Embodying the modern day “Professional Woman”

Background:In today’s society the professional woman carries a serious role in a male dominated workplace as well as in their households. More now than any other time,woman are carrying the responsibilities once executed by men. As said in the article Professional Woman: The Continuing Struggle for acceptance by Pearl Jacobs and Linda Schain ” During the past fifty years, the situation of professional women has changed dramatically. Women have expanded their career aspirations. They are no longer confined to traditional female fields such as education or nursing. We have seen the integration of women into previously male dominated fields such as accounting, medicine, law, etc”. As my alter-ego project, I will embody the character of the professional woman for 2-3 days and observe the reactions from people who have and have not seen me in my typical casual street fashion.

Inspiration: What inspired me to experiment in this form of dress was reading Body Dressing by Joanne Entwistle and Elizabeth Wilson who discusses in the chapter “Shop Window Dummies” , that though we are free in our style of dress, we still are subject to uniforms as a means of professionalism or formal approvals without a matter of choice. Suits are required in a professional work field at all times because we are socially governed to do so. It also mentioned in this chapter that the way we dress, whether we like it or not, affects the way we are perceived and the way we feel. This is also similarly discussed in the article 25 Things a Professional Woman Should Never Wear by Kayla Baxter, Anna Hennings, and Alice Handley, stating “How you choose to dress each morning reflects how you feel about your job – that you take your position seriously, that you are ready to work and that you pay attention to detail and know what you expect to encounter that day”.I can see how this is so, but does dressing in uncomfortable attire such as a suit and hills in order to be taken seriously as a woman really make people treat you in such a way in and outside of the work environment?  This project will question how appearance  reflects the way in which people treat and define your prestige in society. 




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