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Women’s News: Can Beauty Hurt Women At Work?


Published: November 29, 2013

Does it really pay to be beautiful? Unless you’re a model, perhaps not.

Last week, Col. Lynette Arnhart expressed her distaste for a photo of Cpl. Kristine Tejada of the First Cavalry Division that ran in the November issue of Association of the United States Army magazine, according to a leaked email exchange picked up by the website Politico. The picture, which accompanied an article about a program to encourage greater gender parity in combat roles, depicted Corporal Tejada on security detail in Iraq while wearing carefully applied eyeliner and lip gloss.

Colonel Arnhart, who was leading a team of analysts studying the integration of women in combat, wrote that “such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty).”

She added, “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.”

By Friday, Colonel Arnhart had been reassigned, but her opinion had already ignited the Internet. On Jezebel, one commenter compared it to a surgeon showing up “in a micromini, stilettos and halter top,” adding, “you can’t tell me that wouldn’t raise your eyebrows and make you question your choice of surgeon at least a little.”

Chloe Angyal, a senior editor at, thinks the controversy exposes a double bind in society. “You have to be beautiful to matter, but beauty can and will be used against you,” she said.

The question of whether women can be too attractive for their jobs has come up several other times recently. Over the summer, Olivia Sprauer, a high school teacher in Florida, was forced to resign after photos of her posing in a bikini were found by her principal.

And last week, The New York Post reported that a yoga teacher, Dilek Edwards, filed court papers over her dismissal from a chiropractic clinic. Charles Nicolai, the owner of the clinic with his wife, Stephanie Adams, had told Ms. Edwards that his wife might become jealous of her on account of being “too cute.” (Ms. Adams denied the allegations.)

“This takes ‘she was asking for it’ to a whole new level,” Ms. Angyal said, adding: “  ‘What is she doing walking around with a face like that?’ Perhaps we shouldn’t let men run businesses and have the nuclear launch code if you can’t handle someone who has a pretty smile and nice breasts.”

After James Knight, a dentist in Iowa, fired his assistant Melissa Nelson because he found her “irresistible” and a possible threat to his marriage, according to reports, her subsequent suit made it to the state’s all-male Supreme Court. Over the summer, the justices affirmed that Mr. Knight was within his rights, writing in their opinion that “close personal relationships between men and woman can often produce personal emotions and conduct that are unfamiliar to the workplace relationship.”

Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College and author of “Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection,” finds these cases “absurd, full stop.”

“It’s insane that in 2013 the fact of women’s appearances is having this much weight in the workplace,” Ms. Spar said. “As long as people are generally adhering to the norms of the workplace, the fact that they wear more or less makeup or slightly shorter clothes is their personal decision.”

Jack Tuckner, a civil rights lawyer in Manhattan’s financial district who represented Debrahlee Lorenzana when she sued Citibank a few years ago for firing her for being too attractive, said, “It’s quite Victorian, this idea of ‘Let’s run this woman out of town on a rail before our own desires get the better of us.’ ”

But Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the author of “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor,” is more pragmatic: “Many powerful senior men feel nervous about having a female protégé out of fear there will be assumptions about an affair.”

Her advice? “Meet the wife.”

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My Friend: Eula M. Guest


Investing In You  

Investing in your time and learning how to manage your time is a way to invest in your mental health and save your sanity.  As a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, coach, mentor, employer, entrepreneur, Sister Friend and grandmother, my plate is very full.  I wear many hats and sometimes I forget which hat I am wearing at any given time. The lines can get very blurred when you are so busy.  Finding time to keep schedules during the week and getting my deadlines done is almost close to impossible.  I had to learn how to set priorities.  I had to learn how to delegate duties to others and to manage some ME time.  I found some techniques to keep me sane in this fast paced world.  Here are some techniques that have helped me stay focused on what is important and stay organized.


  • Invest in taking the time to plan out your week and your schedule ahead of time including space for unforeseen occurrences to happen.  If you have that three hours window set aside each week you can get those last minute things done that you weren’t expecting to have to do during that day or week.
  • Invest in a crock pot if you don’t get a chance to cook during the week. A crock pot can save you money and help you lose weight. Your meals will be ready, and you can eat a home cooked meal.
  • Invest in taking one day per week to make several meals that you can cook and freeze.  I find for myself, Sunday is the day I try to cook a few meals that can last for the week.  Quick things like a couple of pasta dishes, where all you would have to do is add a vegetable and a salad, can have a home cooked meal ready in minutes.
  • Calendars. I have one in every room in my home including my bathroom. It helps keep me organized and when I forget that I have a meeting it is looking me right in my face. Also use your mobile device to remind you of important events.  I set reminders all the time. The number one rule is to remember to put the information on your mobile device (one thing that I am guilty of forgetting.)
  • Take a ME day. Once per month I plan a day off where I go to the movies, a day spa, go shopping, get a manicure and pedicure; it is my day to do whatever I want, and it helps me regenerate myself and give me that alone time that I need for myself.  Don’t plan anything else but taking care of yourself. If you plan it in between meetings and doing chores then, it is not a ME day. You can do your household chores and errands on another day.
  • Invest in asking for help and make sure that you get help that will make your life easier. If you have to watch over someone or check over their work, then that is not really helping you.
  • Invest in an exercise class, yoga, dance class, painting, arts, or something fun that can help you relax.
  • Last but not least turn off those devices after a certain time at night to spend quality time with your family.  Invest in your family time and make it the number one priority.  Everyone should turn those devices off.  This means the TV, radio, cell, Game Boy, Play Station, and put the land line answering machine on.  Learn to UNPLUG and Plug into your family and invest in yourself.


A Message From Kim


Negative energy from toxic people will affect your energy level, not to mention the stress and anxiety that it creates.

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