In "Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband's Last Name," is Tannen accurate when writing the following lines?"Sitting at the conference table musing on these matters, I felt sad to think...

In "Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband's Last Name," is Tannen accurate when writing the following lines?

"Sitting at the conference table musing on these matters, I felt sad to think that we women didn't have the freedom to be unmarked that the men sitting next to us had. Some days you just want to get dressed and go about your business. But if you're a woman, you can't, because there is no unmarked woman."

Asked on by magnotta

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do believe that this is true, though it may or may not be not as true as it was almost 20 years ago when Tannen wrote this.  It continues to be true that women are judged much more by their looks and their clothing than men typically are.

Because society is so fixated on women's looks and women's sexuality, it is impossible for a woman to be "unmarked."  Men essentially all dress the same way in business settings and can just come across as generic men.  By contrast, women get pigeonholed or stereotyped in various ways based on how much they seem to be looking "professional" or how much they seem to be looking "glamorous."  We are much quicker to put women into categories based on their looks than we are with men.

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