01 November 2007

gender in the workplace in the fashion section

so, here's a serious piece of science writing -- reviewing studies at several major universities and interviewing clinicians who attempt to apply the findings. two paragraphs in the article, which not at all incidentally is about women in the workplace, cover psychological studies in which subjects were shown pictures of women in "sexy" versus "non-sexy" clothes, and told they were either executives or secretaries.

so of course the times publishes it in fashion and style.

there's history here: as a college student, i wrote a paper in which i focused on how hillary clinton was covered in major newspapers, and found that even when the topic was actually news -- clinton presents health care plan; clinton runs for senate -- the "paper of record" was likely to publish the story in the fashion section, with a lot of participial phrases beginning "wearing...". and of course, my own (literally sophomoric) attempt at media criticism was nth in a long line of similar work. but, as today's article so helpfully points out, none of the work on subtle biases against women in professional workplaces contains policy prescriptions that might prevent or redress the damage.