July 7th, 2006


Previous Entry Next Entry
12:35 am - on appropriate apparel...

Viki Gambino Mid 4
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
so, I've actually been thinking about this for a few weeks. Ever since the lovely and talented beststephi told me about an article she read about appropriate clothing to be worn in schools. That got me thinking about a lot of issues regarding clothing, and the choices people make and when it is appropriate to make those choices.

So everyone knows how fond of makeovers and dress-up parties I am. So it's not really surprising that I think that clothes are pretty important. But I know a lot of people like to say that they just don't care about clothes. I have to admit. I don't really understand that sentiment. If you don't care about clothes, then why not be a nudist? Or why put any effort into getting dressed at all? Why do you even pay attention to make sure your socks match?

I know so many people who claim they don't even like shopping. That doesn't make any sense to me at all. Really, I'm not gay. I swear.

Steph and I have had this ongoing discussion about what is appropriate to wear to where. Is it ok to dress sexy to work? What about to school? Ok, I might admit that the Viki Gambino picture in this post might be a bit out of range, but for instance, I never understood women who try to dress like men because they think that no one will take them seriously if they look hot or express any sexuality or femininity. Or men who think that it doesn't matter if they look like shit every day. I actually take people much more seriously if they attempt to be attractive on a daily basis.

Similarly I find it odd when parents won't let their daughter (or son) pierce their ears. Where I come from, they put holes in little girls ears when they're infants. How old is old enough for a girl (or boy) to make that decision? What about wearing make-up? Or getting tattoos? I think my little sister got her first tattoo when she was like 15.

So what do people think? How important is dressing up? How much freedom should kids have in deciding what they can wear to school. What's appropriate to wear to work? Do you think less of people who are sexy? More? Do clothes make the man?

Thinking about all this has got me realizing that i haven't actually done a makeover in a while. So who's up for one. As of Friday the 14th, I'm unemployed again, so I should have plenty of time on my hands. Let's go shopping. Also, Jammy Jam is nearly upon us (july 29th), so if any women want my expertise in helping them pick out lingerie so they can win the exciting and valuable prizes, I am of course available for that as well.

(100 comments | Leave a comment)

 
on appropriate apparel... - graffiti.maverick

• Recent Entries
• Friends
• Archive
> ChrisMaverick dot com
• profile


Art & Photography
> 365 Days of Mav
> Elseworld.com
> Mav's Flickr Stream
> MavTV (youtube)
> Party Nook

Wrestling
> International Males
> IWC Wrestling
> BDW Wrestling
> CWF Wrestling

Other
> 1KWFFH
> Mav's DVD Library
> Verdandi (currently down)
> Mav's Schedule (currently down)
> Mav's MySpace
chrismaverick. Get yours at flagrantdisregard.com/flickr

Comments:


[User Picture]From: sugarpinkrose Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:22 am (Link)
I care about clothes. Especially at work. I try to stick to wearing classics to work; quite a few of the people I have worked with can look at you and size up a) which season of which year you bought your outfit b) at which store you bought it and c) how much you spent on it. This is especially true if you are wearing something colorful or faddish. Under those circumstances, black is a relatively safe choice, so I wear a lot of black. I usually wear pants to work but not really in an effort to look masculine, mostly because they are just easier. I'll usually put on black pants and a tailored blouse or shirt. On days I have meetings with clients I try for a suit. Maybe. Usually no jewelry unless I woke up early enough to think of it. While this all probably doesn't sound very feminine, I think I usually do end up looking feminine considering I usually buy clothes that emphasize the waistline, plus I usually wear high heels & makeup.

Whether it's OK to dress sexy for work, well, that totally depends on a lot of different variables: where you work, how you want to be perceived, etc. At the time I worked in an upholstery fabric warehouse, one of my co-workers used to dress extremely sexy. She put up with a lot of wolf whistles and stares from the guys who worked in the warehouse. It plainly made her uncomfortable, and I overheard her more than once say things like "Don't whistle at me, I'm not a dog".

