The trouble with spending far too long talking online to people you've never met and reading too much into everything is that you often fly off the handle at any opportunity, or encounter some mind-numbingly stupid people. In my case, today brought me both.
Earlier, a friend of mine posted an inflammatory status asking whether it was acceptable to hire people based on their looks. Y'know, that little thing we like to call positive discrimination, beauty over brains, belittling, demeaning. Not illegal, but generally considered a bad thing, right? If the woman in the interview next to you had a better rack, the man next to you a more chiselled jaw, and he or she got the job, even though you were better qualified, you'd be pissed off, right?
Not so the people who responded, all of whom felt it was preferable to have 'a hot man' working in their office. Of course, they were all women. And they clearly hadn't thought about what they just said, because when questioned whether they felt it was acceptable for them to be hired based on their looks, the response was 'I'm bored now'. No doubt they are bored of women being all boringly feminist when they are happy just to perv over the guy at the next desk. With a few characters, they have potentially justified themselves out of a job, placing their future in the hands of a boss whose decision to fire them if they aren't attractive will be deemed acceptable by their own logic.
Though there is some stock to be put in hiring the more attractive. They have generally been favoured throughout their youth and are likely to be more sociable and personable, not having had to form a strong outer shell against the inevitable bullying if they are deemed ugly. As the diplomatic individual pointed out, society will gravitate towards a more attractive individual and whatever brand, business or office they associate themselves with. I'm not stupid, I know the science.
'You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.'
But light-hearted or not, the attitude worried me. Because I'm not stupid. I know that whether we like it or not, society judges what it can see first, as it has done since the dawn of time. Where previously, a good-looking girl was fawned over by doting parents keen to marry her off, now those good looks are being fawned over by prospective employers. We've just moved a fiercely competitive gene pool from the marriage arena to the work arena. A girl cannot be pretty AND smart - she favours one or the other. Or so these girls would have me believe.
One diplomatically pointed out that in some cases, it's in the best interests of the employer's clients to hire an attractive candidate. Two words came to mind when that reared its head - 'pimp' and 'prostitute'. Only in industries based solely on looks should looks come before ability, regardless of sex.
Because the worrying thing about the attitude of the women I witnessed was the fact that it's demeaning to both sexes. Sure, men have been sizing up women as breeding machines for hundreds of years, but it would seem any efforts to beat them have largely descended into joining them, each sex sizing each other up like animals.
Celebrated celebrator of this mindset, Sarah Burge, commonly known by the tabloids as 'The Human Barbie', has caused controversy by giving her 7-year-old daughter Poppy a voucher for plastic surgery, for use when Poppy is of age. When questioned about her ridiculous decision, Burge reasoned that she felt that investing in Poppy's looks was just as important as her education, both being investments in her future. If the women I encountered earlier are right, and Poppy's entire career progression is going to be determined by her looks, maybe Burge is doing the smart thing. Let's just hope, shall we, that Poppy's future employer is a man.