You all know I’m against women dressing inappropriately at work, but not for the reasons you might think.
It basically has to do with how dressing immodestly actually damages all that women have fought hard to obtain: It’s a very pro-woman (but anti-feminist) argument that you should read for a little background on today’s post.
Now, it seems like someone at investment firm Ernst Young (EY) read that particular post because it made them decide to institute these so-called seminars to teach women what to wear at work.
(Just kidding, I don’t have such grandiose visions of my blog’s viewership. Plus, if they had read my piece, they’d have concluded that proper attire has little to do with men.)
Anyways, according to CBS News, a report on female leadership and empowerment that a third-party company prepared for and held seminars about at EY (first uncovered by HuffPost) gave women tips for how to supposedly succeed at the firm.
I write “supposedly” because although some of its recommendations aren’t all that crazy, others (on female traits, brain sizes, etc.) are rather weird. You can read about more of them on the CBS article.
I want to now concentrate on the part about work attire for women, since I’ve written about that specific issue before. According to the HuffPost piece:
One section of the document is devoted to women’s appearance: Be “polished,” have a “good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type,” …. But then, a warning: “Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).” …
Jane [a pseudonym] recalls being told that if you want men to focus on the substance of what you’re talking about, “don’t show skin.” If you do, men are less likely to focus “because of sex,” Jane recalls being told. The advice made her “feel like a piece of meat,” she said. [Emphasis my own.]
Now, no offense to Ms. Jane there, but facts don’t care about your feelings.
However, despite of her objections, I won’t lie: EY went about those seminars the wrong way. Notice the two sections I highlighted above:
“Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”
“if you want men to focus on the substance of what you’re talking about, ‘don’t show skin’. If you do, men are less likely to focus ‘because of sex’…”
In my opinion, and unless you work in the adult entertainment industry, you shouldn’t instruct women to dress a certain way for the sake of men.
Men will have thoughts regardless of what women wear anywhere.
And I know I’ve written about not showing too much skin at work–especially if you’re surrounded by (married) men–because to me, it’s disrespectful to those men AND to the woman flaunting her body.
But the way I see it, it shouldn’t be about women not hiding skin so as not to distract their male counterparts. Screw what they think. EY, that’s not a good reason for requiring women to look professional and cover up. Apparently EY was either sorry it got caught or genuinely realized its mistake because those seminars were canceled when these issues were brought to life in mid-2018.
No, the reason for asking women to look respectable at work and not reveal too much skin from areas that don’t merit workplace attention is so that the playing field is leveled and they can be admired for what they KNOW rather than what assets they show off.
Dressing inappropriately at work makes your body the focal point when what should be praised about you is your intellect, wisdom, resourcefulness, and savvy decision-making. Not your cup size or the number of squats you do daily.
Again, it’s not about men.
Though if you work with mostly men, what’s the point of looking like you’re going clubbing during the day or showing them so much of your legs and chest?
Seriously, why do some women do this? And don’t come at me with, “Short skirts make me feel powerful! I’m a powerful woman; hear me roar! I can wear whatever I want!” nonsense. At work, you’re an EMPLOYEE. Employees need to abide by a certain group of rules when it comes to attire and those rules exist for a reason.
But some women equate “power” and “feminism” with impropriety and justify wearing tasteless clothes at work while at the same fighting for “equal” rights and to not be considered sexual objects–even while looking like one. It boggles my mind!Dressing inappropriately at work makes your body the focal point when what should be praised about you is your intellect, resourcefulness, and savvy decision-making. Click To Tweet
But I digress.
I’ve worked in professional settings and I personally was never comfortable wearing things that invited attention where I didn’t want it. Past colleagues can attest to it: I have great style and when I dressed up, I looked tasteful and professional. But I was always also modest because the men with whom I worked ≠ the only one I want that kind of attention from.
It’s not difficult: Respect yourself, respect your bodies, and (if you’re in a committed relationship), respect your partner by looking respectable. Only then will your true worth (again, your intellect, your wisdom, your skills, your character, your morals, and so on)–and not the factors that you claim shouldn’t matter even though you parade them nonstop–become obvious to the world.
But if you want to go ahead and somehow misinterpret that and/or choose to take offense by a simple recommendation that might benefit you in the long run, that’s on you :). I’ll go ahead and keep living my great life over here while you fume over the truth.
Til next time!