It's funny, I was going to post a question in my livejournal asking opinions whether good looking people get hired ahead of everyone else. I think there might be something to it, what do you guys think?

As for the questions about kids...well...I have no idea. Ask me again when I have some! Haha.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 01:53 pm (Link)
See, the thing is people always say that its wrong to discriminate based on looks. I think that's just plain silly. Would anyone ever say its wrong to discriminate based on intelligence. I'm not going to say that looks are more important than intelligence (though in some jobs it may be). But if two people with similar qualifications, similar intelligence and similar experience have interviewed for the same job, which one are you going to hire, the one with the nice clothes, in good shape and well manicured, or the one that is fat, horribly scarred and has mismatch socks and a dirty t-shirt on.

I'm squarely of the opinion that one should use whatever they have to get ahead. Appearance is one of those things. As is intelligence. Its pretty uncontroversial to think that people should constantly strive to make themselves more intelligent. Why wouldn't you strive to make yourself better looking too?

As for the whistling and catcalls and such, I think that is a gut-wrench reaction that a lot of women have. They say "its inappropriate for men to be treating me that way, if I dress down the harassment will stop." What they fail to realize is that men are a simple and instinct driven gender. We are not possessed of great intelligence. Men will be just as negatively insulting if you look bad as we will positively if you look good (she just may not notice). And we're not THAT stupid. Dressing like a boy isn't going to make guys not notice that a woman has a nice rack. It's just that instead of thinking "GODDAMN! Look at those titties!" we're going to think something like "GODDAMN! Why does she cover up those titties?" We're pretty predictable, really.
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:03 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:12 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:04 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:05 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:18 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 07:50 am (Link)
From: sugarpinkrose Date: July 15th, 2006 - 05:05 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 15th, 2006 - 06:16 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: July 7th, 2006 - 11:33 am (Link)
I am a nudist. However, I'm also a realist, and the reality is that society pretty much as a whole requires clothing. I don't put half the thought into my attire that some people do, but I do try to look decent.

Funny that you should bring up the practice of piercing the ears of babies. I think that it's a cruel practice. Obviously, I'm not against body modifications, but I am against cosmetic surgery done without consent unless it's required to save the patient's life, and babies can't consent.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:23 pm (Link)
I'm torn on the piercing infants thing. While in general, I agree with you on the consent issue, I also have to acknowledge the rights of parents to consent on the behalf of the infants. I think ear piercing for instance is relatively unobtrusive and non-invasive. How do you feel about circumcision on male babies, for instance? What about cosmetic surgery that isn't necessary to save a baby's life but might be a good idea for providing the baby with a relatively normal life. Like repairing a cleft pallate. Or fixing a burn or scar, for instance.
From: jameel Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:40 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:38 pm (Link)
From: jameel Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:46 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:14 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:05 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:15 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:20 pm (Link)
From: pyrtolin Date: July 7th, 2006 - 03:46 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:44 pm (Link)
From: blk Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:00 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:17 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: July 7th, 2006 - 01:09 pm (Link)
I don't really care what people look like, period, and yes, that includes what they are wearing. It's superficial and something that irritates me to no end about our society.

I think sexy is an attitude and has very little to do with what outfit one is wearing. People who say that it shows that you "respect" yourself by being "presentable" can kiss my ass because they are the same people who say things like "fat people are sloppy". It's rude, inconsiderate, and mean.

Regardless, I can't take women seriously in the workplace when I am so distracted by their cleavage or ass-hugging pants that I can't focus on their WORDS. If I'm a (mostly) straight woman saying that, how do (mostly) straight men concentrate at work when women look like that? Ditto for at school, where, frankly, I think it's worse because immaturity gets in the way (well, more immaturity than at work, hopefully) and raging hormones.

DO NOT mistake this as me advocating uniforms for the masses. That's not what I'm saying.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:34 pm (Link)
well, I wouldn't want to mistake rudeness for practicality. And, yes, it may be superficial, but at the end of the day, it is a superficial society. And while you may find it distasteful, you have to admit that there is some usefulness to it, right? I mean, its quite superficial of society to demand that we practice good grammar. Yes, there is a bare minimum of grammar that is needed for proper comprehension, but if a kid says "Me want a cookie" you know what he means, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't correct him to "I want a cookie." At least that's how I feel.

