Advanced search

FWR meets S&B

(250 Posts)
BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sat 08-Nov-14 09:58:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 11:02:07

Age is the only thing that will help, probably! Sorry, not much help. there is no way you can hide what you look like, so I'd stop worrying about it and wear / dress how you feel comfortable / prefer.

Do you feel that it has actually held you back? I mean it's infuriating having people make assumptions about you based on appearance but unless they are complete wankers don't those assumptions get dispelled / turned around after you talking for 5 mins and they realise that you have a brain in your head, know your stuff and are sharp?

It's their problem, fundamentally, not yours. Yes it is infuriating but it is totally their issue if they can't understand / accept that a young attractive woman might have something worth saying and the last thing you need to do is change who you are in order to try and make them change how they react because fundamentally they won't anyway.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 11:03:03

I'm assuming that you are wearing reasonably "normal" clothes for your work / leisure and not going to work in school uniform or something grin

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 11:09:57

There are some high up women at my work and I have noticed that they smile less.

That's a gravitas thing for sure, dropping the people pleasing female gender role. Maybe they were always like that though. I think it's something I would struggle to do.

Will have a think what else they do.

Amethyst24 Sat 08-Nov-14 11:27:45

A friend of mine has this ... Problem? Issue? Experience? Anyway, she stopped dying her hair and let the grey come through (she was mid-30s) to make herself appear older. But I guess you're not going grey so that's no good! Do you wear make up?

almondcakes Sat 08-Nov-14 11:32:33

Hard to answer without seeing what they wear in your discipline and what you are wearing. It might be a matter of looking more serious and less people pleasing rather than older.

Do you have any combination of bun or shorthair, glasses, culturally authentic knitwear or accessory, idiosyncratic item and items that make you look literally warm enough?

I think of serious academic dress to reflect the attitude, yes I know a lot about some tiny area of stuff, yes you may not know or care about it, but it is what I like, I don't give a fuck that you want me to stop pursuing it.

I don't that is really conveyed by a pencil skirt and a smart jacket.

ezinma Sat 08-Nov-14 11:49:29

I also look younger than I am, and I'm short, although I don't pass the patriarchal fuckability test. I think I'm patronised more than the average because of this, and it makes certain tasks, eg classroom management (I used to teach secondary), very much more difficult.

It's interesting to analyse how I deal with it: I've never properly thought about it. I reckon I play a harder, bolshier version of myself, which I don't particularly enjoy. I steer clear of colours, accessories or anything else that might make me appear 'sweet'. I probably emphasise those characteristics that give me a greater presence: I'm quite loud, I talk too much, and I fit into the garrulous fat person stereotype. I often use eye contact to establish my importance: I consciously fix people, and when I look away I make sure I don't do it by looking downwards, as that allows the other person's gaze to look over mine (and me).

The downside is that several of the women I worked with found me annoying and brittle.

Not much help, I'm afraid, but from my point of view I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'll be following this thread avidly, thanks for starting it!

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 11:56:01

Short is difficult. If you are a short slender female in a meeting / conversation with men and they don't know you (ie they aren't forewarned that you might have something important to say and so include you / see you as a person anyway) they can and do literally talk over the top of your head.

I have just re-realised that this is one of the reasons for heels isn't it. We focus a lot on the fashion / footbindy / leg lengthening / porn asthetic stuff on here but actually having something that makes you taller very simply makes you more noticable.

So I'm going to wear my heels at work with factual purpose on Monday grin

Not suggesting you should wear heels OP just thinking out loud here about different styles of dress - I am in semi-formal corporate-ville so used to that attire.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 11:59:43


YY to
speak up
eye contact and not looking down

I do those things naturally I think. So like the not smiling so much thing is a definite one but hard to stop yourself if it comes naturally.

Not having "girly" props is easy to do but no idea if the OP has those things.

I dunno.

Take charge of situations? Be the one to meet, greet, hello what do you do here I'm the head of Blah, how long have you been doing that... type stuff establishes authority. Be the one to stride up and start the conversation. The confidence that comes with authority / experience.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 12:04:27

Gawd the short slender thing wasn't in juxtaposition to your being short and saying you were larger.

I was thinking more that the less physical space you take up the less you get noticed sometimes.

Really this is all about male physical presence, male behaviours and so on being the ones associated with gravitas / authority and women are on the back foot with it all from the get-go. Young looking men can have a struggle with this but it's women who really bear the brunt of it.

Like the handshaking thread the other day. Lots of women saying they felt a bit uncomfortable doing it. It's a standard male thing in our society, women dont' tend to shake hands with each other or men except in a business environment. Like we're having to play to someone elses rules.

ThisBitchIsResting Sat 08-Nov-14 12:05:21

Please post this in S and B too smile

It's full of women who work and who care not just about their appearance, but how their appearance impacts the work they do and how they are perceived by others iyswim. It's dressing up, isn't it, dressing for work - it sets out your stall in a way that men don't have to. Envious sometimes of DH and his suits, but I enjoy the creativity of choosing varied outfits! But I digress.

Plus there will be links to lovely jackets and heels (possibly even makeup) to suit your requirements!

