live in the age of Google, where if you have even the most mediocre of digital footprints, there is likely to be an image of you online – and it is known that those responsible for recruitment do engage in a little digital investigation of prospective candidates.

This then raises two points. Firstly, is there discrimination, and if so, how do we counteract it; and secondly, come on girls, life is hard enough without us having this sort of crack at each other. However, judging by the reaction to a certain female this week, the civil war in our gender is alive and very well.





3 thoughts on “As subtle as a…

  1. And of course that’s a good legal reason (to go with the good ethical reasons) not to look up candidates on the interwebs – it might give you actual or constructive knowledge of protected characteristics, with an attendant risk of discrimination claims.

  2. As someone who once had 16 ladies working in my department, and who also decided who they were, maybe this lady had a point. My staff were ladies who worked part time 5 days a week, but thankfully all had their feet firmly on the ground and were good workers. There were exceptions though .. If one came in with a new hairdo that definitely meant anything hard or difficult or might ruin her hair was a definite no no. The local doctor was quite an attraction too apparently .. naturally they were allowed doctors appointments, that was never a problem, But coming from the doctors to work in their best attire meant light, clean duties only. Luckily i am ugly, so none of the ladies were ever fighting over me and they were all treated equally as people. Had any one of them ever believed they were better than the others then the whole work relationship would have fallen apart, the whole equal status would have caused bad blood. The very idea that one person could consider herself to be so much better than anyone else is absolutely ridiculous. The sillier idea that everyone would be jealous of that 1 special person is nearer the point farcical. Had I still been an employer and this lady had walked in with the worst attitude problem I have ever seen .. I would NOT have employed her. Not that she would have lowered herself to do the particular job that my staff were doing ! This is not discrimination .. teamwork is essential in any job, anywhere and anything that would disrupt that teamwork cannot be allowed in any workplace !

  3. And this will it ever be …. whilst all the laws in place about discrimination in recruitment and so on are based on the soundest moral and legal principles, the reality, is and always will be somewhat different. If you’re going to check someone out online for their looks, make sure you clear your cache !

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