July 7th, 2006

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12:35 am - on appropriate apparel...

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on appropriate apparel... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[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.

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