Should women use sex appeal to get ahead at work?

30 Aug

Do you use your charms to get ahead at work? (pic credit: Istockphoto)

Does dressing sexily take women further in their careers? Does flaunting the flesh and flirting with the influential men guarantee you riches and promotions? Is your sex appeal the key to power?

It is according to the new book by LSE academic Catherine Hakim, Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital. The sociologist says that those who have ‘erotic capital’ – defined as having beauty, social skills, good dress sense, liveliness, sex appeal and sexual competence – should invest it in their careers and will receive a great return.

She says more attractive people can earn 12% more than their plainer sisters. She outlines in a Daily Mail article how to learn to be sexier – and how attractiveness has an equal effect to education on your income.

It has been fascinating watching the debate unfold over the publication of Dr Hakim’s book. Here are some of my favourites:

My views on erotic capital? I’ve always believed in the old adage that ‘two drops of honey attract more bees than two litres of vinegar’. In other words, being charming will get you further than being frosty, acidic or rude. As will being well groomed and impeccably dressed (yes, with heels and lipstick) – but not being in any way blatant or cheap. For me, professionalism brings its own charisma – and I think that, at a certain level, it’s important to be listened to and respected as a person who is brilliant at my job rather than be gawped at for being a woman.

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