Okay, so you are smoking hot, and you’ve got it going on. You know it. Everyone else knows it.
So now what?
Do you capitalize on an opportunity and use this to your advantage, or do you not?
What will people think? What will they say? Will you feel as though you truly “earned” your achievements if your good looks helped you get there?
First, let’s look at what this is called. Then, let’s take a look at some differing perspectives and resulting implications of using physical appearance for personal betterment.
Sexual capital, also referred to as erotic capital can be defined as the value incurred by one via their sexual attractiveness or appeal. It is an extension or form of social capital, and can be harvested and used for purposes of acquiring things such as money, jobs, and overall opportunities.
Ideas of erotic capital, and theories thereof rely on a number of assumptions and generalizations about men, women, sex and behaviour, which in turn causes many to undermine, or deny the power of such capital.
However, through the use of persuasive or even manipulative stratagems, attractive women are capable of using their feminine wiles to gain more social power. Attractiveness is often a determinant of popularity, persuasiveness, influence, success, and can be attributed to ability and competence.
Let us face the facts: the beauty premium is real. Beautiful women, who take care of their physical appearance, are, without a doubt in some cases paid more for the same work as their less-attractive counterparts, even in jobs where physical appearance is irrelevant to the job. Not only are attractive women paid more, receive more bonuses and better future opportunities, but, they also have a better chance of landing the opportunity in the first place.
Elements of Sexual Capital:
Erotic capital is a multi-faceted phenomenon, involving many different elements, including but not limited to; beauty, sexual attractiveness, grace, charm, liveliness and sexuality.
Being beautiful, or sexually attractive (although involving temporal variations) is a central tenant to erotic capital. The development of soft-skills, such as the ability to make people like you, is also critically important. Sexuality and liveliness, is measured by way of your physical essence, personality, style and femininity.
Using these to your advantage is all about being skilled at your social presentation, and ultimately manipulating one’s personal preference to suit your needs and get what you want.
Confidence is Radiance:
Being good looking is directly correlated with higher self-esteem, and stronger levels of confidence. Many employers knows this, and their hiring practices reflect it.
Knowing this, it is important to understand that I am not suggesting that this is the only way an attractive women can succeed or transcend in the workforce, but it sure does help. Furthermore I am not suggesting that qualifications, work experience, education, training, or overall human capital is outweighed, or made irrelevant by erotic capital. Erotic capital is an additive.
There is a balance required. A woman who seeks to capitalize on her physical appearance must learn to always convey her capabilities, while exhibiting her sexual capital so as to never have her competence questioned.
Many assume that if an attractive woman has acquired a specific position, most certainly a position of power, influence and/or affluence, that it must have been acquired not through her personal skill set, but rather by way of her physical appearance. It seems as though many assume that because a woman is easy on the eyes, that she is easy in many other aspects and willing to return favours, with favours of another sort.
So does the implementation of sexual capital by an attractive woman, exacerbate this phenomenon?
Advantages of using erotic capital are very apparent. For example, sexual capital is not dependent on class, and as such provides room for upward social mobility. It also has potential to provide access to groups, networks, or relationships that otherwise would have been unlikely.
There are also many disadvantages, both internal and external. Facing the judgment of those who criticize you for using your sexual capital or consistently feeling the need to exemplify your competencies can be overwhelming.
The sexualization of women’s bodies in the workplace, can without a doubt call into question their capabilities. Women are undeniably over sexualized by men, by ways of emphasizing sexuality and suppressing intellectuality in the professional world.
But does this mean that a women must dress without cause, or dull down her appearance in order to gain the respect and admiration of her male counterparts? Well, I would hope not.
Some feminists argue that presenting yourself sexually, is connected to the physical act of sex. Some further contend that to capitalize on sexuality, requires some form of selling out of sexual self-respect. Or that a woman who utilizes sexual capital contributes to the digression of women’s bodies in the workplace.
The important balance to locate here, is the ability to capitalize on your sex appeal, while not communicating to your audience that you also capitalize on your sexual competence.
News Flash: You can be sexy, without being easy.
What’s more, is for fellow women to be suggesting that this isn’t possible is what should actually be considered offensive. Those form of thoughts are digressing woman’s sexuality in the workplace, not another woman’s personal choice to wear a tight fitting, curve hugging skirt to the office. Sexual harassment begins and ends with the harasser, a woman’s choice to wear a lower-cut top, isn’t by default a choice to be disrespected.
Bottom line, all women should feel comfortable enough in wearing that skirt, or shirt, while knowing that it doesn’t make her appear any less capable than she would appear to be in a pant-suit.
Erotic Capital as a Performance:
Think of your erotic capital as an act, because largely that is what it is. Like a peacock spreading his feathers, our sexuality is a performance.
Like any act in theatre, this performance requires skill. A certain skill set that must be curated and nurtured in order to be successful. This skill set becomes an asset, that if you wish to invest in, you should.
Flirt girl, flirt.
Use the smell of your perfume, the way you smile, and shape of your silhouette to manipulate your audience. To get to the top, you must think outside the box!
Don’t Get it Twisted:
So before everyone gets all riled up, and starts to think I am promoting women to sell themselves out for that next promotion. Let’s just relax. Feminists, take a breath. I am not by any means suggesting that intellectual capacity be thrown out the window in favour of looking good. I am not objectifying my fellow professional women.
Being an attractive, educated, young-woman in today’s world is hard. This is fact.
I am suggesting a method that can, if used properly, accelerate women’s upward mobility in the workplace. If you got the promotion because of your good looks and not your experience, then use that as an opportunity to make those who promoted you feel embarrassed. Show them your capacity far surpasses your appearance, and make them think twice about their own messed up morale.
If someone thinks because you dress nice, have charm, and know how to flirt, that your head is full of air, then that is a problem with them, not you!
Use it or Lose it:
We live in a society that revolves around opportunity. Getting an opportunity, developing an opportunity and keeping it should be a top priority. Your physical appearance should be considered an investment. If you want success, you better look like you want success.
You are your own brand and your presentation is your image. So as such, we must always remain aware of the unspoken messages being communicated by our visuals. And if we can control these messages, then why wouldn’t we?
All women potentially can posses, develop, or exploit their erotic capital. The unfortunate reality is, sexual attractiveness is a depreciating asset, so my advice is: use it while you have it. This is a highly contestable statement, which many may not agree with. However, I fully support being an opportunist.
Don’t ever be shamed into reducing yourself as result of the fear of the opinions of others.