Honey Money

Honey Money : The Power of Erotic Capital

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Why do some people seem to lead charmed lives? They are attractive, but also lively, friendly and charismatic. People want to be around them. Doors open for them. The answer, this book shows, is in the power of erotic capital - the overlooked human asset that is at the heart of how we work, interact, make money, succeed and conduct our relationships.

Catherine Hakim's groundbreaking book reveals how erotic capital is just as influential in life as how rich, clever, educated or well-connected we are. Drawing on hard evidence, she illustrates how this potent force develops from an early age, with attractive children assumed to be intelligent, competent and good. She examines how women and men learn to exploit it throughout their lives, how it differs across cultures and how it affects all spheres of activity, from dating and mating to politics, business, film, music, the arts and sport. She also explores why erotic capital is growing in importance in today's highly sexualised culture and yet, ironically, as a 'feminine' virtue, remains sidelined.

Honey Money is a call for us to recognize the economic and social value of erotic capital, and truly acknowledge beauty and pleasure. This will not only change the role of women in society, getting them a better deal in both public and private life - it could also revolutionize our power structures, big business, the sex industry, government, marriage, education and almost everything we do.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 34mm | 526g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846144191
  • 9781846144196
  • 546,431

Review quote

Genius. It forces us to rethink the way we respond to those female traits that have for centuries been dismissed as desirable, yes, but essentially superfluous and irrelevant and perhaps even a little vulgar. In Hakim's world, knowing how to conduct oneself well in social situations is as valuable and admirable as an ability to do the Times crossword. It might appear that she is harking back to old-fashioned views of femininity. In fact her ideas are the most modern of modern: to show women how to reclaim these aspects of themselves rather than denying or subjugating them. -- Sarah Vine, Book of the Week * Times * There's something altogether refreshing about Hakim's spade-calling -- Will Self * Guardian * 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 ... 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. -- Lucy Kellaway * Financial Times * Hakim is absolutely right; more than that - her book should be read out to young girls as part of the national curriculum. Because it states something important that mothers have been frightened to tell daughters for fear of undermining their intelligence: that you can be a feminist, you can be strong and independent and clever, and you can wear a nice frock and high heels while you do this. -- Bryony Gordon * Daily Telegraph * As I read these words a great sense of relief seemed to rise from me. That explains it: erotic capital isn't just about sexy, at all. It's about those human qualities which, for politicians, are paramount. MPs know this instinctively, Hakim argues, because they've already come out on top in the 'winner-takes-all' culture of erotic capital. ... Honey Money is genuinely thought-provoking, for the implications which arise from the fundamentally blunt nature of its argument. ... Politicians reading Honey Money will instinctively agree with the fundamentals of its claims. So why should they not also agree with the thoroughly controversial arguments which follow from them? -- Alex Stevenson * politics.co.uk *
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About Catherine Hakim

Catherine Hakim is a sociologist in the London School of Economics. She is an expert on the sociology of the labour market, changing social attitudes, women's employment and theories of women's position in society. She has published numerous academic works and papers. Her theory of erotic capital was first advanced in a paper for Oxford University's European Social Research journal. It has received much media and academic interest from around the world.
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Rating details

212 ratings
3.2 out of 5 stars
5 15% (31)
4 26% (55)
3 34% (72)
2 16% (34)
1 9% (20)

