Your Physical Appearance Does Not Determine How Far You Will Advance In Life

Today, I made a terrible mistake. I accused a writer in The Telegraph of being “crude and spiteful” when he was doing nothing of the sort. He had written a piece about short men in the workplace and how men who are below average height advance to the top of the career chain, despite the conventional wisdom that taller men do better. He used the billionaire CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, as an example of this.

I completely misread his argument and jumped immediately to the conclusion that he was attacking Zuckerberg for his height, and confronted him about it on Twitter. On a second reading of the article, I realised how wrong I was. I deleted the tweet and sent the writer an apology. At the time of writing this blog, he hasn’t responded to me, but I wouldn’t blame him for being pissed off. It is very annoying, as a writer, when people misread your work and baselessly attack you for it. I speak from bitter experience.

I think I badly misread his piece because I am currently working on a piece about identity-driven thinking on the far left and right, and, bizarrely enough, because of something Germaine Greer said too.

By “far left and right” I mean people who have rigid political beliefs about the structure of reality. On the left it is intersectionalism, and on the right biological determinism. Neither worldview accounts much for individual initiative or creativity. This was on my mind when I first saw the headline in The Telegraph and I immediately associated it (wrongly) with the identitarian worldview that appearance is all that matters.

Whether a man is short or has red hair, or both, should not determine his prospects, his future and how far he can advance in life.

I was also wound up after hearing Germaine Greer’s moronic comments about Prince Harry’s hair, yesterday. She said that Harry was glamorous “despite having red hair”. My blood boiled when I heard that. I have red hair and there is a pretty high chance one day I will have a son with red hair. It is pathetic comments like that which I dread. I know, with absolute certainty, that I will have to teach any red-haired son of mine how to deal with mindless prejudice about his hair. And it makes me so furious.

I also fear is that I will get too angry and overshoot, as I did today on Twitter.

Whether a man is short or has red hair, or both, should not determine his prospects, his future and how far he can advance in life.

If you continually tell someone that they are inferior because of their physical characteristics they might start to believe you. It will take all my skills as a parent to stop my children from internalising the narrative that red hair is undesirable and ugly.

What I will teach them is that Mark Zuckerberg is not successful despite being “short”. He is successful because he is creative, clever and hardworking. Also, Prince Harry is not handsome “despite” his hair colour, but because of it. Only small, petty people obsess over superficialities. People of substance know how little such things really matter.

Now, I need to make sure I remember that myself and not get so mad about it.


Image Credit: Red Hot

Candice Holdsworth

Candice Holdsworth is the founder and editor of Imagine Athena. It is mythologised that she sprang fully formed from its pages. Candice has an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics, and thus can be most commonly found discussing ideas and culture. Her writing can also be found on Thought Leader and On Netflix Now. Follow her on Twitter @CandiceCarrie and Instagram @candicecholdsworth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>