The other day I met a guy in a coffee shop.
After only a few minutes of chatting, we found out that we had a lot in common. We both had recently adventured throughout Asia and Latin America. We also were both introverted extroverts who liked to set ourselves up in coffee shops and write.
I studied journalism in college and he had studied computer engineering. I’m not very scientifically savvy, so he began to explain to me the importance of utilizing big data and open source tools in my work. At the end of our chat, he asked for my number so that we could discuss journalism and the intersection of technology further. Without skipping a beat, I gave it to him. I thought he was genuinely interesting and kind, and also found his knowledge and expertise useful.
A few days later, I received a text message. He was asking me out on a date.
During our conversation, I hadn’t seen this guy as anything but a friendly acquaintance. Yet, here, I was in a dilemma. I didn’t want to pursue anything romantic with him, but I also didn’t want to shut the door on a likely valuable connection, both professionally and personally.
I asked my friend what I should do. She shrugged and told me that I should just go out with him and think of it as a networking opportunity.
“A networking opportunity.”
Well, I had been saying that I wanted to learn more about technology anyways. So, I was about to text him back, and accept the offer. Then I paused for a moment and thought… Why do I so often find that my own sexuality is often transformed into a leverage, whether I like it or not?
If I land a job opportunity with a future employer or colleague because I meet him first at a party, then show up at the interview clad in a tight, flattering dress with smiling eyes—even if the plainly dressed girl before me was equally as qualified — am I more deserving of the position?
If I’m bartending, and can make an extra few bucks for the venue as well as in tips for myself by chatting it up with the bachelor party in the corner, am I a great employee?
Am I really more successful?
Or am I just susexful?
Behold a classic paradigm: the casting couch. The term describes the tradeoff of sexual favors for a chance to enter an occupation. Although the phenomena originated in the motion picture industry concerning manipulative relationships between directors and aspiring actresses, such exploitation exists in every field.
Yet, taking advantage of–or succumbing to, however you choose to look at it–casting couch situations, have unbolted many a door for successful women today. Maybe it’s not sex per say, but it has been an age-old norm for women to openly and actively apply their sexuality towards all types of professional situations.
Take Kate Upton for example. A Cat Daddy video featuring Upton in a teeny-tight bikini has over 20 million views on YouTube.
Today, according to Forbes she is one of top 10 highest paid models in the world. If making over $7 million a year doesn’t define a successful career…then I’m not sure what does.
So is it okay, to “use what you got ” to get the job you want? If you knew the only thing standing between you and your dream job was a blowjob (forgive my bluntness)…would you do it? If it’s fine with you, is it fine for you?
I say yes — as long as being sexually appealing isn’t your end goal, but rather a means towards achieving whatever it is in the long run. In fact, studies show that people who are regarded as more physically attractive are more likely to get hired and promoted.
It’s no secret that sex sells. And as a college student, I’ve learned that a job interview is about knowing how to sell yourself to prove that that you’re the most suitable candidate for a given position.
As an aspiring on-air journalist, I know what I need to do to achieve my own definition of success. Not only should I stay well informed on current events and driven in my pursuits of unearthing intriguing stories, but also presentable and charming on camera in order to engage the widest audience. And, yes, if I do like to wear fitted clothes and flash seductive eyes or a charming grin at a video-camera anyways, then that’s a personal preference about what traits I’d like to carry over into my professional career.
Yet, it’s also important to have the confidence and mental fortitude to know when to draw the line.
I will not date a man in hopes of getting a job afterwards. I will not flirt with a guy to warm him up to an interview for a journalistic assignment.
But I will, utilize my sexual prowess as a young 20-something woman to get my first on-air job. And then, I will fulfill my true mission as a budding journalist: to make the complex more tangible and unearth human understanding through meaningful storytelling across the globe.
And yes, I will be sexy in my success.