‘You can’t wear skirts or dresses as you may distract the men in your presentation’

Not only is this a ridiculous thing to say in 2016 but I can imagine any men reading this would feel pretty pissed off and generalised! Granted there are some gross perverts, male and female, out there who objectify the opposite gender for their own amusement but thats another story…

Stupidly enough, someone DID say this, to my university class… The leader of our business module, who is is a very successful business woman. Usually when dressing for a presentation I would choose something that a) I felt comfortable in, b) I felt confident in and c) that was appropriate for the setting of the presentation. In this case, it was a formal presentation so I chose to wear black jeans, a black chiffon top with patterned cuffs and some cute Mary-Jane shoes with a slight heel.

So, I rocked on up to our presentation and the other girls in our group were wearing similar apart from one who was wearing a really nice skirt, still smart with long black boots and tights. We were happily waiting outside the room before going in and another girl on my course highlighted to me that our course leader did not want us to wear skirts or dresses encase we ‘distracted the men’ who were judging our presentation… I don’t know about you but this has really angered me!

How dare she, a successful business woman say something like that to a group of young women she has a duty of care towards?? God forbid we show a bit of leg and god forbid a man gets side-tracked because of it!

Literally the whole situation is just appalling and so unbelievably old-fashioned. Women and men have fought tirelessly for years for gender equality in the workplace, and whilst women may not be there yet, in regards to salary differences, we are sure as hell respected and we respect the men right back.

It just makes me so angry. As a 22 year old, fashion conscious woman, yet to enter the ‘real’ work world, I am never EVER going to worry about the length of my skirt because it might disrupt a man. I would also like to think that our lecturer knows that we can correctly interpret how to dress for a professional presentation whilst still showing off our individual personality and style, seeing as fashion is our degree and we’ve done like 20 presentations over our uni career… But no, she just assumes we’re all dopey girls who have no idea how to present ourselves appropriately.

I don’t know if it’s because she is an older woman and has maybe encountered negative connotations to dressing in a slightly feminine way, but its the 21st fricking century… this sort of stuff shouldn’t matter now and it’s so so sad that even in UK, a country that champions change and challenges opinion, that this is still an issue. It sends shivers down my spine when I think of the women in other counties where gender equality is still so far away and infuriates me that they STILL have to deal with discrimination against the female race.

Slight rant I realise but I felt it needed to be said! I just hope that when I have children, boys and girls, that gender equality isn’t even an issue and that we are all treated exactly the same, because why the hell shouldn’t we be?!


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