On the other hand, I will acknowledge that there are some things that are inappropriate for work or school. I hope that was clear, but it may not be. Take for instance the picture of Viki that I have on this post. I think that'd be inappropriate to wear to most office jobs. But that doesn't mean that she should go to work in poorly fitted dockers and a flannel shirt any more than it means that she should wear a burlap sack.

You have a (nearly) teenaged daughter, so I'm actually curious as to where you stand on the other issues. I'll grant that you might not allow her to dress like a tramp, but do you allow her more leeway with how she dresses than you might take yourself. Meaning, is she allowed to wear make-up? Pierce her ears? Wear a miniskirt to school? Whatever? And if not, at what age will she be allowed to make such decisions for herself?

I'm actually quite against school uniforms. I think development of individuality is a very important thing for kids to learn while they're in school. <OBPIGGISHNESS>That said, I encourage the catholic schoolgirl look for all women... because... well... yum... </OBPIGGISHNESS>
From: sonbanon Date: July 7th, 2006 - 04:05 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:54 pm (Link)
From: sonbanon Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:18 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:19 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: akiramich Date: July 7th, 2006 - 01:17 pm (Link)
Re the pics of Vicki Gambino: YOIKS!

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:35 pm (Link)
Thanx. I thought her shoot turned out really well, and I'm quite offended at the Fed for not picking her for the Diva Search based on them... Assholes! :-)
From: akiramich Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:44 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:55 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:28 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:28 pm (Link)
From: akiramich Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:39 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:07 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: lacechenault Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:26 pm (Link)
I don’t put much thought into what I wear – in comparison to a lot of women. I do like shopping, when I have the money for it, which is rare. But I don’t try super hard to match, or be up to date. I actually prefer goodwill shopping.

The only time I really ever tried to look good at work is when I was a bartender, and only because my boss told me I dressed too “frumpy” needed to be more sexy for bartending. So, I tried. So, I guess it all depends on the job you have – for an office job I think just looking neat and clean is appropriate, if a bit of sexiness is thrown in that’s ok, just not to the hooker/pimp extreme. And as far as kids in school go, I will never let my little girl dress like a hooch, ever. I’m just not into being sexy – I may be sexy when doing the belly dance thing, but that’s all for me, and feeling good about myself, never for other people. And I fear that a 14 year old girl wouldn’t be dressing sexy for herself, it would be for the boys, and boys just want the poontang.

I would let them get their ears pieced, at the appropriate age, say 11 or 12. But I couldn’t pierce an infant, to me, that’s just wrong. But, then again I never wear earrings, my ears and pieced and on the yearly occasion that I might wear earrings for fun, I always have to repeirce the holes in my ears a bit. Heck as a belly dancer, I’m actually unique for NOT having a belly button piercing.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:45 pm (Link)
How old is your daughter, anyway? I know you've had a little girl as long as I've known you, so at bare minimum she's like 5. But I never knew how old she was then.

If you could, I kinda wonder about your answers to the same questions I asked sonbanon above. There's a difference between dressing like a hooch and being sexy. At what point will you let your daugther explore that for herself? You said you'd let her get her ears done at the appropriate age. How did you arrive at the age of 11 or 12? Is she allowed to pick out her own clothes (with supervision)? What about make-up? When is that allowed?

As for the "dressing sexy for the boys comment." While I understand your point, I don't totally agree with it (or totally disagree with it). I think that a 14 year old girl definitely wants to feel attractive for herself, and I don't know that I have a problem with her wanting attention from others (within reason of course -- there is a point where that attention could be dangerous, and that attention shouldn't come exclusively from appearance, but I think its ok to want to be the prettiest, just like I think its ok to want to be the smartest, funniest, nicest and most athletic. I would hope that when I have kids, they'd strive for it all.)
From: lacechenault Date: July 7th, 2006 - 03:30 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:00 pm (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:35 pm (Link)

Gambino?

