Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dress for Female or Male Professors

Chronicle Careers: 08/10/2005: "Female professors are supposed to know how to dress; it's part of the gender performance on which we're evaluated. Failing to dress well suggests an incompetence that might undermine a woman's authority in other areas. If she doesn't even know how to dress, the student thinks, how could she possibly know that this paper deserves a C?

Male professors aren't expected to have any fashion sense, so relying on that old standard, 'guy casual,' can't hurt them. Professor Lang goes so far as to say, 'I wear the clothes my wife buys for me,' suggesting that there's no need for him to think about his wardrobe at all, unless he chooses to."

Boy, is this true! A female colleague advised me to wear high heels (in which I would fall flat on my face) and my hair in a bun (which would make the kids snicker) - and this was in the 90s. . . . I can't count the number of male colleagues who wear jeans that do not fit well at all and yet are viewed as "hip". I tend to dress up more than many of my colleagues (the main exception being when it is very cold or wet outside) but had no idea some students intrepreted this as being too authoritarian . . . . I guess it all points to being yourself.

There is no such thing as looking too authoritarian.
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