Boss Lady

Don’t get your breasts out | what’s your business identifier?


‘Don’t get your breasts out’ is a lesson they generally don’t teach you in business school. But perhaps they should, adding an explanation about your personal business identifier. Why?

Recently, I phoned a friend who was en route to a meeting with a new sales representative. “How do you think it will go?” I inquired. “Well if her Facebook picture is anything to go by, it will be interesting” he replied. “How so?” I asked … already confused.

“She had her tits out. If she’s trying to get ahead, I don’t think she’s in the right industry” he said.

Unbeknownst to the sales rep, whom he crowned ‘Tits McGee’, my friend had scoured her social media profiles trying get … ahem … abreast of what kind of person she was. And in every photo, the sales representative showed her charms. Two of the main charms, in fact – and very little else.

And while men might enjoy seeing attractive women in social settings, when they’re presented with overt sexuality in a business setting, they no longer see the woman as an equal. This young businesswoman was positioning herself as no more than a ‘hot blonde’ I explained to my friend, offering him a challenge to test my theory.

I asked him to give me five words that described Michelle Obama in order of relevance. The result: First Lady, Mother, Philanthropist, Wife, Leader.

Then, he did the same for the sales rep. Her result? Blonde. Attractive. Woman. Salesperson. Young.

Through a few scantily-clad social media photos, this woman was reduced, in my friend’s eyes, to a crumble of unflattering adjectives. Her business ‘identifier’ was undermined by clearly unbusinesslike aspects to her social media profile. By the way, the contract they met to negotiate is still to reach resolution, with more than $100,000 weighing on each of her assets.

So how do you cultivate a positive business ‘identifier’ without taking the breasts out?


What are the words that your business associates use to describe you? A man will never introduce you as ‘bedroom eyes’, but how would he identify you behind your back? Ask a cross-section of reputable friends, family, and business partners on how they would define you.

Define yourself

Write a list of the five descriptors that you’d like people to us to describe you, in order of importance. Make this list of descriptors is your new vocabulary. People mirror what you tell them about yourself. Introduce yourself with the most accurate identifier on your list: I’m a journalist/I’m an activist/I’m a mother or three. This is how they will describe you “Oh Sarah Smith… you know… the blogger.”

Be patient

It may take years for others to start echoing your chosen identifiers. It took Pamela Anderson a good decade to transition from ‘sex symbol’ to ‘animal activist’. Angelina Jolie took nearly as long to transition from ‘interesting by weird actress’ to ‘superstar with an intelligent commitment to social welfare causes’.

About Anna James

Anna James is a Brisbane-based journalist who cut her teeth in sports reporting. Currently focusing on business commentating, Anna James contributes to the Business Woman Media and Following her passion for the human interest angle, Anna’s work has been published across a wide range of media including Mamamia, Fox Sports, Woman’s Day, FilmInk Magazine and many others.