En garde

Classes start tomorrow. French manicure done, eyebrows and upper lip waxed, next, coloring hair. Ready to be done with autumn reds, going back to black, with perhaps a bit of blue for winter. I do want to go back to the non-dye silvers again, but I need a few more months for the sharp line of permanent black dye (mistakenly applied, sigh) to finally grow out sufficiently. Hopefully by summer.
I never know what budget category to put this stuff in — if I lived in the woods, I wouldn’t do any of it. But as a woman who wants to look professional at work, I think it’s semi-obligatory still, and I suspect campaigning functions similarly.
A woman I was talking to recently referred to it as ‘putting my game face on.’ Sounds about right. There are a lot of battles coming down the pike, and I guess I will take any weapons I can to help me fight them, even if they simultaneously make me cranky about feeding into sexist societal norms.
I wonder if Michelle Obama got irritated about this sort of thing every once in a while. I bet Hillary is really enjoying walking in her woods without make-up right now.

3 thoughts on “En garde”

  1. MA,

    I learned the word “sprezzatura” from your blog (yep, I’m one of your long-time readers), so I recognize and appreciate that this post is about being open about aesthetic upkeep.*

    But academia is one of the few places where such upkeep is not expected, so I’d like to push back against the idea that this is mandatory upkeep.

    * I learned also form the amazing folks at http://www.shakesville.com/2013/12/here-we-go-again.html#disqus_thread


    1. Maybe it depends where you work? In my English department, in an urban environment, I think the female faculty do trend to pay attention to this kind of thing — they look ‘polished.’ I can’t say for certain that there’d be job penalties for ignoring that, but I think it’s indicative that everyone dresses so carefully. Especially the women of color.

  2. I don’t know about Academia, but in business both men and women need to be careful. Men get penalized for not dressing/grooming to the norm as well. It took me a number of years to realize just how much they can get penalized. I’d say, though, that women are penalized faster unless they happen to be beautiful. Overall, sadly, there is a higher penalty, I think, for women being unattractive than for men.

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