Corcoran’s skirt comments draw fire

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Entrepreneur and real estate investor Barbara Corcoran has become a mainstay on ABC’s Shark Tank TV program. She gives out advice and, occasionally, offers to invest in the ideas presented by people on the program. Most of the advice offered on the show is high-minded and directly business related. Often delivered with her own special flair.


Recently, though, that “flair” went a bit too far for some folks, getting Corcoran in some hot water with fans. You probably already guessed this, but the PR scandal began with an errant tweet that some folks absolutely did not appreciate. Corcoran said:

“I find running a business in a man’s world to be a huge advantage. I wear bright colors, yank up my skirt and get attention…”

Therein lies the controversy. Apparently, a successful woman admitting — even jokingly — to using sex appeal to get ahead creates a firestorm of puritanical gnashing of teeth.

One of the primary people to take offense was Eileen Carey, CEO of Glassbreakers, who said Corcoran is sending the wrong message: “As a millennial, we’re expecting to be judged by our intelligence, our hustle, and our creativity. Not by what we’re wearing…”

Corcoran, though, didn’t take the bait. Sticking to her guns in an appearance on television: “I totally believe what I said. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised by getting any reaction to it… It’s so obvious that if you’re a woman or a man, it’s nothing to do with what sex you are, you’ve really got to play up what you’ve got. I happen to have great legs. I didn’t have the best face always or the best body, but I have great legs. So if I want to get attention, and I still do it, I wear my skirts really high, I yank up my skirt at the midriff, and I walk into a room, and everybody notices me because I’ve got great legs.”

And Corcoran wasn’t done: “I think it’s a great gimmick actually if you are smart enough to get attention. And I don’t think that’s sexual in any way, but that’s what makes the horse race, right?” This isn’t Corcoran’s first foray into reality-based advice for people who want the world to work the way they would prefer rather than how it actually does. Take, for instance, her book: “If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails.”

Despite all the provocative bluster and headline-stealing content, Corcoran says it all comes down to brains — knowing what business is really like and how to make the right decisions in certain situations. Results matter. And that’s something the critics can’t deny.

David Milberg is a financial analyst from NYC.