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UC Irvine to Students: Look More Feminine to Be a Success


Students at the University of California at Irvine received an email earlier this week from their Career Center, offering advice on “How to Ace That Job Interview.” Several were sufficiently peeved enough to forward the email to Jezebel, citing the sexism of the images within.


(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

The text, notes Kate Dries, was fairly innocuous, containing the usual advice about doing research about the company, preparing thoughtful questions, and dressing appropriately for the interview.

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The images accompanying the text, on the other hand, were more problematic. For example, men were represented in the email by a stock photo of a young man wearing a suit, while women were represented by this:


(Image Credit: extrapetite)

The actual photo comes from a blog called extrapetite, which is run by a professional in the finance industry named Jean who “stands under five feet tall.” It’s about her quest for work attire that fits, looks appropriate, and makes her feel confident. It’s not supposed to prescribe a more “feminine” approach to dressing for all women.

When Dries wrote to Jean for comment on the popularity of her photo, and its use outside her blog, she replied:

“…my underlying advice from that image is to wear properly-fitting clothing (get alterations if necessary) and footwear that makes the individual feel confident. It’s harder for that to come through when the image is taken out of context, as my post explains that what fits well and what generates confidence is not the same for different individual and different body types.”

In the context of her blog, in other words, the photo is potentially helpful. Taken alone, or worse yet, presented next to a picture of a man in a suit with no text admonishing him to dress in a gender-stereotyped way, well, it’s pretty sexist.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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I cannot agree more. I don’t like the idea that professional women are supposed to wear makeup. You have to be pretty to be taken seriouly is sexist.

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