Oh! those appearances that count

Not those wretched appearances again?

Well yes. But as this is basically just another feminist post, those of you who are disinterested in such wicked subversive thinking, now know to skip it.

I was busily surfing away, to see what the latest tips were on going for job interviews and presenting oneself, to be hit with some seriously horrific recommendations.

One site I found was a few years old (ie three or four). But still, that is recent enough.

It was about the airline industry and applying to be a whatever-they-are-called these days employees. The ones who serve food and drinks, try and flog you stuff at the airline’s inflated prices and show you what to do with a safety jacket.

In the event of a disaster they are meant to switch from being a food server in a sloping restaurant and a salesperson, to a superperson who can rescue everyone, or at least tell you how to rescue yourself.

Well, holy shit! Naturally for this multi-purpose person, the most important thing for a woman to be selected for the job is that she should be wearing nail polish at her interview.

Right. I’ll know that if you aren’t wearing nail polish the next time I fly, that you are one dubious cabin attendant/flight attendant/stewardess/waitress/salesperson. Perhaps you might be useful though in case of emergency.

Everyone expects people in the serving industry to look smart and preferably not drop their hair in your food (that one would rule me out straightaway, far too much long hair). But really, do they still have to be wearing heels, skirts, tights, make-up, nail polish, immaculate hair do, blah blah….

Surely all we want on an aeroplane (assuming we travel on those, which I don’t) is someone clean, efficient, tidy – and in the case of any problems – extremely alert and knowledgeable. Not a Barbie doll.

Onto the next site I found. It was about preparing American interns – whatever they are – for interviews. Something to do with Bill Clinton is the limit of my knowledge about interns.

Pantsuits (uh??!!) I think that means trousers, are not recommended for a first interview for women. [Trousers/pants are possibly acceptable later once you have proved you have decent legs at the minimum.] Skirt and jacket, or dress and jacket are the required gear for the first interview.

And why, might I ask does wearing a skirt make your brain function any better at work? What sort of interview is this? One with Sharon Stone?

Perhaps, on those grounds, it would be appropriate to ask men to turn up in skirts too? Not a problem for Scottish men who could wear their wonderful kilts. With nothing underneath.

But at the second interview, the restrictions could be relaxed and the men too could wear the trousers. Once we have seen their legs, and….

I have long, slim legs just for the record. But why should I display them if I choose not to? Why should I shave them? Why wear tights? Male readers out there, you try going to work every fucking day in a pair of tights, a skirt, and stupid high heels – because that will seriously make you work much better, won’t it? And when you have found it doesn’t, stop prescribing what women should wear.

I think we could learn a lot from our Indian colleagues. Love their leggings and tunics/saris, suits everyone.

I know appearances matter, and that everyone is judged on first impression, and how they look, and all the rest of it. I spent years telling men what colour shirt and tie to wear so their image was appropriate to the message they were giving on television or at a press conference. I didn’t tell women not to wear trousers. And that’s the difference. I didn’t usually need to tell the women what to wear, they had grown up with a lifetime of being judged on their appearance.

“Beauty is youth, youth beauty” — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

(with apologies to Mr Keats for that one).

Meanwhile, moving swiftly onto books, although not off topic in terms of victimising women.

Why are all the so-called ‘popular’ easy-read novels full of abuse against women? I get given books to read and just despair at the amount of violence – sexual abuse, rape, forcible drug addiction, power games and physical violence, almost forgot – murder, that are in these books.

What a sick society we live in, that a) people buy these books and b) people write them and make money out of them.

Oh – what do I do with those ‘sick books’? No, I don’t recycle them at all. I censor them and chuck them in the bin, which is exactly where they belong because all they do is continue to stereotype women as objects and fuel people’s whacky fantasies.

Even reading Mills and Boon where woman meets man, falls out, falls in love and lives happily ever after is better than sick and depraved so-called novels.

Discrimination against women really does still exist. Honestly. Even in our civilised office-bound western societies. Although no-one wants to believe that.

1) Why should women be expected to dress differently to men, or spend hours going through some crass ‘beauty’ regime to fit in with patriarchal and societal requirements to prove they can do a job? If short fat ugly old men can land good jobs – the same should apply to women.

2) There are more women victims in modern-day books (they are not novels) than there are men. Now, why is that I wonder?

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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20 Responses to Oh! those appearances that count

  1. Blu says:

    God forbid that I ever comment on fashion, but here goes anyway.

    I’ve always thought men have it much easier in this respect. 3 or 4 decent suits together with a selection of decent shirts and one is most of the way there both for work and more formal socialising.

    I was once told off by an HR Manager for wearing stripey shirts all the time, and no I don’t mean the same stripey shirt, I had quite a varied collection at the time. I had no idea why she thought it was any of her business what I wore so long as I looked smart, something I quickly communicated to her boss in the USA.

