22 February, 2011

Lingerie shop to staff: wear make-up or else.

I still remember the moment when I realised that Virgin's female air crew didn't all co-incidentally choose to wear bright red lipstick and high heels. I was crushed. As if that weren't shocking enough, in 2009 the Bank of England (whom you would expect to have a little more class) issued an edict demanding female employees wear make-up and stilettos. Sadly, this is just another in a long line of such stories.

It has been brought to my attention that at least one branch of a popular lingerie chain, which shall remain nameless to protect the identities of whistle-blowing staff, has instructed its female staff that they must wear "at least" light make-up every day or face disciplinary action.

One staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that she had been criticised for looking "tired" when she arrived at work one day without make-up on, was advised to rectify the "problem" the next day. The same employee also pointed out that the majority of junior staff - who had been given the same advice - are very young women, with many still in their teens. Is it responsible, my informant wondered, to tell young women and girls that their natural appearance is not acceptable, and that they must alter their looks with make-up before they are fit to be seen in public? I'd say that's a no-brainer.

At the moment I do not know if this is a chain-wide policy or merely one shop manager getting a little to big for their boots, either way, it's a sad indictment of our superficial misogynistic society, which only reinforces the idea that a woman's worth is linked intrinsically to har physical appearance. Nameless underwear shop: FAIL.