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But seriously...

So, I have a question for my female friends and female-presenting non-binary friends.
For those of us who present as 'feminine' in the more traditional sense (can be having longer hair, wearing skirts or other 'girly' clothing, being soft-spoken and so forth): do you find people are more ready to question your knowledge than they do that of women who are seen as less 'girly' in presentation? It was noticeable in my last academic jobs that my female colleagues with short hair who dressed in suits tended to be taken more seriously than the rest of us, and were less likely to be asked to undertake extra admin jobs and to do emotional caretaking.
I'd be interested in hearing the experiences of others about this.

Skirt of the day: Blue-tiered the 2nd (as distinct from the beloved, much worn, fragile blue tiered the first.)


May. 11th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
If you really want to spit blood, read this:

Horribly reminiscent of instructions given to female solicitors at Freshfields, back in the 80s: wear make-up - or else. A naked face was considered 'poor grooming'. It seems power-dressing still requires those tired old 'feminine' stereotypes. (Personally, if I need to kick some serious ass, I go for the red work dress - very effective so far, and suits aren't my thing!)
May. 11th, 2016 04:11 pm (UTC)
I saw that piece. And yes, grr.
I had a boss in the 80s who would not have a woman in the room if she was wearing trousers.
May. 11th, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC)
I remember that one. Though at least skirts don't actually hurt + damage your body- though they're pretty annoying if you have to climb on furniture(before you ask, yes, my job does require that sometimes!) Worth signing that petition whilst it's still hot?

Edited at 2016-05-11 06:44 pm (UTC)
May. 12th, 2016 03:46 am (UTC)
Mine was in the early 90s. I was reminded during the day to freshen up my makeup and keep my hair properly pulled back. I was once sent home to change clothes because I'd worn knee-length culottes rather than a "real" skirt. And I was a middle manager at the time!
May. 12th, 2016 09:09 am (UTC)
May. 11th, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC)
ps - and if anybody wants to sign the petition to Parliament to outlaw the practice of requiring female employees to wear high heels, the link is here:

The time is now.
May. 11th, 2016 06:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I was hoping there as a petition somewhere I could sign. I have never in my life worn shoes with heels of 2-4 inches. I was a teen in the mid to late sixties when low, chunky heels were fashionable. Since then I've either been self-employed or teaching in FE colleges, which thankfully have no problem with women wearing flat shoes.
May. 11th, 2016 06:30 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I'm also lucky enough to teach in college (6th form) that doesn't try to weld this kind of sexist shite into their 'smart casual' dress code.
May. 11th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
I actually worked for PWC in the days when they did have a lengthy unisex written dress code. Make up was optional but if you wore it, it had to be "discreet".

If my memory is correct, the agency's rules on heel height would have breached the old PWC code which specified a low or medium heel height not high heels as well as banning certain shoe styles which were considered too exciting for accountancy.

May. 11th, 2016 05:46 pm (UTC)
That is fucking horrifying.

The USA has many many faults, but if any company attempted to impose "women must wear heels" here, it would be shot to pieces in the first lawsuit. I'm sure there are companies here that try such things, and where the women go along with it rather than make a fuss, but if it were enshrined in a company document, the liability would be enormous.

There are a few occupations where companies are narrowly permitted to restrict employee self-presentation, but these have to be based on the job requirements (e.g. long hair is unsafe in a machine shop, or hair and beards must be covered in a food prep area), and cannot show gender bias.

Edited at 2016-05-11 05:46 pm (UTC)
May. 11th, 2016 06:35 pm (UTC)
I agree, it's a total outrage. Unfortunately the law here is much muzzier (hence need for parliamentary petition). Apparently it's legal to set different dress codes for men and women, as long as the level of 'smartness' is equivalent (and in this case - and similar cases involving airlines and cabin crew - that allows management to interpret 'smart' => painful for female staff). BBC has an article on the UK legalities here:

Edited at 2016-05-11 06:36 pm (UTC)
May. 12th, 2016 03:31 pm (UTC)
We have at least 3 very strong Federal laws that would be leveled at such a thing here:

1. Clothing choice is considered personal expression here, so there are some protections under our First Amendment (which our Supreme Court has in recent decades defended vigorously and defined broadly).

2. The Civil Rights Act, which forbids gender discrimination, has been interpreted broadly for women's rights most of the time. (Less so for reproductive health, but feet aren't uteruses.)

3. And even if somehow the above failed, ur Americans with Disabilities Act and other medical privacy laws would make it very easy to demand a health exemption.
May. 12th, 2016 04:42 pm (UTC)
On the legalities: detail that made me choke on the cornflakes this morning was: "I've been told by the employment discrimination advice service that because men don't usually wear high heels in non-work life, yet women do, it is not sex discrimination to expect women to wear high heels." WTF? Worrying to think that a body charged with PROTECTING people from discrimination is trying to fulfil its remit by employing the Hard of Thinking.

In better news, case had escalated to R4 Today programme this morning, Katie 'Serena Joy' Hopkins is ranting in the Mail about feminazi petitions, and Thorpe's ex-employers are running for cover, having dropped their heels policy like a hot turd. More importantly, the petition is now well over the 100,000 needed to get parliamentary debate. Getting one employer to back down is great, but we need legislation. But well done Nicola Thorpe (and the 106,584 people (currently) who signed the petition.

Edited at 2016-05-12 04:51 pm (UTC)
May. 11th, 2016 06:29 pm (UTC)
I'd kind of be okay with it if we went back to the historical situation where both sexes were expected to wear makeup. I mean, I totally get its advantages; I just don't think the expectation should be one-sided.

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