By now, you've probably heard about the Hooters waitress who was allegedly put on probation and told she needed to lose weight.
Whatever your feelings about working at Hooters, there's no denying how humiliating it must be to be told that you're too heavy or unattractive to do your job. It's times like these that I'm glad I don't work in a profession where I'm judged on my appearance.
But then again, aren't we all?
Have you ever made up your mind about somebody's competence, intelligence or value based on the way they look? If we're all being honest, I'm guessing that nobody said no.
In reality, we're all judged -- and we all judge others -- based on appearance every day. It's why we dress up for job interviews and worry about what we'll wear to the company Christmas party. We know that -- fair or not -- our appearance affects the way others perceive our ability to do our jobs.
But our ability to do our jobs is also affected by the way we judge ourselves. In my book, You'd Be So Pretty If...Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies -- Even When We Don't Love Our Own, I included a chapter called "Success Is For Skinny Girls." In it, I tell a story about being invited to speak at a trade association meeting and feeling so uncomfortable with the way I looked that I stumbled through my speech, barely salvaging an opportunity to grow my skills and potentially advance my career.
I heard many similar stories from the women I interviewed. Fear of being judged -- of being found physically "less than" -- causes many of us to forego opportunities because we just don't want to take the risk of putting ourselves out there, whether it's a speech, a media interview or speaking up about our ideas in a meeting.
It affects our daughters, too. Plenty of girls confessed to not wanting to raise their hands in class because they didn't feel good about how they looked and didn't want everybody looking at them.
Appearance-based judgments -- though usually without the consequences facing the Hooters waitress -- happen all the time, whether from others or from ourselves. What will it take to convince us -- and our daughters -- that our brilliant ideas don't need to come wrapped in a "perfect" package?