As a television news reporter years ago, I always knew I had to be visually appealing. Although I wasn’t well endowed in one specific area, my body was very well proportioned for my size and I had that youthful, perky, cute look. Unfortunately though, as the years passed and I began to mature, my graceful aging became outdated and I was easily replaced by younger, sexier-looking women who could probably never compete on the show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader.
Even though many of us gain more confidence in business and relationships at midlife, the media makes us feel less secure about our image. They imply that if we want to maintain our sex appeal we should consider breast implants or cosmetic surgery to tighten up sagging and flabby skin. They point to the likes of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn or Madonna as role models for us. Now, I’m not knocking any of these fellow baby boomer women but not all of us are alike and we shouldn’t be put into a “woman size fits all” generic category.
So the question here is, do we still need sex appeal in order to be successful in our businesses at midlife? Does sex still sell? As a woman in business, do you feel the need to dress a certain way when meeting a male client to get his attention—or perhaps DISTRACT his attention? Should we come across as sensuous while also displaying our intelligence? To what extent does appearance affect our professional success, and can a middle-aged woman really use sex appeal to further her business endeavors?
Management Psychologist Ken Siegel was quoted as saying, “You’d be a fool if you didn’t use your looks to your advantage and make the most of what you’ve got. Don’t pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s a huge part of life in the 21st century.”
What do you think?