4min readLifestyle 12 October 2019
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success is directly linked to women's appearances, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."
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5 Min Read
I recently traveled to Paris to attend the International Master Course on Aging Science (IMCAS) and met with some incredible doctors from around the world to learn the latest trends in aesthetic medicine— the field of improving cosmetic appearance through medical procedures. My practice in Los Angeles serves a truly diverse and international clientele, and these conferences are a great way for me bring the latest global procedures and products back home for my patients.
Here are my three biggest global beauty takeaways from the trip! Face threads are an increasingly popular procedure to quickly and efficiently rejuvenate your look, and they can be easily tailored to your needs. The V-shape jawline contour is big in South Korea, if you're looking for something more transformative. Whereas women in Paris are embracing the art of aging naturally while still looking flawless with the help of minimally invasive threads.
Another big trend in global beauty is the process of utilizing radiofrequency therapy to heat the skin in order to reduce lines and loose skin. This incredibly advanced technology is now being used all over the body, especially on the face and vagina.
Finally, this may not be a specific global beauty trend, but the gender dynamics of beauty are majorly shifting in terms of both providers and patients. More women are entering aesthetics as providers and more men are utilizing aesthetics as patients. Italy has a quickly growing population of male patients, and in Brazil the gender breakdown is already 50/50!
Those were my major global beauty lessons from this trip, but I also spoke with several doctors directly about how their practices are shifting with the times. Here are some of the amazing doctors from all over the globe that I had the pleasure of meeting with in Paris, as well the latest products and therapies they recommend! The world of beauty is shifting, and we're going right to the source.
Dr. Bernard Peyronnet is a dermatologic surgeon whose patients include French celebrities and international royalty. He's based in the heart of Paris, working out of a gorgeous office that doubles as his home. Dr. Peyronnet revolutionized aesthetics by introducing the noninvasive chemical peel. He also loves adding subtle threads to a woman's face or body to create natural-looking improvements in contour, texture, or lift. French women never want to look like they've had work done. He calls his method the "French touch," which results in flawless results that keep everyone guessing.
As you can see, there have been some truly amazing global beauty advances in the field of aesthetic medicine, with doctors around the world continuing to innovate and refine their offerings. My time in Paris was so informative and inspiring, and I cannot wait to pass some of that knowledge on to my patients (and you!). If you would like to learn more about how the newest trends in aesthetics can help you achieve your desired look, please contact my office at doctorrahi.com to book a consultation!