|The Good Grooming Reality Show|
|Opinion - Global Warning|
|Lisa Jain Thompson|
|Sunday, 15 January 2012 09:00|
Washington, DC, USA. Strip the Human Race absolutely naked and what is left? It is the eye of other people that ruin us. [N1]
Although we enter the world most certainly without clothes, each and most every one of us lives in society that require us to be dressed. The clothes often wear us, rather than we, them.
Virginia Woolf had it right: "We may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking." [N2] There are dress codes for church, there are dress codes for work. Weddings, funerals, baseball and football all have dress codes. Even Christmas dinner with your grandparents, parents and extended family has a minimum dress code: you probably aren’t coming to the holiday table without the top and bottom parts of your body covered.
The human species habitually produces farms and cities and cultural dress codes. Like ants building nests and bees building hives, it’s what we do and we show little sign of ever changing. The rich and the poor, women and men, owners and workers, young lesbians and gay men our social group, however we may define it, pressures us to conform. Resistance, while not futile, is at our own peril.
No more so than in the work place where most every business has a dress code, implied or otherwise. Even when it appears no obvious dress code exists, the requirement for uniform non-conformity may become just as rigid as the published dress policy established at the most conservative prep school or religious university.
Complaining about a corporate dress policy will not get you hired; refusing to at least compromise with established workplace policy may get you fired. How badly do you need the job?
If you must be always who you must be, you might better start your own business and be your own boss. But if you want to be hired by someone other than your father, you had make more than a cursory attempt to look vaguely like the other workers who have been hired. Either way, you must know your boss and the rules he (or she) must work under.
Corporate dress code policies can sometimes seem like elaborate pranks if you have arrived from a less rigid environment. Especially if you are a woman.
Although the double standard may be loosening, a woman’s tattoos most often must be ladylike and visible tattoos on female flesh make that impossible in some eyes. As you might expect, a lot depends on the location of the tattoo and if it can be covered up, even if there are no formal policies established. Remember, all things being equal, human resource managers will hire the more clean-cut employee, the one who most resembles all the other workers they have hired. A company’s culture is everything and seldom includes visible piercings or tattoos.
Or those applicants and workers whose dress openly crosses expected gender lines. You won’t be discriminated against because of your gender but how you express that gender. If you wish to be hired, corporate expectations must be met at least half-way.
Don’t blame me. They are not my rules. It’s just life in the human race. If you are a member of some other species, the rules need not apply.
In jobs that deal with the public, employees must normally meet the expectations of that public. What might be acceptable dress and gender presentation in Seattle may be verboten in Huntsville or Duluth. Know your audience.
There are many stumbling blocks that can stop you from being promoted or even hired. [N5] You might not like them, but they exist.
The sexes still divide on many things. Clothes, jewelry and make-up are among the most obvious. Not my rules, you may not like it, but it is the world we live in. Crying about it changes nothing. And what Mark Twain observed is just as true today:
Notes[N1] Benjamin Franklin.
[N2] Virginia Wolfe.
[N3] Charlie Chaplin.
[N4] Mark Twain, Following The Equator.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 15 January 2012 12:18|