Hot off the Press: Honey Money by Catherine Hakim
In the off-puttingly titled HONEY MONEY, LSE professor Catherine Hakim argues that looks do and should matter in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, her thesis has provoked some interesting responses, our favourite being Jenni Russell’s superbly angry piece (£) in the Sunday Times.
Reviewing the book for the FT, Lucy Kellaway felt it was flawed, but believed
Hakim is quite right on one central point: women in the UK and the US are not brought up to make the best of themselves, as French women are. We are taught that beauty is the poor cousin of brains; we are hung up about flaunting it. This book, for all the repetition, annoying jargon and sloppy reasoning, makes one see things differently. Sitting on the Tube having just finished it, I stared at all the frumpy English women and thought what a shame it was that so few of them were making anything of their erotic capital.
So should we be looking to les Françaises as a model of erotic empowerment? Will Self thought otherwise…
In support of her happy hooker scenario, Hakim’s choice of cultural references displays an achingly tin ear for cultural nuance – she seems to think that Catherine Millet’s memoir of sexual addiction is a tale of female empowerment, while Pauline Réage’s pseudonymous Story of O becomes a joyous Gallic sex romp, rather than the desperate attempt by an ageing woman to retain her lover by pandering on paper to his sadomasochism. Overall, Hakim believes that they “order these matters better in France”, what with their – alleged – toleration of extramarital affairs and superior female personal grooming, to which the double-barrelled rejoinder is surely: Strauss-Kahn.