Recently, the prestigious Loyola Law School issued a memo to students including a statement about how female students should dress when clerking.
As is often the case with professional dress codes, women’s clothing choices were addressed, with no suggestions about what is appropriate for men.
This gets at the double bind faced by women in something as simple as choosing what to wear to work. On the one hand, women are encouraged to look beautiful in their work appearance, as traditionally defined in our culture. On the other hand, often women are judged for looking too “sexy.”
Ultimately women’s job performance should not be evaluated on their appearance. It is an example of how “appearance counts” as a theme of femininity affects women in their professional lives in a significant way.
As Drexler argues here in a CNN editorial about the memo what should matter most is, “how women perform their jobs, and not which shoes they happened to choose that morning.”
Here’s an example of what Barbie would look like if she reflected average measurements. The creator of these photos asks, “If there’s even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?”
The article draws from a blog published by artist Nickolay Lamm – another example of an “everyday” person bringing national attention to a gender-related issue via social media.
Here is a link to an article about the young boy who decided to dress as Daphne for Halloween one year. The blog the mother wrote about it is also very interesting – both the blog and the comments responding to her give insight into how closely many people believe gendered norms should be followed, as well as the assumptions people make about sexuality and decisions to act outside of gendered norms.
After reading about parenting and nonverbal forms of communication, you all will appreciate this funny video of a little girl discussing her opinion of the way toys are marketed to girls and boys!
This is a great example of how people can challenge gendered norms and how parents/other significant role models can help shape children’s gendered identities. I’m sure that someone had been talking to little Riley about playing with different types of toys before this video was shot! It’s a great example of how we can make differences in children’s lives.