MyEmpireOfDirt Sat 08-Nov-14 12:20:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

50shadesofvom Sat 08-Nov-14 12:21:17

I'd love to help, but it's not something I've ever had any experience with grin

could have used an OAP pass at 16

HelloItsMeFell Sat 08-Nov-14 12:22:32

Don't colour your hair. if it's starting to go grey then let it. Have it cut in a no nonsense sensible style. Don't wear any make up.

It's dressing up, isn't it, dressing for work - it sets out your stall in a way that men don't have to. Envious sometimes of DH and his suits,

Most women I have known who have seniority and gravitas in the workplace do dress pretty much the same as their male counterparts. I disagree that you are expected to make yourself look younger or more attractive, or to wear make up or 'dress up' in a way that men are not. You are expected to look smart, tidy and professional, that's all.

Pick suits, not dresses, and always in sombre colours that are severe and uniform-like, and not deliberately feminine, floral or floaty. Preferably with a simple tailored shirt underneath with a collar and plackets just like a man's shirt.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sat 08-Nov-14 12:23:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyEmpireOfDirt Sat 08-Nov-14 12:23:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyEmpireOfDirt Sat 08-Nov-14 12:26:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WiseKneeHair Sat 08-Nov-14 12:29:13

I used to have this problem, but at the grand old age of 44 I don't anymore. grin
So, age will help.
In the meantime, I think assertiveness helps and YOU acting as befits your status (whatever that means to you) and others will follow.
I still get people surprised about what I do, because I'm female, but the comments are probably on a monthly rather than daily/ weekly basis.

GarlicNovember Sat 08-Nov-14 12:30:56

Posting without reading as I'm running late. For now, have a couple of bullet points (sorry)

Don't smile at everyone.
Check that your voice isn't especially soft or high-pitched
Walk & stand four-square
Stand when other are sitting, or sit in the biggest / most 'prominent' seat

Doesn't really matter what you wear, as I'm sure you're not going round in skintight minidresses or t-shirts with boob jokes on them.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 12:31:44

OK I have never seen you and have no idea about your workplace

But I would say

Tie your hear back for sure. In a "grown up" way rather than a pony tail like you would for exercise IYSWIM.
Ditch the jeans and shorter skirts when speaking and other times as well if you feel you are having problems all the time. You don't want to feel like you're in fancy dress but you don't want to look to casual.

Plain coloured separates are what I wear to work

if feeling taller made you feel "something" then maybe seek out some that are comfy for the times you need that extra - the aforementioned job interviews or when you are speaking if not on feet for too long or meeting new groups of people maybe

I think makeup is neither here nor there, in my workplace anyway some is the norm for women and I don't think it reduces authority unless it's "night out" type makeup massive great eyelashes or whatever. No makeup is fine too.

Why not youtube high-up women being interviewed generally - politicians, business leaders, academics and so on and see if you can take away any ideas from that.

GarlicNovember Sat 08-Nov-14 12:33:29

I'm not recommending the adoption of 'masculine' characteristics, btw, it's more a matter of checking that you aren't accidentally performing 'feminine' subordination.

MyEmpireOfDirt Sat 08-Nov-14 12:33:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThisBitchIsResting Sat 08-Nov-14 12:37:46

Ok I'm going to pretend you've posted in S and B grin

Fwiw I am senior and well paid blah blah , work with lots of men and experience lots of feminist problems at work regularly. I also like clothes and makeup etc. Not sure where that places me as qualified to post on the MN FWR board but hey ho.

I think you sound like your style is very young and a bit bohemian. Nothing wrong with that but in terms of looking more mature and having more gravitas at work (academia, right?) I'd swop jeans for black or navy cigarette trousers (Gap have very good ones and have 40% off everything this weekend) and you could wear your ballet flats with them or simple mid heels. I recommend M and S for comfy mid heels - I'm on my feet a lot all day but feel more authoritative in heels so do like to wear them. Tops - a smart good jacket is always good over a dress and worth spending a bit on as it will lift everything else you wear - or bright silk shirts with your dark trousers.

Wear your long boots with more structured dresses - perhaps something like this structured short wool dress in a bright colour, with thick tights and your long boots would suit your style but be a bit more structured? I think strong colours and contrast would be something to consider.

And I hesitate to say it - but grooming in terms of makeup and hair will make you look more grown up. I like to look young and at the weekends I know I look younger than I do at work because I don't wear makeup , my hair is loose and unstyled and I wear jeans etc. Polish IMO will make you look more grown up.

Avoid wearing too many colours and patterns above all - it sounds like you like clothes in a Fat Face style, am I right? Simplify a bit, even if it feels boring you will feel more grown up - and hopefully be treated that way too grin

That's my tuppence worth from an S and B perspective.

WiseKneeHair Sat 08-Nov-14 12:37:52

Also, I would say over the years I have made a concerted effect over the years to dress smarter than my male colleagues. For example, I was in work this morning and met a colleague who was wearing jeans and two weeks worth of stubble whilst I was still in relatively smart trousers and a jumper, even though it's the weekend.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 08-Nov-14 12:39:38

Ha I am not great with grooming! Not at all. But I seem to get by.

I just do my hair with a side parting and tie it back as neat as I can at the base of my neck maybe twisted in a little bun and that seems to have done the trick lately.

It just needs to look neat and tidy and not like a style a teenager would prefer I think? For the OP.

MEOD you should ask in S&B! They will have loads of ideas.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: