Go ahead, be sexy at work. Be flirtatious. It may seem like it sets feminism back 1,000 years to say it, but the fact is, in a male-dominated industry, one of the smartest things a woman can do is use her feminine wiles to rise to the top.
In an all-female office from which I work 99.9 percent remotely, this isn't really something that applies to me, but at certain points in my career, it did. And I always found that things were much happier and more harmonious when the males and females interacted in somewhat flirtatious (but still professional) ways.
Daily Mail writer Samantha Brick admits she uses her sex appeal in business to get ahead. The strategy has served her well. She says:
I discovered early on there is no such thing as a free lunch. It is a transaction between you and the man you are dining with. The food is irrelevant. Conversation, flattery, where you’re seated, who your fellow diners are, and, tellingly, who you’re introduced to are what’s important. In return, the man gets to sit with an attractive woman, who makes him feel good about himself. Such conversations are never restricted to a restaurant; on transatlantic flights, in an elevator, even at a Pilates class -- you grab every opportunity to trade on your erotic capital in order to benefit your own lot in life.
Sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim wrote a new book about using "erotic capital" to get ahead at work. The book, called Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, is very controversial as it suggests that knowing how to use sexuality is every bit as important career-wise as one's resume, education, and intelligence. It makes a lot of sense.
Now, obviously, no one is advocating for wearing low cut blouses, skipping college, and calling that a career move. All of these things need to happen in unison. Additionally, no one would suggest that sexual harassment -- bosses forcing underlings to sleep with them -- is acceptable either. But harmless flirtation and flattery is the way men and women relate to one another.
We aren't the same, we're gloriously different, so why not celebrate that?
Flirtation is what makes people thrive and tick. It's what makes a dull workplace fun and it's how the sexes relate to one another. It isn't about sex or actually sleeping one's way to the top. It's about using charm to rise in an industry. Why not? If I worked with men, I would employ this tactic and I would feel completely right in doing so. Erotic capital shouldn't be dismissed.
Do you think "erotic capital" is useful?
Image via Banalities/Flickr