The Grooming Gap: What “Looking the Part” Costs Women

Madison, who works a customer service job at an airport spa, has an employee handbook that says “makeup should be well maintained” and “hands and nails must be well manicured.” She says the few men she works with just ignore these guidelines “because they’re meant for women but [it] doesn’t explicitly say that.” Her wages ($13.25 per hour + 15% retail commission) do not include additional pay to purchase manicures or makeup.

…The grooming gap refers to the set of social norms regarding grooming and appearance for women, including the time women workers must spend to conform to these norms and the material consequences it has on their lives.

We’ve all heard the common advice to “look the part” at work. For men, that can often just mean business casual clothing and a short haircut. For women, it can mean hours spent each week on makeup, hair styling and curating an outfit that’s both attractive and professional.

…Physically attractive workers have higher incomes than average-looking workers, but that this relationship is eliminated when controlling for grooming in women. In other words, if you purchase the right clothes, makeup and haircut, higher wages are more within reach. It’s true that men need to abide by certain grooming rules, too, but they are less complex, less expensive and less time consuming.

…Studies confirm that, 42% of the time, products marketed to women are more expensive than comparable products targeted to men.

The grooming gap also results in a loss of free time: 55 minutes each day for the average woman, the equivalent of two full weeks each year.

The Grooming Gap: What “Looking the Part” Costs Women – In These Times


The real cost of not wearing makeup at the office

While I rarely stray above the limit that I set for myself, I wanted to know if I was spending an appropriate amount on personal grooming for my income level. I also wanted to know if I was spending it on the right things.

Yet when I consulted personal finance websites and publications, many seemed to wave off these expenses as “nonessentials,” failing to consider the penalty that many women would pay by reducing (or cutting out) these expenses. Beauty blogs and women’s magazines—on the other hand—were helpful in suggesting cheaper alternatives, yet they also published beauty routines that seem unaffordable.

…While a male founder can pitch his expensive enterprise software start-up in jeans and T-shirt, “When it comes to women, we have to look the part of the market that we’re serving. If we’re selling designer bags, we have to be wearing designer everything,” Wrigley explains. 

…For Wrigley, the grooming expectation for a female CEO goes beyond raising capital. When asked about the impact of social media on such pressures, Wrigley says that there are a lot of image-related pressures for female entrepreneurs in the consumer-centric space. “The number of questions I got about my personal Instagram following is bizarre.”

…“The whole ‘Don’t wear makeup if you want to save money’ is not an option for a lot of people. It’s also demeaning. It pits this sort of ‘I’m the smart cool girl who doesn’t wear makeup’ to ‘Well, you’re the brainwashed girl who does wear makeup.’”

The real cost of not wearing makeup at the office


‘Chick Beer’ for Women? Why Gender Marketing Repels More Than Sells – Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Why do these gender appeals alienate the very audience they aim to attract? People resist being categorized—or made to feel like they are unwillingly reduced to a single identity—particularly when the product they’re being nudged toward evokes a stereotype about their gender.

Suggesting that women will clamor for a product wrapped in pink packaging just because some marketer assumes that all women love pink can come across as downright insulting.

…”There’s something very off-putting about feeling like you’re being reduced to a single category of membership.”

…“The moment you affix a gender identity label on the higher-value button, we see that people’s preference for the button goes down, suggesting that women were actually avoiding the very item that was trying to appeal to them,” Kim says.

In another study, the research team asked one group of participants to choose either a green or purple calculator to complete math problems, while in another group, they labeled purple calculators “for men” for male participants and “for women” for females. Among female participants, 51 percent chose the purple calculator when it had no gender labels, whereas significantly fewer, 24 percent, chose the purple one when it was labeled “for women.”

‘Chick Beer’ for Women? Why Gender Marketing Repels More Than Sells – Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

The author misses an obvious scenario for men choosing the gendered calculator: to choose the alternative was to choose one that was -by default- for women.

Confessions of a Slow Learner: American Politics Really Is Sexist

American politics, especially at the presidential level, remains shaped by sexist double standards. These are amplified by the prism through which much of journalism covers politics.

…She had twice won big in statewide races for attorney general. In 1993, she started her race for governor as an early and commanding favorite. She had a solid record, a conscientious work ethic, an impressive fundraising network and the backing of all manner of respectable establishment figures.

Her biggest obstacle, it seemed to me and many others, was her public persona—painfully cautious, almost purposefully dull. This was not how I experienced her in private settings, in which she was interesting and engaging.

I once asked her what explained the gulf—why was she so restrained and opaque and downright uncomfortable in public? She looked at me incredulously and asked me to put down my notebook. A quarter-century later I will paraphrase but not quote: ‘Do you honestly have no idea how difficult it is for a woman in public life?’

…Here’s a test. Imagine that “The Portable Bloomberg“ had contained equivalent lines resting on racial stereotypes or religion. Then ask yourself whether a candidate could successfully brush aside controversy by saying, as Bloomberg did last week, “maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”

…One reason gender prejudice in politics is hard to grapple with is that the insidious nature of double standards can never be isolated as the sole factor, or even the primary factor, behind a candidate’s success or failure.

…Warren’s decline in the polls in late summer and fall of last year coincided with media coverage designating her a frontrunner. Much of the coverage of her debate performances (including some of my own, in a fashion not too different from my old stories on Terry) puzzled on the variance between moments when she seemed “commanding” or seemed to recede and saw her percentage of speaking time diminish.

…Jennifer Palmieri, an adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016, wrote in her post-campaign book “Dear Madam President” about how the Clinton team grappled with the way some voters are turned off by ambitious women.

Confessions of a Slow Learner: American Politics Really Is Sexist – POLITICO


Thousands of women are trapped in Lebanon. They risk jail time to leave

Since October, Lebanon’s economy has buckled under soaring prices, a tanking currency, ballooning unemployment and a growing debt crisis.

…The Lebanese Pound has lost over 50% of its value, limiting migrant women’s ability to send financial support to their families. With plummeting demand for their work, many have stopped sending remittances and are sinking deeper into poverty.

…Growing numbers of women — who came to Lebanon in better economic times to earn a living and send money back to their families — are scrambling to return to their home countries. But many lack immigration papers, including their passports. 

…Rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of migrant women in Lebanon are undocumented. For these workers, the hurdles to leaving the country could amount to a dead-end.

… She left her job without retrieving her passport. Her boss had confiscated it when she started work, a practice that is illegal yet widespread.

…Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon are caught in a bind. The sponsorship system, known as Kefala, links legal residency to a work contract.

…If she tries to leave this working relationship, then her status in the country is illegal. If she tries to leave Lebanon, she will likely be detained, with undocumented workers accumulating fines for every year they spend in the country without contract.

…Lebanon’s security forces classify workers who leave their jobs without their sponsor’s consent as “runaways,” even if the employer violated the terms of the country’s standard contract for sponsorships, for example through overwork, withholding salary payments, or sexual and physical abuse.

…Like many other migrant women in Lebanon, she doesn’t believe her embassy will help repatriate her. She has decided to try to get herself deported, which will mean waiting out her departure in one of Lebanon’s notoriously overcrowded prisons where malnourishment and mistreatment are rampant, according to multiple reports by rights groups and local media.

It is ”common” for migrant domestic workers to voluntarily surrender to police, a diplomatic source in Lebanon told CNN.

…“My friends told me to get myself arrested. But then I heard the police aren’t arresting migrants anymore because their jails are so full.”

…The embassy worker told her that if and when she settles her fees, she would need to wait for another three months before she can go home.

…According to the International Labor Organization, ex-employers “frequently” press charges against domestic workers. Many demand that the worker reimburse them for recruitment fees.

“There may be a justified reason for that court case, but often, research shows that they are based on false accusations.”

…“If there is a court case it …(leaving the country) becomes a longer process and a more complicated process.”

Thousands of women are trapped in Lebanon. They risk jail time to leave –


It’s 2020 and women are exhausted

Because in our American patriarchy, when accomplished, outspoken women pursue positions of power, they are routinely painted as unreliable and unlikable — snakes in human form.

And so we are, once again, being asked to question whether a woman is “electable,” by which we really mean whether all of her qualifications for the job can outweigh the fact that she is a woman. 

…We talked about Brett Kavanaugh, and the gut-punch of his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. About watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speaking of humiliations and violations that rang incredibly true to all of us, her words landing on indifferent ears. Watching her throw herself in front of the train, knowing that it would make no difference, that she would be disbelieved and dismissed, that he would be confirmed anyway. Knowing that he now sits on the highest court of the land, for life, making precedent-setting decisions on how and whether women are allowed the rights to our own bodies.

…About how much it hurts to hear about the specter of “ruined” male lives, while so many men accused of misconduct have in fact remained in the public eye, and even begun resuming elements of their former careers, while the women who spoke out are forever defined by having done so.

And yes, we talked about “electability.” About how a man like Bernie Sanders can be as prickly and rumpled as he likes in public, relying on the substance of his politics and the strength of his convictions to impress. How a woman like Elizabeth Warren must always follow a moving target, presenting the perfect (impossible) combination of feminine softness and political edge. How we never hear men being called “likable,” because for men, being liked is not a prerequisite for being successful.

It’s 2020 and women are exhausted


Female high school hockey player taunted with gender reveal sign, chants she’s ‘a dude’

Alyssa Wruble, the only girl on the Northampton Area High School varsity hockey team, was playing in a championship game against Parkland High School of Allentown.

…A sign …read “Alyssa gender reveal?” with the signs for male and female.

…”When I skated over, all I heard was ‘Wruble, you’re a dude,’ and apparently my uncle and aunt and also my father heard them say I have a penis,” Alyssa told the station.

Alyssa, who scored two goals during the game, said she wants an apology from the people who were responsible for the sign.

“Any girl should be allowed to be as good as a guy,” she said. …”You shouldn’t bring them down for wanting to go do something they love.”

…”Bullying is out of control, but instead of working together to eliminate it, people on Facebook are using bullying to address bullying.”

Bilger said two female players on the Parkland team were called an offensive and obscene word on the day of the game by Northampton fans while they left the locker room.

Female high school hockey player taunted with gender reveal sign, chants she’s ‘a dude’


Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women

Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and 86% of women hold at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.

…It found that almost half of people feel men are superior political leaders and more than 40% believe men make better business executives. Almost a third of men and women think it’s acceptable for a man to beat his wife.

…Of the 75 countries studied, there were only six in which the majority of people held no bias towards women. But while more than 50% of people in Andorra, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden were free from gender prejudice, even here the pattern was not one of unmitigated progress.

Sweden, for example, was one of several countries – including South Africa, India, Rwanda and Brazil – in which the percentage of people who held at least one bias increased over the nine years the data covered. More than half of people in the UK and the US held at least one bias.

Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women | Global development | The Guardian


Whoopi Goldberg confronts AOC over comments about older Democrats: ‘Bothered the hell out of me’ | Fox News

“I was very happy when you were elected because I thought it was a great step … and then you lost me,” Goldberg told Ocasio-Cortez, “because it felt like you were saying to people like me that I was too old and didn’t do enough.”

…”Well, that’s what it sounded like and so that has bothered me because I feel like I love young people .. but you’re on my shoulders.”

“Absolutely,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. Goldberg added: “And we have carried this fight.” She referred specifically to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats from California.

…To hear an apparent dismissal from Ocasio-Cortez “bothered the hell out of me,” Goldberg said.

…Goldberg was annoyed that younger lawmakers were criticizing how effective Pelosi, Feinstein, and other older Democrats had been in effecting change.

She went on to send a message to younger members of Congress: “Please remember that the people who are here now — all you young people, you’re on the shoulders of a whole bunch of people who came before you. And you have to stop discounting that.”

Whoopi Goldberg confronts AOC over comments about older Democrats: ‘Bothered the hell out of me’ | Fox News


CA bill requires gender neutral children’s areas at stores

Assembly Bill 2826, by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, would apply to all retail department stores with 500 or more employees.

The bill would do away with so-called “boys aisles” and “girls aisles,” by requiring that children’s products be offered in a single, gender neutral section, according to Low’s office.

…Lawmakers also are considering a bill that would eliminate the “pink tax,” the discrepancy in pricing that sees women paying more for female-marketed products than men pay for male-marketed ones. 

CA bill requires gender neutral children’s areas at stores | The Sacramento Bee


How Women Are Changing Mardi Gras

Historically, Mardi Gras krewes were secretive organizations characterized by exclusivity, based on race, gender, and class. Women didn’t actually parade in New Orleans until 1941, over a century after the first float-based parade was recorded. Members of the krewe of Venus recall men throwing rotten tomatoes and eggs at them. And though more female krewes formed in the late 20th century, their parades were dismissed as inferior.

…In a matter of months, Muses acquired more than double the riders needed for an official parade.“There was a lot of skepticism about our ability to succeed,” says Rosenberg. But Muses did more than succeed as a parade; it created countless new opportunities for women to participate in Mardi Gras.

…Krewes like Muses, Nyx, and Femme Fatale have placed an emphasis on sustainable, reusable throws, like scrunchies, scarves, bike bells, tote bags, and tumblers. They have led the way in diminishing waste, prioritizing quality over quantity.

How Women Are Changing Mardi Gras | Vogue


Millennial Women Made LuLaRoe Billions. Then They Paid The Price.

Elbert helped out in the family candy business and eventually ran a catering company, and Maurine opened a bridal shop — but the couple also had an interesting side hustle. In 1945, the couple founded the American Family and Femininity Institute, dedicated to teaching women that their place was in the home. In 1969 Maurine Startup published a book called The Secret Power of Femininity, which instructs women to, among other things, practice saying “I am just a helpless woman at the mercy of you big, strong men” to catch a guy. The couple turned this work into $300 “Femininity Forums,” sessions where they would teach women how to find a husband. Eventually, Maurine became the California chair of an organization dedicated to fighting the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. (The campaign, led by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, was eventually successful — the ERA still has never been ratified by Congress.)

…The lawsuit filed on behalf of 190 consultants in late 2019, Belinda Hibbard v. LulaRoe LLC, detailed what they allege was the ideal LuLaRoe consultant: “Defendants targeted women, stay at home mothers, spouses of active military members, and other groups who had working capacity and some access to credit or savings, but also, generally, a lack of formal business or finance training.”

According to Derryl Trujillo, a former employee who had been hired in February 2016 for LuLaRoe’s retailer services email team in the company’s Corona warehouse, this massive growth along with ineptitude of their mostly family executive team created a disaster. Instead of scaling back though, he told me, the Stidhams kept “growing and growing” the company.

“It was like somebody stuffing their face too much at a Thanksgiving Day table, but they couldn’t stop eating,” Trujillo said.

…She lost friends because she was working 60 hours a week, desperate to make her business succeed.

“I was just in my house, seven days a week,” she said. “And I didn’t want to leave because I always had shipping to do or I always had pictures to take.”

According to Katie, working nonstop was part of the LuLaRoe culture, because your business was what you made it. To her, the implication was clear: If you couldn’t make your business work, you just weren’t trying hard enough. And there was no time for slacking off.

“If you did stop, your [Facebook] group just tanked,” Katie said. “If you stopped for 24 hours, your group, then you had to work that much harder to build it back up again.” The grind was also hard on her family. Her kids complained that she was always in her room or on the phone.

…But while consultants can place orders for styles and sizes of clothes, they never know which prints they will get until they open the box, and no two consultants get the same mix. Shoppers, therefore, will usually join multiple LuLaRoe groups on Facebook to try and find the piece they want because some styles or colors of clothes are popular or rare.

…Because each shipment is a mixed bag, with some pieces highly valued by “unicorn hunters” that sell quickly, and others — because of their size, pattern, or color — that might be really hard to sell, consultants take a risk with each order.

“Which is how LuLaRoe is making money,” Katie said. “You sell 40% of the prints, you keep buying more inventory, but the sell-through just isn’t there. … But you’re still stuck with all the ugly stuff. You buy another box, you sell 10 out of the 30 pieces, you’re still left with 20, you go in and order more. It’s just a constant cycle.”

In addition to this cycle, many LuLaRoe sponsors, according to Katie and other consultants, encouraged their consultants to buy more clothes if their sales were dropping. After all, the more options in size and color, the more potential customers.

…“If I would have a slow month, there was always ‘Well, did you order this many pieces? You know if you order this many pieces you’ll sell this much.’ And it was, ‘Well you only have five in each size. You should really have 10 so your customers have more of a variety to choose from,’” Katie said.

Still, she blames herself for continuing to spend more and more money, and takes full responsibility for her financial choices. But she said she was drawn in by the possibility that her mentors could be right, that she just needed to buy a little more or try a little harder.

…Katie’s popular mentor kept being trailed by other consultants who seemed to just want to be near her. Katie said the leadership conference was empowering and her association with the brand made her feel special.

“I was being independent. I had constantly depended on others for a long time, and here I was, doing something by myself,” she writes.

…Katie said around this same time, the products were becoming harder to sell. Not only was the market saturated with LuLaRoe consultants, the quality of the clothes became hit or miss. Some of the leggings arrived with holes in them, some had a moldy or mildew smell. Sometimes she would open her box of inventory and realize some of the items were completely ruined. When she tried to report the damages to the company, she said she was given the runaround by customer service.

…LuLaRoe was knowingly selling defective products to consultants, and then refusing to refund them. 

…She felt gaslit by promises that she would be getting great new inventory during LuLaRoe webinars, and then none would arrive in her boxes.

“I often compared it to a cycle of abuse,” she said. “Especially with the owners. The launch would go bad…they’d kind of place the blame on us, and we’d all be really, really mad and upset with them. And then Mark would come on [the webinar and] apologize and give this whole teary-eyed speech about how sorry he was, how he did it wrong. And everyone would be like, ‘Oh, that made me cry. It’s so good that they care so much about us.’ And then the next month he’d turn around and do the same thing.”

…The loss of her 401(k) hurt, but her husband has his own and has supported her both financially and emotionally. For those without safety nets, getting out of LuLaRoe could be much worse.

Karyn, the consultant in California, said her debt from LuLaRoe led her to bankruptcy. She was only able to sell around $1,100 worth of product, she said, nowhere close to the initial investment she’d made. She filed for bankruptcy when it was clear she had dug herself into a hole she couldn’t get out of.

…“The amount of guilt I have over the shit I used to sell makes me sick.” “I have learned my lesson and I’m ashamed.” “I felt sick last night working on my taxes. So. Much. Money. I am so embarrassed and ashamed I let myself be so blind.”

Karyn thinks LuLaRoe came into her life at a time when she was the perfect target, and that’s how many women got sucked in.

“I was in a vulnerable place because I wasn’t happy,” she said, explaining she had been frustrated with her career and was looking for a distraction. “There’s a lot of guilt.”

Millennial Women Made LuLaRoe Billions. Then They Paid The Price.

From a shady as F*ck family, a shady scheme preying on isolated and vulnerable women.

People Keep Asking Elizabeth Warren Whether She Can Win

How do you acknowledge the reality of the challenges that women face without going too far and contributing to the forces that keep them from winning?

… Nearly four years later, political scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how much of an impact sexism had in the 2016 election. The consensus among most of the experts I’ve spoken with is that sexism does seem to have moderately helped Trump and hurt Clinton — but seeing the attacks on Clinton may also have galvanized some of her supporters. And all of this might not tell us much about how a different woman, with different policies, in a different year, would fare.

Why People Keep Asking Elizabeth Warren Whether She Can Win | FiveThirtyEight


Trump’s MAGA supporters and Twitter Bernie Bros have this ugly tactic in common

Time and again, we see how backlash on social media is used to bully people into submission and silence criticism. For writers and commentators like me, sometimes we have to weigh whether or not it’s even worth writing something that could incur the wrath of a political figure’s devout following. The backlash is important because it gives us insights into the nature of the political debate on social media — who has power, and how that power is wielded. 

…The attacks against Warren come from the same corners of social media that disparage Democrats (like myself) as being “puppets,” “centrist,” “anti-Semitic, and “ageist” for having the audacity to question or scrutinize their chosen leader. People of color and women who dare to disagree with Sanders’ political assertions have often borne the brunt of this abuse.

…Disturbingly, there are times where you really can’t distinguish between the tone and tactics of Trump’s #MAGA nation and Sanders’ “Bros.” 

…Bernie Twitter operates under the self-righteous guise of being the true progressives of the internet. This smugness distinguishes their tweets. But there’s nothing progressive about attacking members of your own party who may have reservations about the presidential candidate you’re supporting.

…Earlier this week, Sanders supporters made the #RefundWarren hashtag trend as they demanded the Warren campaign provide refunds — retaliation for Warren not backing down from her claim that Sanders told her women weren’t electable. 

…As Trump’s supporters have shown us already, violent rhetoric has ripple effects.

…If this trend continues, I have a hard time accepting that Sanders is truly our best bet for social progress.

Trump’s MAGA supporters and Twitter Bernie Bros have this ugly tactic in common


Hillary Clinton says abuse of female politicians on social media is ‘viral’ – Reuters

Women in the public eye still face scrutiny over their looks and pressure to behave politely and meekly in a way that men do not.

…An international study last year by Atalanta, a social enterprise dedicated to advancing women’s leadership, found female lawmakers were three times more likely than men to receive sexist comments than their male colleagues.

…“There’s almost an ancient DNA imprinting about ‘This is what women are supposed to do and this is what they are supposed to look like’ and you are not supposed to be so pushy and aggressive … it is maddening how much that still operates.”

Hillary Clinton says abuse of female politicians on social media is ‘viral’ – Reuters


Groundbreaking South Carolina Bill: Compensate People for Forcing Them to Give Birth

The bill, SB 928, demands that anti-choice lawmakers in South Carolina who have proposed banning abortion at six weeks into pregnancy put their money where their mouth is: If lawmakers are going to force people to carry their pregnancies to term, and if they are going to deem the development of an unborn embryo as more important than the life and rights of pregnant people, then South Carolina should compensate them for acting as a gestational surrogate for the state of South Carolina.

…just as South Carolina may not constitutionally use a citizen’s rental property without just compensation, it may not constitutionally require a woman to incubate a child without appropriate compensation.”

…The compensation suggested in the legislation includes reasonable living, legal, medical, psychological, and psychiatric expenses that are directly related to prenatal, intrapartal, and postpartal periods. In addition, upon detection of a fetal heartbeat, a pregnant person may claim the fetus as a child for purposes of federal or state income tax credits or deductions.

….Compensation also includes automatic eligibility to participate in a program that would pair a pregnant person with a specially trained nurse to provide home visits from early pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. …Pregnant people would also be automatically eligible for any public assistance like TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and WIC, and the law would prohibit reducing or suspending those benefits until the child is 18 years old.

…If the pregnant person becomes disabled as the result of carrying the fetus to term, then the state must cover all medical expenses associated with the disability. Similarly, if the child is born with a congenital abnormality or disability, the state must cover all medical expenses associated with that disability for the rest of the child’s life.

Also, South Carolina would be required to cover all costs associated with health, dental, and vision insurance until the child turns 18. And if the biological father of the child is unknown or unable to provide support, then the state must provide child support in the biological father’s stead.

….South Carolina must fully fund a college savings plan for the benefit of the child.

Groundbreaking South Carolina Bill: Compensate People for Forcing Them to Give Birth #ABLC