“You look like s***!” my boss said.
On this particular day I wasn’t wearing any makeup, my hair was pulled up in a bun, and I wasn’t wearing a fashionable outfit. Normally, I always tried to look presentable for work, but this day I was running very late and frankly just didn’t care how I looked.
When my boss said that, it really hurt my feelings and I felt it was extremely disrespectful. As I really began to think about it, I felt that it was very wrong to disrespect me like that because of how I looked. After all, I do have feelings.
After this, what I decided to do was not wear makeup, do my hair, or wear a fashionable outfit for a week. In that week I documented comments people made to me about my appearance and how they treated me overall. The next week, I wore minimal makeup, but did my hair and wore a nice outfit. I did the same thing, documenting the comments made on my appearance and overall how I was treated.
The results I came up with are astounding. I never realized how I look can affect the way people treat me as a person. Not only that, I noticed a change in myself both weeks. To make this a bit of an easier read, we will call the week I did not wear makeup, do my hair, or wear a trendy outfit week one. The week I did wear makeup, did my hair, and wore a trendy outfit we will call week two.
At the start of week one, people asked me many questions.
“Are you okay?”
“Are you feeling alright?”
“Are you tired?”
I also noticed one particular truck driver (I’m a warehouse clerk) who came in was very rude to me and very impatient while waiting for his truck to be unloaded.
“What’s taking so long?” he said in an agitated voice. It was as if he thought I had control over how fast his truck was unloaded (which I didn’t).
During week two, the things people said to me were in a very different nature than week one. I would say I received more compliments on my appearance in week two.
“You look nice today.”
“I really like the flower in your hair.”
“You look very pretty.”
“You’re all dressed up!”
What struck a chord with me is when the same driver from week one came in during week two. His attitude and demeanor with me was 100% different. As he was waiting for his truck to be unloaded this time he said in a very bashful manner, “Oh I can wait here all day with you.”
The disturbing thing about this situation is that the driver was disrespectful in a callous way the first time around. In the second encounter he was disrespectful in a flirtatious way. I felt that if I wasn’t dressed up with makeup he would have still treated me like before. It was only because I looked appealing to his eye that he made the comment he did, which in my opinion, was still a tasteless comment.
During week one I didn’t feel any different than I did any other time. I also felt like I treated people the same during week one as I did in week two. During week two however, I noticed a change in my attitude. I had more confidence and I smiled more throughout the day. However, when I noticed the difference in how people treated me, it was a bit disheartening.
In one aspect, I could agree that when you feel and treat people better, they too will treat you better. On the contrary, when I still treated people with respect without makeup and the whole nine, people did seem a bit more ridged with their approach to me. I’m not sure what this says about people. Does this make us look shallow?
Nevertheless, I don’t believe that anyone should be made to feel inferior based off of how much or how little makeup they wear. Also, I don’t think the amount of respect a person shows us should be based off of how we look.