Ad Age “Women To Watch” List Shares Which Women Wear Pants
1:15 pm, June 12th | by Grace Rasmus
Ad Age‘s annual “Women To Watch” feature was published recently, showcasing some of 2013′s corporate ladies to keep an eye out for. First of all, kudos to Ad Age for celebrating successful ladies annually. I, too, enjoy watching women (wait…what?) and these interviews are incredibly interesting and motivating. With that said, we have some major issues here, namely the pictures underneath each Woman to Watch’s name that tell us who owns pets, who has traveled the world, who has kids, and WHO WEARS PANTS TO THE OFFICE.
If this were the Men to Watch list, I doubt there would be Daddy icons next to the big important manly exectuives’ names. Just sayin’.
And what’s with the “she wears pants” detail? Is that supposed to signify to us that said pants-wearing woman is powerful? Aggressive? That she can hold her own in a boys club? I don’t think whether or not a woman wears pants gives me any insight into her character. Maybe she works in a casual office. Or maybe she gets cold easily. Or maybe she just likes to wear pants! Telling your readers that a particular Woman to Watch wears pants is dumb, Ad Age, and about as relevant as telling us that she uses frizz-control shampoo or that she isn’t a fan of nachos.
Research has shown that focusing on someone’s looks or clothing choices can hurt their credibility later on but that doesn’t stop the media from obsessing over powerful women’s appearances: The New York Times recently ran an essay on the alleged importance of a female senator’s handbag choice, female news anchors’ outfit choices are constantly under scrutiny in the press, and The Washington Post published an article all about White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler’s shoes (which Flip The News wrote a brilliant parody of, flipping the gender so it is a male staffer’s shoes that garner such excessive attention)— and that’s just the tip of the sexist iceberg!
I think we can all agree that what a woman wears has nothing to do with her intelligence, the likelihood of her success, or how good at her job she is…or at least it shouldn’t. When are we just going to drop the issue? A successful woman’s ideas are much more interesting than what type of fabric she pulls on in the morning.