How would you feel if your manager asked you whether you had make-up with you whilst at work? More to the point, how would you feel if your manager ‘heavily suggested’ that you should be wearing make-up in order to make sure you’re giving your best impression when the area manager comes in?
I had no idea that in 2018 this would even be a thing and yet it is a story that seems to be happening a lot when you really look into it. In fact it is something that happened to a friend just last week.
Thankfully this didn’t happen to me – not that I am anti-makeup per se but more make-up and I have just never really understood each other! For me it is something I’ll put on if I’m going out for an evening and a very small amount at that, but day to day I really would just rather spend the extra time in bed! However a lot of my friends do choose to wear makeup all the time and for them its part of their daily routine! Horses for courses and all that, but what’s important here is that for everyone involved it is a choice.
However for my friend in question, she was told that she was required to wear make-up at work. She was briefly told (before it was majorly backtracked) that it was company policy that she must wear make-up. She was made to feel that presenting herself in the amazing way that she does (sans makeup) wasn’t enough if she wanted to make the best impression. Despite hitting all sales targets since she started, passing probation with flying colours and being an all-round dream employee, she was still made to feel that she wasn’t enough without make-up on.
To be honest, I just can’t get over it – yes its not my battle to have in this particular case, and I’m not going to name and shame the high street fashion company here for the sake of my friend but in this day and age, for anybody to make someone feel that they are not enough without cosmetic enhancements is just not ok. Raising two daughters now, I want to make sure that they know that they are beautiful inside and out, with makeup or without. We talk a lot on social media about having each other’s backs, raising women up; we’ve seen talks of #MeToo and #TimesUp, gosh even #EverydaySexism is a trending hashtag on a lot of platforms. And its great that there is an awareness now – but its terrifying that this is even still a conversation.
This manager may have just been having an off-day where she didn’t choose her words wisely, but her intent was clear. In order to sell products, you have to look and be a certain way. And that being in the specific clothes, showered and looking presentable (AND DOING A CRACKING JOB!!!!) isn’t enough if there is no make-up involved. I’m a realist – I know that for some people this really does matter and I guess if that’s their opinion, who am I to judge? But what I do know is that this manager wouldn’t have expected a male member of staff to put on make-up, so why on Earth should a woman have to? If we want to be treated equally as women then we have to put ourselves on an equal footing. If she wouldn’t ask a man, she shouldn’t ask a woman. Plain and simple.