Appropriateness, professionalism, the body, etc

August 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm

| Gabriel |

Jenn has a series of recent posts on professional socialization (e.g., here), some of which are about not being a flake and others of which have to do with the dilemma of personal appearance, especially but not exclusively for women academics. Jenn mentions a disparaging comment she heard about older female academics who wear “wooden jewelry,” but the flipside to that is that the friend who I remember getting the most shit about her appearance in grad school got it not for dressing like Stevie Nicks or Britney Spears but Betty Draper. I don’t think Jenn would be shocked by this as the general thrust of her recent posts (and the comments attached to them) is that there’s a definite scylla and charybdis thing going on. (In order to navigate it maybe the Banana Republic catalog should be on the syllabus of the pro-seminar).

In related news, Slate’s sister site Double X has a post on girl watching which isn’t that interesting (long story short, the author finds women to be aesthetically appealing but tries to be tasteful about it) but which has the mother of all comment threads on which you could easily imagine a dissertation being written. A lot of it seems to center on how intrusive is the male gaze, is it worse for it to be lecherous or dismissive (i.e., is it more offensive for a women to be thought worthy or unworthy of a man’s fantasy), and how important it is to distinguish between a discrete glance vs a prolonged leer vs this or this:

[Updated] Also on the subject of the male gaze, Flight of the Conchords does a good job (and not for the first time) of inverting gender:

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