The Apprentice: I love you and all the top notch narcissism you entertain us with every Wednesday night, but I feel like I’ve got to fem it up just a little bit. And I genuinely mean only a little because overall I feel Alan’s search for his next sugarcube is an incredibly gender equal one- the applicants are very much split 50:50 men and women, the tasks dwell on skills that surpass gender and the general presence of Baroness Karren Brady (how she isn’t Queen yet I’ll never know). But there is one teeny tiny detail that the programme showcases during its promotional period and that is the power dressing.
I’ve blogged- or should I say ranted- about the fashion industry before, however that mainly focused on award shows where people are being judged solely for their ability to wear the least fabric with the biggest designer label on, but with The Apprentice I thought it would be different. After all, no one’s really focusing on the dresses, right? It must be all about the business.
Apparently not according to this photo taken of a candidate called Jenny who has not only been brozer-ed to the extent that she looks like she’s smeared a 2p across her cheeks but has also matched her lipstick and her nails before contrasting them with the dramatic white patches on her dress (which look a bit like fuzzy felts). Don’t get me wrong, she looks great and I’m capital LOVING the ‘sass-me-and-you’re-dead’ arms, but she seems to have gone to a lot of effort for a programme that isn’t America’s Next Top Model.
Just when I was wondering if she was an anomaly, the image of another hopeful proved otherwise. This woman has used my Grandma’s tablecloth to try and spice up an outfit that even the All Blacks would be envious of, but it doesn’t seem at all realistic. I mean who wears a scarf to the office? Everyone knows that if you keep your coat on indoors you won’t feel the benefit when you go out. Or more importantly, since when was putting a ring on your middle finger a thing?
This lady has gone the step further and become the nation’s new #BrowGoals. And contouring goals. And bun goa- no no no. That’s not a bun it’s one of those dinky wholemeal bread rolls that you get at a restaurant regardless of if you’re having soup or not. I can’t get over how long that must’ve taken. In fact maybe if she’d spent less time gluing each individual wisp of hair onto her head and more time prioritising being project manager, she wouldn’t have lost week one’s task.
The difficult thing to consider when writing this post is that it isn’t about shaming women for doing stereotypical female things- in fact, kick ass women wearing makeup, jewellery and dresses with cleavage that you could park a bike in is a great thing as we can begin to associate these traits with power opposed to the current idea that they are weaknesses. But, and it’s a big butt, there is no alternative image. There are no women looking a little bit smart or like they’ve made a fraction of effort- it’s go hard or go back to hair and makeup until you at least look hard. I think you’ll understand, when we look at this photo of a male colleague, why it makes me so grumps.
Here he is: Dan the man (so much of a stereotype that it rhymes) in his wonky tie and oversized jacket, which he probably borrowed from his Dad, and the photographer has thought ‘Yep. He looks completely okay. I am perfectly happy to release this image and have it circulating the internet forever’ which will no doubt involve being used for a few Buzzfeed quizzes, The Apprentice calendar and as inspiration for my next Comic Con outfit. Seriously though, look at him. He hasn’t even unstitched his pockets yet, let alone sorted out his dodgy parting- it’s a blessing in disguise that we can’t see his flies. I can’t imagine them being done up. Or what about this one? He’s used Nigel Farage as style inspiration but that’s just about where his train of thought, regarding his wardrobe, runs out of fuel. There isn’t this huge focus on contouring or pouting or making yourself look younger in order to look the part- in fact there isn’t any focus on that at all, this guy’s even waited for the camera to shoot before remembering to button his cufflinks. Because when it comes to men in business there seems to be the ultimate acceptance, even a disregard, of their aesthetic which women just aren’t lucky enough to have. We know your makeup face is like the iOS9 equivalent to your normal one, we know that you can run down a cobbled street in your red soled heels (of which the designer’s name I currently can’t remember) but, without ever intending to strip anyone of their identity, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to power dress for once? To walk into a room and demand attention because of who you are and what you stand for not how long your fake eyelashes are. Maybe in the next series a suit and tie will be enough for the ladies too, but until then we can all have a long hard think about all the hairspray harmed in the making of April’s bun.