I spent most of last week interviewing candidates for a position that had became vacant in my business, and found the process to be personally enlightening.
After a dozen or so interviews I had to ask the question, quite seriously: do I discriminate? There is no doubt the 90-second rule applies: when meeting someone new, you do tend to evaluate them in that instant, making a rapid mental note of their appearance, handshake and demeanour.
Of course, you spend the next few minutes drilling down and discovering the person’s relevant experience and willingness to perform the duties you require. But the first impression remains.
So what pushed my buttons? I feel confident in saying that I do not discriminate when it comes to ethnicity, gender or size. I do notice if someone is well groomed, or not. I have vague fashion opinions but they are pretty fluid. I’m fully appreciative of full body tattoos, and piercings, and shaved heads, and dreadlocks, and blue lipstick and acrylic nails – whatever you’ve got, bring it on.
But I’ve got an issue with over-plumped-up collagen lips, Botox and filler on young people. I find it weird. I can sort of rationalise it with the older crowd, like: “I get it, you’re probably newly single or lacking in confidence or feel like you have to get back out there.”
But on young girls I think it looks vampy and vapid, making someone who was probably pretty, now look like an animated store dummy and/or a Kardashian/Jenner clone – their ultimate style icons.
I have to try to reconcile my prejudice with my actual belief system, which is that every person has the right to look and dress exactly how they want, and it is absolutely no-one’s business to judge.
But if I see trout pouts, fillers and faces that can’t move, I don’t see someone who is experimenting with their individuality and walking to the beat of their own drum. I interpret it as conformity, and next thing you know I’ve gone all “God I can’t stand the influence of those stupid Kardashians”, which isn’t exactly original thinking either.
My work colleagues are all young women, and so we had an open discussion, as I questioned my thinking and talked about the dangers of making value judgments. But they tended to agree with me.
Why has this over-baked, overdone look become such a ubiquitous trend? Is it just vanity that causes girls to tamper with their features and undergo unnecessary invasive procedures, or are they merely succumbing to the pressures and expectations that society, and an omnipresent social media, forces on them? Is it just expensive, fashionable fun?
No doubt they all love the way it looks and care not one iota what I or anybody else thinks – nor should they. As an employer, over-dyed, over- long and over-fried hair, three inches of contour and surgically enhanced lips leave me cold.
But I am really going to resist making those judgmental, 90-second appraisals about filler. Maybe I need some.