dressed To oppress?
As reports surface of Donald Trump’s sexist dress codes for female employees, it seems that sartorial discrimination against women is more common than you might think…
Not that anyone will be surprised, but according to a source who worked on Donald Trump’s election campaign, the President of the United States requires his female employees to ‘dress like women’.
Naturally, when this news broke, people were quick to point out the sexist implications, causing the hashtag #Dresslikeawoman to trend on Twitter. Thousands of women, including celebs like Brie Larson, started posting pictures of themselves in all sorts of outfits to point out that femininity comes in many forms.
This revelation comes hot on the heels of a parliamentary report revealing the discrimination faced by women at work, specifically relating to their appearance. The report contains evidence of sexist dress codes issued to female employees but not their male colleagues. Several women reported being required to wear a certain shade of nail varnish, others were told to ‘unbutton their blouses’ and some were even asked to dye their hair blonde.
Only last year, actress Nicola Thorp, 28, sparked a national debate when she tweeted about being sent home from a temp job in 2015 for refusing to wear heels. And, thanks to Nicola speaking out, thousands of people signed a petition appealing to the Government to make it illegal for employers to enforce high heels for women at work. Last month, Nicola also appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the findings of the parliamentary report. Luckily, Piers Morgan was on hand to mansplain sexism to Nicola: ‘If I started coming in to work in high heels, somebody would say to me: “Piers, I have a bit of a problem… Can you stop wearing the heels?” and that would be reverse sexism.’ Nicola replied: ‘It would be reverse sexism. But unfortunately we [women] are, as we always have been, the ones who are disadvantaged.’
What Piers was also forgetting is that men aren’t judged on their appearance in the same way as women. Yes, many men are required to wear a suit and tie, but women are also required to dress smartly. Why should looking professional have to involve make-up and heels? Why should women have to conform to an ‘attractive’ ideal when men are simply expected to be smart?
A quick survey of the Look office showed that unfortunately Nicola’s experience is not uncommon, further proving just how entrenched this specific form of sexism is. If it hasn’t happened to you, chances are it has to someone you know. Let’s hope the Government takes action so none of us have to hear or share these stories any more.
Brie: ‘I’ll wear what I like’