27-year-old Maria Thattil, newly crowned Miss Universe Australia and Melbourne fashion blogger, claims that she’s often discriminated against because of her good looks and perfect makeup.
Thattil has a bachelor degree in psychology and masters in human resources, and works as a talent recruiter for the federal government. She says that she has been frequently told that her makeup and stunning looks would set her back.
She told news.com: “I was told even in my internship, very early just starting my career, you need to be extra nice to people because you're pretty, therefore they're going to assume you're stuck up.”
This came from a senior female colleague, and she said it was especially “disheartening.”
She recalled a male superior commenting on her glamorous outfits and the makeup she wore. On one occasion, she was told that she may have gotten the job because the man who interviewed her thought she was attractive – she had been interviewed by two women over the phone.
She states that she understands that it’s human nature to “make judgments of people” because of their physical characteristics, but she said in her Mind With Me Instagram video series: “Who you are isn't dictated by someone else's perception. If we see a woman in leadership, who is firm in her decision making… it means that she might not be empathetic and she must be a little bit hard.”
“If you've got a smart woman that is intelligent and ambitious, she can't possibly be beautiful, sensual and creative as well. We make inferences about people based on limited knowledge, based on labels, stereotypes and a lack of representation,” she added.
She was born in Australia to Indian parents, and stated that it's important to acknowledge the society’s constant changing standards of beauty. She said that her dark skin tone and slightly “bigger” lips were not always appreciated.
She stated: “That at the moment is being glorified as a trend and now the media and society has determined that is attractive.”
She admitted that she has “certain privileges” now because she fits “certain ideals.”
“Having that means I need to use that responsibility to speak on the things that matter, but I've also experienced prejudice, and I've also been othered and I've also been someone who is excluded because I didn't always meet the threshold for what it is to be successful, beautiful, worth or valuable,” she said.
Speaking about winning the Miss Universe Australia pageant last month, she addressed the criticism: “Someone had made a remark that perhaps I had won this competition because of my beauty and that sort of thing completely negates the work ethic, the values, what I would do with the platform, what I am doing with the platform now.”
Sources: America Now