Stylist: offending my sensibility

I have never intended for this blog to be a platform for me to push my religious, political or social views; it’s simply a place for me to share my experiences and the frivolous fun of my outfits, travel or meals on any particular day. Occasionally, however, something gets me so wound up that I just have to jump on my soap-box and share. Please forgive me for straying from the usual [a bird in the hand] content, but I hope you’ll agree this is a worthy subject.

Wednesday mornings in London are always slightly more fun than other weekday mornings for me, because I get hold of the free, fun, fashion-laden, female-focused Stylist magazine as I walk past my local tube station. I look forward to flipping through the colourful pages, reading interviews with great women such as Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig and enjoying some engaging and intelligent conversations about issues that modern women face.

That was until this week, where I was dumbfounded to read a ‘debate’ titled “Should your looks dictate your pay packet?”, nestled next to an unsubtle plug for a number of overpriced and unnecessary beauty products. I took a double-take and hoped I had misconstrued the title, but alas! I had not. Sentences such as “Women should stop worrying that it is frivolous vanity to spend time on make-up, nice hair and nails, or good clothes that help you stand out from the crowd” and “Everyone finds attractive people to be more congenial colleagues” (dis)graced the pages of this week’s Stylist. My blood is boiling even as I type this, for this is something so close to my heart that I just cannot let it slide.

In a society where females from young girls to grown women are bombarded with images of sexualisation, ‘ideal’ beauty and airbrushed models, we really don’t need any more reason to question our worth or feel like our looks determine our value (emotionally or financially). For any publication to even entertain the option that our looks should determine our success in the workplace is simply unacceptable and, quite frankly, totally offensive. By Stylist’s standards I should be jobless, or be earning minimum wage if I’m lucky…after all, I go to work most days without any make-up on my face and with my hair simply scraped back in a ponytail (shock, horror!). Do I take pride in my appearance? Of course I do! Is that at all relevant to how well I perform at work or what my paycheque looks like? I won’t even dignify that question with an answer. Stylist shouldn’t have, either. By even entering into this antiquated debate, they are suggesting that they are considering the option that looks should dictate our pay packet.

As someone who has spent a lot of time and energy working with young women, trying to instil in them a sense of worth beyond the exterior, this is a disturbing step in the wrong direction and a move that has erased any respect I once had for this magazine. Women, listen up: you are worth more than any price-tag, paycheque or physical quality…your skills and experience are what can and will determine your paycheque, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just plain screwed up.

As I tweeted in a frenzy over this issue today, Stylist first tried to say that they were talking about ‘grooming’ rather than physical attractiveness (whatever. Read the original article here and decide for yourself what they meant), and then told me ‘We would love to see your thoughts on the debate here:‘ – well, Stylist: I’ve told you my thoughts; both where you asked and now on my own blog. And now Stylist, I’d like to hear from you. How could you let this garbage onto the pages of your widely-read magazine and into the minds of millions of possibly-insecure women? Shame on you!

Am I over-reacting? What are your thoughts on Stylist’s latest ‘debate’ topic? Should they be forced to issue an apology to their readers?

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  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for the post, and sharing your frustrations with your readers.
    I agree with your stance, and think its totally absurd. And the fact that stylist put that in their magazine is in poor taste.

  • beks says:

    I read the article, and am glad that so many people found Hakim’s comments as rediculous as I did.

    How can that lady have a book? Or is she trying to get men to buy it so they can put women in their place.
    Unfortunately I work with some ladies who would subscribe to that very ideal, or who would read this article and not question anything about it.

    Anyways, thanks for fighting the good fight.

    beks xx

  • pixi says:

    I whole heartedly agree Loz!
    If i thought my looks determined any sort of contribution i could make to society i would have given up a long time ago and missed out on many blessing in life!
    Thanks for taking a stand and speaking up for all us chicks xx

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