Our customer reviews

Ah, the joys of women pandering to men's needs as a way of communicating in the workplace. What woman could say no? Well, I hope every one of you who is a female and reading this will always say no. However, there seems to be an increasingly vocal minority of highly successful women who bizarrely believe that sex discrimination no longer occurs in the workplace or elsewhere and who, are now advocating that you, as a woman, should go ahead and exploit your femininity and behave in a manner in the workplace - or wherever and however else you encounter men - that is essentially about pandering to their needs by you flirting and using "erotic capital". All to get ahead, as they deem it. This article will focus on two such female advocates of this unhealthy approach to communication between women and men and on the behaviour they are encouraging women to act. They are well-known British writer, TV pundit and journalist Cristina Odone and Catherine Hakim, academic sociologist at the prestigious, world-renowned London School of Economics and now (as of September 2011) author of "Honey Money: the Power of Erotic Capital". Hakim is also, it appears, proud of her work in "criticising feminist assumptions about employment" - the quote is from her Wikipedia profile. My review here is a type of Russian nesting doll-in-a-doll set, in that I'm critiquing both Odone's own women-denigrating review of the book in The Daily Telegraph ; a book which in itself comes across as equally women-denigrating, sexist-supporting, anti-women, by Hakim in Honey Money. A few years ago I saw Cristina Odone a couple of times on the serious talk-panel programme, Question Time on the BBC, and I thought then: well, clearly she's a hardcore conservative; unsurprisingly -not a good thing, in my view. In fact, she reminds me a lot of David Starkey, the historian whose expertise is the Tudor period, is a bestselling author and popular presenter of his own TV series based on his own bestsellers and - unfortunately - is often invited to spout right-wing nonsense on TV about issues in modern society. Odone comes across as an intelligent person, but she seems to have zero emotional IQ and certainly no empathy for those she judges: take the recent furore she just caused over her criticism of NHS nurses on Question Time on 14th April 2011, and in her follow-up blog comments the next day in The Daily Telegraph. As if NHS nurses are in charge and to blame for the way the NHS operates. I'd love to see Odone, no doubt on a great salary and living happily in a beautiful home, try being a nurse just for a day. I suspect she may be prepared to revamp her comments radically in favour of the difficulties and challenges and stresses all of them face. But then, maybe NHS nurses, along with any other woman who happens to be hardworking in a poorly paid job, need only take heed of the counsel dished out to women in Honey Money by Hakim: just use your 'erotic capital' and voila, you may find a rich man, but certainly life will become easier because men will treat you better. The whole Waldorf Salad-enchilada-Nine-Frickin-Yards fandango. So that's how to be successful as a modern woman of the Noughties. Wow! Who thought it could be so utterly straightforward as that. All you need to do is "smile", maybe wear high heels, dress in body-shape-enhancing clothes, use a certain appealing tone of voice and - oh! - please don't worry if you or others think you're not pretty; no, says Hakim, erotic capital is really all about your attitude. [The Perfect Woman - ahem] Eva Longoria, here as a Stepford Wife in Desperate Housewives; a male fantasy sexist man's dream version of the perfect woman. Or (no ref to Longoria - rather this idealised woman'!): "Can I get you suds with that, big boy? Or maybe a sprinkling of Erotic Capital from my Hakim Honey Money Pot?" Radical thinking? Does this sort of tripe even merit publication (and by the respectable Allen Lane publishers in the UK, no less!). Hell no: this is pre-90s-typically 1950s/60s/70s attitude towards and about women all over again' perfectly echoing Ira Levin's 1972 bestselling satirical fiction, The Stepford Wives, and the films it inspired. (The first, in 1975, was great - script by William Goldman, directed by Bryan Forbes, and performances by Katharine Ross and Paula Prentiss; the second simply over the top silly, directed by Frank Oz (never very subtle anyway; he should have stuck with movies for kids), and with Nicole Kidman - ghastly in it - and Bette Midler, who is entertaining in it and milks the role for all the camp it's worth and she could muster, both of which are a lot, bless her. ) In Levin's novel, the men's sexist attitudes have led to their desire for and then creation of 'the perfect woman' in an equally perfect, secluded gated community. The robotic-type women are always smiling, the perfect hostess, submissive, forever wanting to please her man and doing so, at his bidding, and most of the time before it. I think this all sounds remarkably similar to what Hakim is advocating in her book and Odone endorses, though both may argue otherwise, namely: A woman should always please the men in their lives, whether co-worker, boss or husband, potential partner or just a guy serving you in a shop or wherever else. Give him a smile, be demure, flutter your eyelids. Paint your face. Massage his tense shoulders from being stressed at being a man in the modern age. Just glow with your erotic capital, m'dear, then all will be well in your world. I mean, jes*sus H frickin unbelievable that this sort of vomit-inducing nonsense is being spouted by a senior academic at one of the leading British universities and is further endorsed by Odone and her absurd statements. Take one such example of Odone, where she says Hakim is: at her best when she provides a refreshing antidote to the boiler-suited, shaved-head thinking that keeps masculinists from reflecting ordinary women's ambitions Who on earth can she possibly be thinking of who is in real life at all like this "masculinist", as she defines it; who, to take her metaphor seriously, even metaphorically dresses/acts/speaks like this - and with a shaved head, too! My goodness, but they must be female monsters, foaming at the mouth, head-butting charming men (for there is no other kind), with their extraordinary women's ambitions! (And even if some women did really dress like that, and really have a shaved head, that Odone wasn't writing metaphorically well - who fricking cares - aren't they still women, with rights and voices to be heard?!) I suppose this is Odone's pathetic attempt at being witty - but at the expense of whom? Women who speak up and challenge the sexist status quo, that's who. God forbid that a woman, to cite Rebecca West, differentiates herself from a doormat; suddenly