Lip Stick in the Workplace?


Women who wear lipstick to work are perceived as more likeable, trustworthy and competent.


Controversial Youtuber, Stefan Molyneaux took to Twitter last week to protest that women should not be permitted to wear lipstick in the workplace. The 52 year old Canadian argues that lipstick “simulates sexual arousal.”


Unsurprisingly, his comments have ignited explosive debate online. Molyneaux maintains however that science supports his position. He says that painted lips “mimic vasodilation associated with sexual arousal.” Most controversially of all, he has likened it to a male colleague “showing up for his meeting with a giant artificial boner.”


In response, Journalist and beauty expert Sally Hughes, highlights that a neck tie can be categorised as a phallic symbol and that this item of clothing was actually designed to attract sexual mates.


It is accepted practice in many work environments that employees should adhere to a particular dress code, while using common sense as a guide. Molyneaux’s proposal however raises the inevitable question; if we enact policies and legislation to curtail the wearing of  any makeup or attire deemed even remotely offensive, where does it end? As in all aspects of life one persons too far will be another person’s not enough.


While Molyneaux’s comments have sparked discussion, the controversy surrounding the wearing of lipstick is not a new phenomenon. According to sociologists in Edith Cowan University, the wearing of lipstick has historically provoked a range of reactions. It has been scorned, shunned or in some cases embraced, across cultures and time.


While Molyneaux perceives the wearing of lipstick in the workplace as a largely negative habit, research tells a different story. In a study carried out by American Psychologists, it was found that women who wear lipstick to work are perceived as more likeable, trustworthy and competent. Research has also shown that lipstick makes a woman feel more confident too. So, while wearing lipstick in the office may be a source of conflict for some, for many women, it is simply- their secret weapon.




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