Today I came across a blog post that made me double check if this was the year 2013, and that I hadn’t somehow traveled backward in time to an Amish farm.
From the blog of Ellie Cachette, founder and CEO of ConsumerBell:
And this isn’t an issue of women or not, there’s three ladies on the panel below wearing pants. The difference? Panel topic. Let’s stop dressing up as traditional women roles while trying to pretend to be rule breakers. Actions speak louder than words so put some pants on.
You can click over to her blog for a comparison of what she considers to be an inappropriately dressed panel of dress-wearing hussies and, below it, an appropriately dressed panel which, lo and behold, she herself is on.
While it’s possible that her concern may be coming from a place of compassion for women who have found themselves embarrassed by wardrobe malfunctions when conference hosts seat panelists in elevated, director-style chairs, it comes across as petty feminist shaming.
There are so many kinds different forms of self-expression via wardrobe out there, surely there is no need to call for a ban on one particular style of dress. The thing that bothers me most about this argument though, is that it places the responsibility of professionalism all on the woman, when idealistically, men should be able to control their impulses in the face of a woman in a professional setting, regardless of what she is wearing. To me, this logic is reminiscent of people who blame street harassment on the victim for dressing in a certain way, or sexual assault on the victim for asking for it. What I’ve observed about both of those scenarios is, it doesn’t matter what a person wears or does — if a man acts inappropriately or illegally, it’s his fault, and it’s usually done based on a desire to exhibit power over the victim.
Slippery slope, Ellie. Slippery slope. Once you start dictating how women should dress, for their own benefit, it really doesn’t have to stop until we’re all in burquas, for our own benefit. And the thing about burquas is that they’re fantastic for the women who wear them because that’s what they feel comfortable in. But it gets problematic when they’re involuntarily imposed.
This all obviously isn’t to say that women shouldn’t dress with a regard for cultural and professional standards on a case by case basis. But hearing a woman take a swipe at all wearers of short dresses is problematic.
So, I’ll keep wearing skirts of whatever length, or pants, as I deem appropriate in whatever situations I find myself in. And if a guy mistakes me for an Azure Girl, I’ll correct him and he’ll feel like a douche and think twice before he makes an assumption like that again.