I was put off by the column "Perilous Years For Girls" in volume 87 number 17 of The Weekly. I am a Women's Studies major and have enjoyed hearing many well-developed, thoughtful, and interesting ideas about feminism and the female experience in this culture from my peers at Mills, even if I don't always agree with them. This was not the case with Elizabeth Clayton's writing. Ms. Clayton's opinions were not well developed and were far from consistent with the critical thinking and writing skills emphasized and usually utilized at Mills.
The author ultimately makes the point that feminists shouldn't be so resistant to being judged on how they look. She argues that looks are "one of our major bargaining chips" as women and that we should take advantage of it. If we are not already attractive she advises us to "get a great haircut" or make use of the free personal shopper service at Macy's. I can point out what is wrong with this until my thesis is due in a month and a half but I'm sure can get my point across by simply answering the questions asked in the article.
"Think about it-if you're interviewing two candidates for a job, both have the exact same qualifications, can you honestly say that you're not going to be biased towards the one who looks more put together?"
Yes. I would not be biased toward a candidate based on her appearance. If two candidates had the exact same qualifications I would base my decision on who was friendlier, more cooperative,more motivated, who seemed more excited about the job or a thousand other not so shallow factors.
"Is it really offensive to have some guy buy you a drink Or open a door Or hand you a business card?"
If he is doing so just because he sees me as something to fuck, then yes, it's offensive. If he does it because he wants to make conversation over a nice drink, or because my arms are full of paperwork and opening the door myself would be inconvenient, or because his business might be of use to me, then, no it's not offensive.
"Is taking away one of our major bargaining chips really what we want to do?"
Yes. I don't want my looks to be one of the most valuable things about me. In a world where it's impossible to not make any assumptions about people based on their appearances, I'd prefer my looks to be a minor bargaining chip if it has to be one at all.
Editor, please ask this writer to reconsider her ideas or at least develop them more eloquently before The Weekly prints any more of her opinions on feminism.