I was at a lecture on fashion in the 21st century last week led by Anna Akbari, who is full-on brilliant. Really, she is, just stalk her relentlessly (but in a whimsical, chipper sort of way, not an Annie Wilkes way).
She discussed a study done wherein a woman was asked to read a piece of paper, first in a turtleneck and slacks, then in a miniskirt, a tank top and high heels. Those observing her were asked to guess her IQ, where she went to college and whether she’d be a good employee.
Unsurprisingly, the woman scored higher in the turtleneck.
Because her brain was better supported by the wool.
No, because people are idiots.
Anna mentioned that a study should have incorporated a middle option, and I nodded my head vigorously, as if to say, “Yeah. That was dumb. That’s a dumb study.”
Immediately after, in the question and answer period, a woman asked, “So, there’s this girl in my department and I just think she is dressing inappropriately. And I want to tell her about it, but how can I do that without hurting her feelings?”
And everyone nodded.
After checking in my purse to see if there was a pen I could use to stab myself to death, because I do hate to live in a world where such was the takeaway (there wasn’t, there’s nothing in my purse but Lindt chocolate wrappers and slut-colored lipstick), I raised my hand and said, “You should scream across the office that that woman looks like a tramp, and then you should throw a stapler at her.”
No. I didn’t. Alas.
But I did ask Anna Akbari whether she thought there was anything men could wear to the office that would cause people to think less of their intellect the way a tank top and a miniskirt would in the case of a woman. She suggested that a loose fitting suit or a knock-off tie might undermine them.
Would it really make people think their IQ was that much lower? I was curious.