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Should Women use Their Sexuality to Get Ahead?

Posted: 01/09/11 01:00

A new book claims women should exploit their sexuality to get ahead in life. In these times of so-called equality it's disappointing beyond belief to see that the advice being given to our workforces' young women is to get their flirt on.

The controversial book, Honey Money, is written by Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, and promotes the idea of 'erotic capital'.
In the same week that Forbes published a list of the world's most powerful women, Hakim argues that females can get ahead by using their sexuality, because of a 'universal male sex deficit' based on the idea that 'men generally want a lot more sex than they get, at all ages.'

Basically, men are gagging for it, because most of their wives and girlfriends don't want as much nookie as they do, therefore us clever women should use our feminine wiles to win over theses sex-starved males and get a promotion. Nice.

Yes, there will always be some men and women who use beauty rather than brains to get ahead. But the idea that all women should resort to using their sex appeal to do well does a disservice to the women who use the traditional traits of hard work and dedication to achieve success. And the idea that all men think with their pants and can so blatantly be won over by women in this way is, frankly, depressing.

Forbes' list of powerful women consists of politicians, CEOs, bankers, cultural icons, billionaires and entrepreneurs -but how many of them have used 'erotic capital' to get where they are?
Did the likes of Angela Merkel, Indra Nooyi, Sonia Gandhi and Christine Lagarde use their sex appeal to become leaders in politics and business? Of course not. Would we even be asking the question if the list was of the world's most powerful men?

Hakim argues that 'physical and social attractiveness deliver substantial benefits in all social interaction - making a person more persuasive, able to secure the co-operation of colleagues, attract customers and sell products.' If that really is the case, how does one account for the success of the likes of the less than aesthetically pleasing Alan Sugar?

Yes, there are arenas where attractive women get ahead, and the less attractive are passed over - the entertainment industry being the most obvious. Women of a certain age are still underrepresented on British TV in favour of their younger, more beautiful counterparts, whilst less attractive, older men continue to be employed.

But does that mean women should be exploiting this to get ahead? Surely we should be working to change the outdated view that women must be pretty to be successful? Hakim's argument merely reinforces it.

There is a disparity in how successful men and women are in the boardroom and beyond, and this is something that needs to be addressed. But teaching women that they need to use sex to be successful is not the way to do it.

 

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