Some are calling it blonde ambition, while others say it is just plain racist — but a Lithuanian company is going ahead with plans to build a resort on one of the Maldive Islands that will only allow blondes to be staff members.
The Lithuanian company, Olialia, pronounced “ooh-la-la”, is also planning flights to the island with an all-blonde crew, according to the BBC, when the resort opens in 2015.
Apparently, the company is out to show the world that blondes aren’t dumb. They are present in 75 business sectors and recorded a profit of US$10-million this year.
Olialia’s blonde managing director, Giedre Pukiene (blonde, of course,) says she wants to break the stereotype that blonde women are less intelligent.
“Our girls are very smart and they have degrees,” she says. “All of them want to do something with their lives. They have lots of business ideas.”
The project was officially unveiled this weekend at a party with a blonde dress code, in a new nightclub in Vilnius opened by Olialia.
But hold on a second. While the company seems to be treating this like some sort of weird affirmative action program, let’s look at the numbers.
For instance, researchers have found blonde women are paid more than other women by 7%, rich men like them better, and they legitimately have more fun.
It’s safe to say they are probably the last group of people in the world that need their own company because of how they are viewed by the general population.
But Olialia could soon run into troubles. When it was announced on the Maldivian news website “Minivan” in September, many readers condemned it as discriminatory by potentially excluding non-white Maldivians.
“This is racist and should not be allowed in the Maldives,” wrote one reader identified as Ablo. Local laws could make things difficult as resorts in the Maldives are required to hire at least 50% local staff.
In Lithuania itself, which is a member of the European Union, there is the question about whether stipulating blonde hair as a criterion for a job applicant contravenes EU employment laws.
But don’t worry! Because blondes are clearly so great and amazing – Giedre Pukiene says her company does not discriminate and welcomes all applicants, no matter what their gender, age, ethnicity or hair colour.
She is confident that any non-blonde who wants the job would totally want to dye her hair to fit in. “But we find that when women with dark hair work here, they are surrounded by all these beautiful blondes, so eventually they end up going blonde too,” she said.
However, other critics call the company’s entire marketing strategy sexist. They fear that using cliched sexual images of blondes to sell products simply confirms negative stereotypes.
“It’s clear they are not selling the idea that blondes are clever,” says Latvian journalist Sanita Jemberga, herself brunette.
“They are selling the idea that blondes are sexy, because sex sells. They have found their unique selling point, which is Baltic women and sex.”
All the company’s products are advertised using images of sexy blonde women in improbably intellectual situations.
An ad for Olialia’s own-brand cola, for example, shows glamorous high-heeled blonde scientists concocting rather unlikely-looking laboratory experiments to make the drink (see the picture above.)
Olialia says it expects to double its annual net profit to $10 million dollars this year, and claims that over 80% of Lithuanians recognise the brand.
Olialia’s growing business is just one sign of a bizarre blonde movement in the Baltics which describes itself as liberation from stereotypes for blonde women. [via BBC]