This article focuses on how women in broadcasting have seen a change in the acceptable wardrobe standards. A few years ago, short hair and two piece suits were mandatory. The article describes how women “bundled up their breasts to blend into a professional culture”. Recently, the wardrobe limits have expanded, and now women can wear a wider variety of clothes. The article mentions that some networks encourage wearing lower necklines and high heels to boost ratings.
Does this modification of wardrobe expectations reflect an increasing freedom for women in the workplace, or does it reflect males’ desire to have eye candy during the work day? On one hand, women are freer to express themselves through bright colors and unique pieces. On the other hand, the increasing pressure to wear more sexualized clothes could easily start a trend of demeaning women in the workplace and dismissing them as pretty things to look at.
Personally, I believe that this greater ‘freedom’ of wardrobe is detrimental to women’s progress in the workplace, especially in newsrooms where personal appearance and consumer ratings are important to the show’s success. Most of these organizations are run by males, so male pressure will ultimately decide what a woman will wear (it would seem silly to be fired from a job for not dressing the way your superiors wished). It is easy to imagine that in this male-dominated workplace, there may be pressure to dress “sexier” because it might attract more viewers and it might work to trivialize women so males can advance faster. If this happens, new wardrobe standards would signal increasing control of men, not increasing freedom of women.
I’m clearly assuming that men want to see sexualized women in the workplace, which may be an unfair assumption. What do other people think?