    However, I never wore a stripey shirt to work again.


    • Always appreciate your incisive comments whatever they are about, even if you do have to lower yourself to fashion 😀

      Stripey shirts must have been an 80s/90s thing, Partner had loads at the time, very nice and most discrete I thought. But fashions do change, even for men. And he has few left (one or two?) of his rather nice collection. We (ie he) never did get into the lilac, pink, lemon yellow phase of shirts and ties 😦 I really don’t see what is wrong with white (which suits for funerals), cream, grey, light blue, or slightly darker shades of those. No more colours though. I won’t even get into the tie and peacock syndrome!

      It depends on where you are going, what you are going to be doing there, impression to be created and all that crap, which you will know anyway. I just think the plainer the better these days (says the former designer-clad suited woman…).


      • Blu says:

        This was mid 90s. Shirts were red, blue or green stripes of varying width. I never went through the phase of striped shirts with white collars though, thought they looked silly. The company culture was very different to most at the time, it was written up in Forbes Magazine once, as especially in the US office, most staff, including CEO, CFO etc wore TShirts, shorts and sandals with no socks. Mid 90s remember.

        So, in protest, unless I knew I was having a customer meeting, it was tshirt and jeans for me from then on. Did keep a new white shirt and plain dark blue trousers and black shoes on the premises just in case, but hardly ever used them. After one meeting, when I hadn’t had the chance to change, the feedback was “you’re teccie was brilliant”.


        • Think partner had a shirt that had red, green and blue stripes all in one, very thin though and rather nice, may still have it. There is one in the wardrobe here with thin blue stripes that is very nice too. I still like them. He did have one that was grey with white stripes and white collar that was nice at the time, but you are right, they looked silly later.

          Interesting example though of being brilliant when you looked ‘different’ – were you not called brilliant wearing a tie and shirt though? 😀


          • Blu says:

            Can’t say I was often accused of being brilliant. The context of the story was that the customer thought I’d explained stuff so well I should have been the head of business development.!! (which of course I was).

            We also had business cards without job titles, so people wouldn’t make value judgements before meetings based on perceptions of job titles.


          • Missed that. I used to try and avoid business cards or title, but realised people were so stupid I might as well buy into their prejudices. Could only fight that one so long. Assistant Director worked well. It was stupid not to use it.


  2. A real concern is how early girls are groomed to accept these roles. Toddler beauty pageants? What about all the airbrushing photos of already excessively thin pre-teen models? Watch the Nightline episode(available in square to right or article) about on 8th grader’s protest about Seventeen magazine and hear what the “average” teen girls say.
    Serious issue –


  3. In my first job there was a very strict dress code and women were not allowed to wear trousers (seems bizarre now doesn’t it?). Then a Indian girl was appointed to a job in the rates department and turned up to work in sari and pants and all the women went ballistic! It only took a few days before it was agreed that in future they could wear trouser suits! A decision that opened thef ashion floodgates!


  4. Vicky says:

    I’ve been extremely lucky in work attire, It’s either been personal choice, or for the jobs where a uniform was required, it was unisex. To the extent that at one photographic shop I worked at the dress code was, white shirt and tie, with a choice of skirt or trousers, I never did see any of the men in skirts though.


    • LOL – you were on a roll last night with the witty comments 😀

      But seriously, for women to have to dress differently – and wear make-up and paint their nails and wear stupid high heels is just ridiculous. If they choose to do that, then apart from the fact they need a brain transplant, that is their right and their choice – but not someone else’s to make for them.


  5. EllaDee says:

    Hah! Love this post, the appearance aspect anyway. From my early 80’s career I have the story of a female local council clerk who was “spoken to” by the Shire Clerk for inadvertantly displaying her bra strap, shock horror, and new female staff were forever after warned not to let this happen… I had a job as a local marketing rep for a well known encyclopaedia company (back in the late 80’s before the internet wiped their kind out). We were well warned before the arrival of the US marketing manager that she would not tolerate women wearing trousers (my usual apparel) in the office. I was going to quit anyway, but this sped things up and she didn’t get the opportunity to scrutinise my wardrobe. I moved happily to another company who only cared about my work performance. On the second part, I’m glad you raised it as I am unable to read or watch anything with violence against women, as it makes me feel physically ill, and can only just cope with viewing any type of TV/film violence at all. I try to not support the genre but if something crops up, being shortsighted is a wonderful thing as I just whip my glasses off & can’t see a thing.


    • Don’t these stories – the real life ones about work clothing – make you want to vomit though? Ante-diluvian is not the word. No bra straps allowed to show makes you want to come in the next day in a see through shirt and no bra.

      Since my eyesight deteriorated to the point where my contact lenses would no longer allow me to see close-up, I have come to appreciate the value of glasses again. When everyone else puts on their glasses to read the small print, I just take mine off. There have to be some advantages to being short-sighted 😀


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