you'll be thought of as being shaven-headed and boiler-suited in your attitudes. Ah, but her metaphor also is a criticism of any woman who doesn't use her femininity to her advantage, be at work, home or elsewhere; if you aren't, the metaphor seems to imply that you must be a pastiche for a guy; a fake female. The assumptions made by Odone are sexist in themselves, derogatory, and a stereotypical portrayal of what she seems to think is a woman who, otherwise, to quote Rebecca West, differentiates herself from a doormat; i. e. , a feminist who, by definition, speaks up and challenges the status quo. I don't know who's more ignorant of the status quo - Hakim or Odone. As an academic, Hakim really has no excuses; I'm sure of that. In the book review, Odone talks about the gratitude felt towards feminists for "getting rid of sex discrimination", but clearly she's clueless that one such fundamental part of sex discrimination that remains rife and is a global issue, is gender pay disparity. On this alone, there is a mass of research and reports readily available for anyone who has access to the web. On the subject of pay disparity, then, since it is important and that discrimination continues to be faced by the majority of women in the workplace across the globe, despite the backing of their rights in most if not all Western countries through legislation for equal pay, such as with the UK's 1970 Equal Pay Act. So here are a few research reports to illustrate how rife such discrimination is: A Google search alone brings up a wealth (sorry for the pun) of pay disparity independent research and websites. There's also the World Economic Forum's Global Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010 and, as one example into a specific, global major industry, financial services, and produced by the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission , there's a 2009 published Sex Discrimination and Gender Pay Gap Report (on their website, you can find a press summary of the report, the report itself, as well as a fascinating 2011 report from the same organisation, on women being passed over for top jobs). As anyone who is even half-awake about the realities of the world knows, sex discrimination is far from over and Hakim's Honey Money and Odone - far from celebrating women and helping to challenge sex discrimination, objectification of women and trivialisation of them by the appalling notion of "erotic capital" - reinforce such objectification, discrimination etc. (And you can just see the consequences of Honey Money thinking in the City/Wall Street/the financial services industry, or frankly any other male-dominated workplace. Such trivialisation will go down a treat with the guys in power/control, over women who work with or for them, as the women will be at the mercy of their being charged with using "erotic capital", when in fact the women are being *** harassed by the men. "I'm not guilty, m'Lud - she was using erotic capital on me, so I couldn't help but rub my genitals against her bum in the office. She made me do it - she wanted it, when she smiled at me in that way, massaged my shoulders and gave me a metaphorical BJ. ") Most people, I reckon, unfortunately, have enough to contend with: either being in crap jobs, if you're fortunate enough to have a job in the first place and, with women, they have the double-edged sword facing them unlike the majority of men, even now in the Noughties, given most still do all or most of the shopping/cleaning/cooking as well as be a co-wage-earner. Hakim and Odone point to such hardships and argue that was it worth it for feminists to win the fight to the right to work, rather than be pigeon-holed into stay-at-home-mums only. But surely one of the key points of feminism was and remains equal access to all industries and all jobs available, just as it is to make sure of such access to education and pay parity; based on talent, qualifications and experience. Whereas Hakim seems to be saying that adopting a Honey Money attitude towards the men in your life - and Odone clearly endorses this view in her book review - will likely give you a far better chance at a better quality of life than the misery of modern work. Why golly gee - you could probably be lifted off your feet by a rich, dashing, non-gay Rock Hudson, and escape from the drudgery of common working life. But I think we can count such women on one hand, or perhaps one digit, unless you watch the rich women in Orange County and/or already happen to be rich. As for Odone and Hakim - well, they need not worry - one's a published journalist and the other an established academic who seems to sneer at women's rights, while having her own delicious cake to eat. "Do as I say, not as I do", in other words. Ultimately, Honey Money's credo, its advocacy of erotic capital, will be seen for what it is: a sexist revisionism of genuine women's rights and self-empowerment- the Empress's New Clothes, to paraphrase the cliche. It is intellectually dishonest, morally bankrupt thinking that wholeheartedly pejorative towards women. It's explicitly anti-feminist, anti-women's rights in the workplace (to be treated as an equal to men, not to be salivated over as a sex object because of flirting with them), and echoes back to a denigrating time, culture and thinking that is, at most, pre-1980s, and frankly smacks, as indicated earlier, of the 1950s and before. I'm reminded of an age-old sexist chant by men, typically drunk when they sing it, that would agree wholeheartedly with the essence of Hakim's and Odone's arguments. Namely, it seems to me, whether you use your body, tone of voice, eye contact or some such other, you are effectively doing what supposedly funny but only pathetic, sexist drunken men want you to do, when all they chant together at women: "Get your t*its out for the lads." So Hakim and Odone not only seem to disapprove of modern feminism, but worse, think there's no need for feminism or feminists anymore; after all there's no more "sex discrimination" according to them. Talk about backwards, sexist thinking. Even shallow pop culture trivialisations of feminism for young women's consumption - by characterising women's rights as "Riot Grrrl" and, before that, "Girl Power", are genuinely more meaningful, in-depth and useful to women, young and old, than the nonsense of the reviewer and this sociologist; both of whom, via their views, bring shame to the history of women's struggle, and the women who have fought in every sense for their rights. There is nothing to celebrate in two bright women advocating as a way to get ahead that women should focus on their appeal to men via their own looks/consideration of them/flirting with them/body language/tone of voice/femininity.show more
by bobbygw
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