Fernando Damaso, 25 February 2015 — A journalist has written in a government daily about good appearance — not to demand it, but to question it. She focuses her question on advertisements by certain private businesses, which read: “In search of a young trabajadora [female worker] of good appearance.” (I will add that there also are ads which ask for “young trabajadores [male or non-gender-specific workers] of good appearance.”) In any event, the request is not as limited as the writer describes it, but let us get to the point.
Upon this weak foundation begins her argument regarding discrimination by gender, age, skin color, whether a certain type of figure is required, whether women are objectified for commercial purposes, etc. These are well-known claims, being repeated as they are in the government jargon.
Standards of beauty have always existed. They change with the times, but they do not disappear. Today, as yesterday, they exist, and it is valid to take them into account, especially when it comes to individuals who will be dealing directly with the public. Throughout too many years we have had to suffer male and female clerks and waiters in stores, restaurants, cafeterias and other services who lack a good appearance, who should never have been chosen for those positions.
A good appearance, although it includes primarily the physical aspect, is complemented by upbringing, good manners, correct speech, personal hygiene, and many other factors.
I consider it healthy for the owners of private businesses to first require a good appearance. After that, I am sure they will analyze a candidate’s overall suitability for the position, his/her professionalism, etc., and then, among those of good appearance, they will select the most capable applicants. The State should imitate these business owners.
It always turns out to be a much more pleasant experience to be helped by someone with a good appearance, be it a man or woman, than by someone who does not have it. Besides, we pay for it!
This preference, although it may appear so, is not a division between “inhumane capitalism” and “paternal socialism,” but rather between the beautiful and the formal.
Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison