I was driving to work yesterday and NPR was on and they were talking about Debrahlee, who apparently got fired for being too good looking. She was so good looking that she distracted the men she was working with. No details were reported in this story and it was on the radio, so of course, I couldn’t see a picture. So I was all up on the high horse of my youth, back in the days of the 60s/70s feminst movement. “How can they do that?” I was thinking. Just because a woman is ultra good looking doesn’t mean she is stupid. I would’ve put my fist in the air but it’s not all that easy to do that when you are driving a stick shift in stop-and-go traffic.
I am a baggy old kayak woman these days. I have birthed two children. It’s hard to be morbidly obese if you are as active as I am but I am not as thin as I was in my 20s and my once rather brilliant blonde hair is heavily laced with gray. Once upon a time, I was young and thin and blonde and able to convince at least some of those others, you know, those others who are not girls, that I was kind of good looking. Unfortunately, that kind of made it hard for me to be taken serious at work. Except that I got to be pretty darn good at my job and eventually people learned that I was one of the go-to folks for solving problems. Who cared what I looked like?
At the job I have now, everybody I work with is like me. We are old and baggy but our eyes sparkle with intelligence and creativity (er, at least my co-workers’ do, not sure about mine). We don’t look like Debrahlee and we don’t care that much what we look like, er, except that we don’t want to look like we wear the same outfit to work every day, even though we sometimes do. The thing is that I don’t think this Debrahlee person is any prettier than any other young woman. The one “business suit” I have seen her in is pretty staid in my no-so-humble opinion and I’m not sure why her lawyer (?) thinks it’s good to show photos of her in low-cut blouses on the internet. She’s pretty but she’s not particularly spectacular and I will just about bet dollars that she was fired more for incompetence and/or a bad attitude than for her looks.
I don’t know why she was fired but what bothers me the most about this is that this kind of crap continues to make it hard for young women who happen to be good looking, whether they try to be or not, to be taken seriously in the job market. When a young woman is counseled by an somewhat older woman that wearing a little makeup and a pushup bra (what the hell is a pushup bra anyway?) would help her get a job, well, how far have we come from back in the 70s or whenever? Can you do/learn the job or not? Will you show up at work with a positive, can-do attitude or not? If none of the above, then give your job to someone who will do those things and go sit around watching soap operas or whatever. (Are there still soap operas now?)
It is late and this is a messy writing job but it’s my blahg and I can do what I want to. This morning, I was driving to work and NPR was on and they were previewing a BBC story about a guy who was dead for 15 whole minutes. He talked about his last thought and breath and… then I got to work and they weren’t going to do the whole story until later in the hour and so reluctantly I shut off the radio and went into work. Alas. I am curious about that kind of stuff and I think it would’ve been a better story than the Debrahlee crap.