With Mickey and Marshall being shoe leather ugly, any possibility she's adopted?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:04 pm (Link)

Re: Gambino?

I wouldn't say such things... the gambinos have a way of making people disappear.
[User Picture]From: jacquez Date: July 7th, 2006 - 02:57 pm (Link)
It's not that "no one will take them seriously if they look hot or express any sexuality or femininity". It's--well, the thing is, that's partially true. In a lot of areas, it's harder to be taken seriously if you're female and wear very feminine attire. But "any" is too strong, in my experience. I wear clothing that tends to show off the fact that I have a small waist; I also wear tops that are a little lower-cut than many people wear. Not *too* low-cut, though - I'm doing this balancing act, this thing where I have to wear clothes that make me look competent and professional by minimizing my weight, making my boobs look smaller, always looking neat and tidy, not showing bra straps, and so on.

Because I'm heavyset and have big boobs, the "minimizing my weight" and "making my boobs look smaller" are really, actually important. People react to me differently if I don't do those things. They *do* take me less seriously. And I actually *have* to express some femininity in dress in order to make those aspects work; I *have* to use accessories and my small waist size and girly-style layers (like a camisole under a suit jacket) to give the impression I need to give to do my damn job.

When my job didn't involve any interacting with the public, I had blue hair and wore slogan t-shirts and ratty jeans. But now it does, and I can't do that and expect to be worth my salary.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:13 pm (Link)
I think you agree with me... (or I agree with you)

its so hard to tell.

The blue hair vs. feminine suit based on job requirements thing is a good example. I kinda touched on that way back here in 2003. It was never that you didn't care what you looked like. If you did, you wouldn't have bothered to invest in the dye. It was that you were attempting to promote a certain look. You wanted that look to evoke a certain reaction in others. As opposed to what I perceive as people thinking they can somehow get NO REACTION based on their appearance, and I just don't think that's feasible. You haven't changed. Its just that now the reaction you need to evoke is different so you present a different appearance in order to achieve that.
From: jacquez Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:05 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:59 pm (Link)
From: gwenix Date: July 24th, 2006 - 07:56 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 24th, 2006 - 08:08 pm (Link)
From: gwenix Date: July 24th, 2006 - 08:11 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 24th, 2006 - 08:24 pm (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 7th, 2006 - 03:05 pm (Link)
Isn't it strange that catholic schools make catholic school girls wear catholic school girl outfits?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:14 pm (Link)
I don't think its strange at all... For God So loved the world...
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:18 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:04 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:13 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:09 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: mokatz Date: July 7th, 2006 - 03:34 pm (Link)
Monica and I have decided that we're not going to pierce Ariana's ears now, but as soon as she asks to have them pierced (kindergarden, 5th grade, whenever), we'll take her.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:22 pm (Link)
sounds plenty reasonable to me. When she's 4 and asks for facial tattoos are you gonna let her do that too? :-)
From: blk Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:05 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:05 pm (Link)
From: ex_hidden_tr761 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:09 pm (Link)
oh my. so many ideas/comments floating around my head. first of all: makeover??? if i had the cash for one.... second of all: jammy jam = w00t! ok, on to serious matters.

i am one of those people who 'doesn't care.' i wear clothes that are supposedly appropriate for work, i.e. closed toe shoes, covering shoulders, no leg exposed. (i work in a pretty conservative office right now). i do that so that they'll pay me. other than that, it's whatever is clean on my floor when i wake up in the morning. i want people to pay attention to me for me not for how sexy i can dress. sometimes, yes, i do 'dress up' as it were, all sexy-like. when i'm going out with people i like or going clubbing/dancing/partying/whathaveyou. but it's for me. I want to feel sexier so i wear something sexier. it really is all about attitude. i could be sexy is greasy mechanics over-alls or a granny nightgown IF i felt sexy. plus, i do enjoy the occasional power suit when it's called for.

what is appropriate to wear to work/school? this one's tougher. school: i think that everyone should be allowed to wear whatever they are comfortable learning in. in HS (and some of college) i showed up to class in PJs. of course, some girls showed up in underwear. but when in history did we decide that female sexuality is bad that we have to hide it? (sometime last century, i know...) do i think it's appropriate for 15 year old girls to dress like whores? no. but what's your definition of 'whore'? same goes in the office. wear what YOU are comfortable wearing - but what your colleagues are comfortable seeing you in. but then that brings in the question of teamwork and community responsibility. if i am offending my neighbor do i continue because it's my life and i'll do what i want or do i stop out of love and courtesy to my neighbor? it's a choice.

alright, enough rambling. i am done posing MORE questions.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:36 pm (Link)
Hey! Jammy Jam is totally a very important serious matter!

Actually, on the other stuff, you're a pretty similar wavelength to me. One of the problems I have with my current (soon to be ending) job is that even though it is extremely rare that I have to talk to anyone in person, I don't have the option of even wearing jeans when I want to. Sometimes I like to dress up, sometimes I like to dress for comfort. On a day when I have to sit in my cube and work for 10 hours, I should definitely be able to do the latter, and I can't.

I don't see how you are saying you "don't care" though. It sounds like you do, but you want the decision to be left up to your mood (which I support) as opposed to dictated to you by others.

The denegrating of female sexuality is another thing I have a serious problem with. And while its related, that's a whole other can of worms to be opening up. I kinda touched on it a bit. I think being able to be attractive/sexy/cute/whatever is pretty important in life. I'm not saying it should be required, but I don't think genius intelligence should be required either. But I definitely don't approve of people looking at either one as though it was superfluous.
From: ludimagist Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:26 pm (Link)

Speaking of wearing underwear in public...

From: ex_hidden_tr761 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:42 pm (Link)

Re: Speaking of wearing underwear in public...

From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:23 pm (Link)

Re: Speaking of wearing underwear in public...

[User Picture]From: pyrtolin Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:45 pm (Link)
Given recent events, this is an amusing thing for me to think about.

I spent a long time in the camp of clothes simply being functional. Protection from the elements and such (I mean, would you want to sit on a public bus without at least one layer of clothing protecting you?) and to maintain social acceptability.

I got over overall disregard pretty easily, understanding that the more presentable you are, the more comfortable other people are with you. That, really is, I think, the problem with people who dress down completely. It's not that they don't care about how they look, but that they're sending a strong message of "My comfort matters more to me than yours." That's, obviously, a very damaging message to send in any professional context.

Understanding isn't really the same as appreciating, though. It's only very recently that I've gotten a feel for the later- the sheer enjoyment that can come from actually trying to look good and having the work put into it affirmed.

My instinct, based on where I can see my previous attitudes are coming from, is that a lot of people have, at best, no appreciation of their appearance, if not an outright negative one. It beomces easier, then, to declare themselvs "beyond" such common vanity and boost themselves up by lumping together anyone who puts effort into looking good as shallow and superficial.

Not that there aren't those who are so obsessed by their looks that they do fit that description, but the truth is, as long as you don't get too worked up about it, it's just another way to have fun. Some people will enjoy it more than others, certainly. But, keeping a sense of what's most effective and appropriate in what situation is just part of the game.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:42 pm (Link)
My instinct, based on where I can see my previous attitudes are coming from, is that a lot of people have, at best, no appreciation of their appearance, if not an outright negative one. It beomces easier, then, to declare themselvs "beyond" such common vanity and boost themselves up by lumping together anyone who puts effort into looking good as shallow and superficial.


That's actually a good way of summing up my feelings, more or less. I'm not absolutely in a greement, but I'm maybe 90% there. I think people who feel they aren't "one of the beautiful" reject it as an ideal because its easier than believing something is wrong with them. To me, that is just as wrong as the jocks and cheerleaders rejecting the nerds for their geekiness and intelligence. I'm not saying that beauty is more important than intelligence. I'm saying both are valuable and I'm saying that there is nothing wrong with aspiring to both (nor is there anything wrong with achieving neither).
From: pyrtolin Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:57 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:13 pm (Link)
From: pyrtolin Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:56 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 07:08 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: July 7th, 2006 - 05:53 pm (Link)
As far as why should we value looks any less than intelligence: for me, the answer is that it's easy to put on a sexy outfit and some makeup and have men gawk. But it's harder to, say, get published. And there's something in me that values effort-based achievment.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 06:59 pm (Link)
I don't disagree with what you said, but I have two problems with it.

1) The two things are mutually exclusive. Putting on a sexy outfit and making men gawk doesn't stop you from getting published. Nor does getting published make you any less sexy. Therefore, why relate them at all. Is being published more important than learning to drive? Or enjoying jazz? Or liking sushi? There's no good way to even make those relations.

2) I think your scale is off. By publishing, I assume you meant, like in a psychology journal. Yes, that's harder for you to do than wearing a short skirt and getting some guy walking down the street to look at you. But I publish myself on the internet all the time. That's trivial. To look at it another way. Its hard for you to get published, sure. But as I am discussing with akiramich above, Viki's goal wasn't "get men to state" it was "be a WWE Diva Search finalist." I'd argue that its far easier to get your thesis published than it is to win that, or even make it into the semi-finals.

I'm not saying that a person has to be the most beautiful or the most intelligent. I'm saying why not aspire to both? Venus Williams for instance, has done both modeling and has studied interior design (and owns a company that does that). And yet, I expect she'd say that winning 5 Grand Slam tennis championships was harder than either of those things.
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:31 pm (Link)
From: beststephi Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:52 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:10 pm (Link)
From: beststephi Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:31 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:40 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:28 pm (Link)
From: beststephi Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:41 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:19 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:43 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:15 pm (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 7th, 2006 - 09:50 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 07:35 am (Link)
From: marmal8 Date: July 8th, 2006 - 04:57 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 05:08 pm (Link)
From: beststephi Date: July 7th, 2006 - 07:43 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: July 7th, 2006 - 08:47 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: sundaygray Date: July 7th, 2006 - 10:24 pm (Link)

Part I of huge message about women, clothes, workplace

[{I never understood women who try to dress like men because they think that no one will take them seriously if they look hot or express any sexuality or femininity.}]

That's because you're not a woman. I think it's a very very careful balancing act --one which I agonize over even though I really love clothes AND shopping.

I'm feelnig random, so I'm just going to free-associatedly riff on this subject beccause I have a few stories in mind. They all revolve around teaching, because that is my job.

Story #1: As any of you who know me in RL can attest to, in the past, I have loved playing with my hair. The majority of the time I spent in college, my hair was either shaved to the scalp or dyed every color of the rainbow. When I got to grad school, I expressed a lot of apprehension about continuing this. Most of the time I was there, my hair was one monochromatic shade of black. When I expressed a passing angst that I wished I could have purple hair again, many of my friends said, "Why don' t you just dye it? You're in grad school; you teach college English and creative writing. You artsy people are supposed to look like that." At which point I wanted to slap them.

Because see, until I am both independently wealthy and have a pulitzer winning book of poems, I do rely on someone else for my employment. And it matters what they think about the way I look, act, and express my opinions in the classroom. It's about getting ahead in your chosen field. I can guarantee you that, unless you work in the tattoos/piercing industry/rock music, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that your boss will have a purple mohawk. It is also unlikely that *if* your boss is a woman, she will not be coming to work showing mad cleavage. I don't go to work in a strappy low-cut tank top because I *will* get taken less seriously --the market is very competitive and such a look makes SOME PEOPLE just you as either immature or cheap or both. And when they convene a meeting of Very Important People to decide who gets contracts and who doesn't, I sure don't want anyone thinking about my breasts.

Story #2 coming up.

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 06:26 am (Link)

Re: Part I of huge message about women, clothes, workplace

don't make the mistake of assuming that by "dress femininely" I mean dress trampy or slutty. There's a big difference. A HUGE difference in fact. I'm not saying come to work looking like Britney Spears. I'm saying don't come to work dressed like Bill Gates. You're actually quite wrong in the assumption that a successful female business woman wouldn't wear something exceptionally feminine. In fact, women in business are far more likely to wear something feminine than masuline. I work in 60 story sky scraper with tons of corportate women in the bank, law, and business worlds. Trust me on this one. More later, once I've read the rest of your stories.
[User Picture]From: sundaygray Date: July 7th, 2006 - 10:25 pm (Link)

Part 2 of very long message about women, clothes, workplace

Story #2: For Linda Flower's Community and Literacy class, I actually wrote a paper called Resistant Appearance and Work Identity. We were mentoring "inner city youths" on "literacy and the culture of work." At the time, I believe, my hair was cut in a short bob and colored a bright raspberry. I wrote two case studies about these two boys that I had mentored: Thomas and Jamal. We talked a lot about getting a job that semester. It was something the three of us were extremely apprehensive and resentful about, I think, but we all had to get one. Granted, I was graduating from college, and they needed after school jobs, but money was money and we were all, in our own ways, freaking out that we'd have to completely ditch our external personae to get a job.

The boys were having a really hard time getting interviews because they would go into a mall, dressed in their weekend clothes, go into the FootLocker or the Orange Julius, ask for an interview, and the manager would be like, "Um, sorry. We don't need anyone right now and we don't anticipate hiring forever and ever so don't fill out an application." The managers thought they were baby thugs. I hadn't gone on any interviews yet but I was getting extreme pressure from my parents, and other adults in my life, that it was time to "grow up and get rid of that hair and that eveningware you like to wear during the day."

The thesis of my paper was that resistence to workplace attire happens when the background you come from (goth, punk, b-boy, christina aguilera follower) requires you to make drastic shifts in your appearance. Because if whatever subculture you belong to relies at all on appearance, it feels like changing your appearance makes a drastic shift in your Self. That appearance is sort of a self resume, and that's why it's hard to give up. The problem is that the things we wear are signs but *for different people they DO NOT signify the same thing.* Meaning, a black lacy camisole, bondage choker, and dark lipstick might signify sexy and gothy TO ME but to my boss it signifies "probably on drugs/will dip in the register/ will not show up for work on time." Yes, this sucks. And in an ideal world where the boss gets to sit down with every candidate and have a personal in-depth conversation so that we can convince him or her of our intellgence, diligence, good character, etc. maybe it wouldn't matter if Thomas looked like a rapper or if I looked like the lead singer for Rasputina. Or maybe it would. Maybe the customers would steer clear. Maybe the parents would pull their kids out of my class. Maybe my boss would say that I am providing a distracting learning environment.

Story #3 coming up.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 06:30 am (Link)

Re: Part 2 of very long message about women, clothes, workplace

I totally agree with everything said here. That's kind of my point. (well, I don't know that I really feel that in an ideal world people wouldn't judge on appearance. I think that the ability to make a statement with your appearance is a good thing, if used correctly).

Again... more later.
[User Picture]From: sundaygray Date: July 7th, 2006 - 10:35 pm (Link)

Part 3 of very long message....

I'm sure you'll be glad to know that this is the final part of the message. I'm getting sick of thinking about it. :)

So, I read this article awhile back about this woman who taught in a fairly conservative school district. She taught K-12 --I don't remember which grade. She got pregnant and kept teaching right up until it was time to have the baby. Of course, during the last trimester she looked very very pregnant. It become difficult for her to find clothes that would cover her large belly. During class one day, she was doing something slightly strenuous, like erasing the board, stretching, moving desks around --something --when her shirt came untucked or unfastened or something, and ta-da, her pregnant belly was suddenly on view to everyone. Just a stupid wardobe malfunction, right? Forget about it and move on, right? She was actually *sued* by the parents because her clothes were a distraction to the students.

Granted, this is an extreme case. But, for most jobs, women have a lot to think about when they get dressed for work. More so then men, I believe.

I know that you, chrismaverick, would probably deny that you would take a woman less seriously because she showed off her feminine side at work. But you're not the person in charge. Also, there's a lot of different points of view on what constitutes "feminine" and what is veering into the territory of "she looks like a tart." It's going to be different for every workplace, probably every supervisor. Just as you judge some guy for coming to work in "poorly fitting dockers and flannel shirt," and I probably wouldn't notice, there is some supervisor out there who is not comfortable with the tightness, shortness, strappiness of my shirt, whereas you wouldn't count it against me.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 07:06 am (Link)

Re: Part 3 of very long message....

ok... now all the comments... I'll start with a brief comment on this story (like I did with the other 2)and then go to the overall comments.

see, in this case, I would argue that the problem here is that the courts should have protected the woman. Shit happens. She (at least in your telling of the case) was making every effort to be appropriate and something bad happened. Tough break, but oh well. You don't sue over that. Or if you do, you should lose. In the end, this isn't really an allegory about appropriate dress, its an allegory about a failing of the legal system.

Now onto the overarching comments for all three stories, summed up in the final paragraph you wrote here:

Again, you are confusing sexy and feminine. Or moreover, I think you are assuming that I am. I'm not. You'll note that I pointed out that Viki's outfit above, while perfectly hot for a wrestling photoshoot, wouldn't be school/work appropriate. But the same is true for the other extreme. Its just not PC to say so.

Am I in charge of my office right now? No, but I do work there. And there have been times that I have been in charge. In the past several years I have worked in a whole bunch of different aspects of corporate America and I can tell you without fail that your assumption is wrong. Bosses in corporate America, both male and female, both young and old, would very much prefer that their workstaff be as attractive as possible.

For one, simply put, its better for business. For another, its simply more professional. This isn't even just clothing. The company I'm with right now, as well as several of our clients actually have what they call lifetime health initiatives. Basically, this means that they actually have employee incentives to get them to lose weight and be in atheletic shape.

There are tons of Fortune 500 companies that actually have rules against women wearing pants. Not all of them. Maybe not even half. But it is certainly not uncommon to have that sort of rule. The assumption that many women make is "men won't take me seriously because I have boobs. I must cover the boobs and make myself appear unattractive to be as masculine as possible and survive in the male world." That assumption is quite quite faulty. The reality of the situation is "men won't take you seriously because you have boobs, but if you try to look masculine they'll actually take you even less seriously, so embrace your femininity, use it to your advantage, and fight to do better than making 80 cents to my dollar." I'm obviously not saying that's right. I'm saying that it is.

I was hoping that I'd get a couple opinions here from some more corporate people. But I haven't really been so lucky. Suffice it to say, what I'm really getting at here is that your story #2 is actually quite representative of the world. Not just the retail world. But the business world. My problem is, and the point I was trying to make is, that I think a lot of women assume that the proper outfit to wear is a frumpy one that makes them look less attractive and less distracting. A lot of men simply don't understand the issue at all and therefore don't put any thought into it. Both of these types of people are as wrong as your Thomas and Jamal.

Look at the Victoria's Secret Suits and Separates collection. That is pretty acceptable office attire for women. Is it trampy? Not at all. It's what is appropriate. Dressing like Bill Gates on the other hand, while not necessarilly "inappropriate" just isn't going to get you ahead anywhere either.

Btw, I tried to find a plus size online store to link to just to point out that I was talking about the clothes and not just models. But I don't really know the names of that many plus size stores. And of the ones I do know, like Lane Bryant, they don't show the clothes with women inside them. That said, you'll also note that Lane Bryant's Suit Collection is also quite feminine and not at all dumpy.
From: sundaygray Date: July 8th, 2006 - 02:49 pm (Link)

Another big reply (section 1)

From: sundaygray Date: July 8th, 2006 - 02:50 pm (Link)

Re: Another big reply (section 2)

From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 04:44 pm (Link)

Re: Another big reply (section 2)

From: chrismaverick Date: July 8th, 2006 - 04:09 pm (Link)

Re: Another big reply (section 1)

 

• Go to Top
LiveJournal.com