Too pretty for work

Friday, 8 June 2012

Too pretty for workOlivia from BeautyHeaven was inspired to write this opinion piece after hearing a story on her local radio station this week.

‘I have this problem all the time guys, honestly – it sucks. Jokes! Come on, even I’m not that vain – but the truth is, there is an issue with looks in almost all workplaces. And one that’s come to light in particular recently is child-minding.

‘I was listening to Fitzy & Wippa on Nova 96.9 this week, and I was instantly hooked on a story they were discussing. It was about employing nannies and babysitters, and how many women refuse to hire girls who are “too pretty” to work in their homes for fear that their husbands will flirt – or even stray. This means that sometimes, no matter how qualified they might be, seemingly attractive candidates miss out on the gig.

‘Can you blame these women? Some may argue it’s the Jude Law not to hire an attractive nanny. Well, look what happened to his relationship with Sienna Miller?

‘Yep, it was definitely interesting to hear from the nanny-seeking wives in this situation – and even more so to hear from the other side; the potential employees. A “pretty” nanny rang the radio station and disclosed that a potential employer had told her in her third interview that even though she was the most qualified candidate out of the four remaining, she wasn’t going to be offered the job because the woman’s husband had admitted to finding the candidate attractive. Bye bye, job!

‘We have to ask, is this fair? Shouldn’t there be a degree of trust in a marriage, no matter how pretty an employee may be?

‘We look to British Daily Mail columnist Samantha Brick, who in April sparked a backlash across the world by insisting that “other women hate [her] for being beautiful” and that “insecure female bosses have also barred [her] from promotions at work” for this reason. She believes her good looks make her an instant threat in the workplace and in life – claiming her beauty as the reason that none of her girlfriends have asked her to be a bridesmaid at their weddings.

‘Hmm, we’re not so sure if this is the case for Samantha, but when we asked around the office we heard stories of other women working in different industries, including lawyers, bankers and medical staff, who had experienced similar issues. Some women were even deliberately trying to make themselves less attractive so they would be taken more seriously by those they worked with – even if this meant ditching the make-up and clothes they usually wore.

‘Does this blatant sort of beauty discrimination happen in every workplace? Is there such a thing as being too pretty for your job?’

Originally written by Olivia, this article appeared on BeautyHeaven.

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Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.
Megan on Google+

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  1. foreverGLAM

    This is so true. I also make myself less atractive for work in order to appear more “serious”. Its really hard.

    6 years ago •

  1. SpiceY

    Oh yes this is so so so true, even family members and friends that don’t invite you to socials claiming ” u take all the attention from us” —–crazy!!!!!

    6 years ago •

  1. Sam

    This article does ring true for some. I think its discriminatory.

    7 years ago •

  1. Zu

    I think its case to case basis, im a wife myself and i wouldnt hire a seductive nanny or maid. Why would i give them temptation

    7 years ago •

  1. Varsha

    It is a tricky situation as you want to look your best but at the same time non-threatening without seeming to lack self confidence! It is indeed a very precarious balance to maintain. I guess it comes down to your person energy which you project onto the world. One which is non-threatening and inviting as opposed to defensive and standoffish. Many times people do not realize the energy which they send out.. Speak to some close friends about what their first impression of you was..

    7 years ago •

  1. Mpoyi

    It may be true that nanny’s/housekeepers may be turned down because they are too attractive but sattaistics show that in general, you are more likely to get a postion if you are better looking than your fellow applicants – I guess it depends on who’s doing the hiring!

    7 years ago •

  1. Swart

    Why do people always assume that if you are pretty or even if you just like to look after yourself, that you are just another empty head? I mean seriously people should stop judging books by their covers, I love what I do, I look good while doing it and I might even have an IQ tripple yours. GRRR this makes me sooo mad!!

    7 years ago •


    Looks will always count in this life. Most people are not even aware of this , but it still influences their judgement.

    7 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    yes i think that people think that a person either has looks or brains but never both

    7 years ago •

  1. honey_child

    I’t s funny how with the empowerment of women in the workforce some things have still not changed. Yes people judge by looks but really now don’t we know better ?

    7 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    I think this is true, people do base their opinions on how you look.

    7 years ago •

  1. Guccigirl

    In the past the attractive people got the better jobs. With women moving up in the workplace and society being so focused on looks, insecurities are heightened and exactly the opposite is happening now.

    I’ve seen many examples of women being discriminated against because they’re “too pretty”.

    7 years ago •

  1. The Ferosh 1

    Yes although I wear uniform infact an overall to work,I still experience some form of discrimination from my female it does exist,even with friends

    7 years ago •

  1. Debsie

    I applied for a job. Didnt get it. All my friends said its because the wife was jealous. Nonsence I said. It might have been the reason or it might not have been.

    7 years ago •

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