Ladies, be warned: should it strike you to apply for a job at Olialia, a Lithuanian firm planning to build a resort in The Maldives, you will need one very particular quality to catch their attention: BLONDE. That's right, Olialia is creating an "Island of Blondes", where the staff will be exclusively made up of blonde women. Oh, and among offerings such as spa treatments and "entertainments", they also plan to have an education center called "Pretty Women", which will "teach female guests to always be perfect and look great." There's the possibility of an airline and yacht service being launched as well, which will also employ only blondes, just in case there are guests who want to start their Barbie overdose vacation ahead of time. Names for this resort are still being debated, with "Olialia Paradise" being tossed around, but I don't know why they don't just go for the obvious, "Vacation Spot for Endorsing the Objectification of Women".
Tourism is the biggest foreign currency earner in The Maldives, with almost 100 resorts in the archipelago, causing all tourist-based businesses to try whatever it takes to draw attention to their industry. But going so far as to hire women based on their hair color and use them as an attraction is not easy to get away with (thankfully), and this idea has been met with questions and outrage. Criticism has included accusing the idea of being sexist, supremacist, and discriminatory towards non-white Maldivians.
For better or for worse, the managing director of Olialia is not some Hefner-esque dirty old man, but rather a blonde woman, Giedre Pukiene, who believes this business approach will counter the ideas that blonde women are less intelligent, saying "Our girls are very smart and they have degrees. (...) All of them want to do something with their lives. They have lots of business ideas." She also claims that her company does not turn down dark-haired women but, "When women with dark hair work here, they are surrounded by all these beautiful blondes, so eventually they end up going blonde too."
It seems like we are meant to believe this is a business ploy to promote blonde women as intelligent rather than playing off the stereotype of blondes as objects of sexual desire and using them to sell a product. This whole plan is absurd to the point where it defies commentary, but let's at least call it what it is: a glorified fetish club where men are given permission to ogle blonde women while their girlfriends/wives/mistresses learn how to be "perfect" for them.
Anyone else disturbed, to say the least?
For more information, view CNN coverage here and BBC coverage here.
PHOTO COURTESY OF serenadante.xanga.com