Women at work and other stylistic concerns

The New York Times covers women's workplace woes ... in the Fashion & Style section.

Published November 1, 2007 8:34PM (EDT)

This morning, we received a fiery e-mail tip from a Broadsheet reader who stumbled across today's New York Times article about the dizzying advice given to women about ideal corporate conduct. It isn't the article itself that is irksome but its placement. As happens too often with the Times' women-related writing, it was tucked away in the Fashion & Style section alongside pieces about $1,000 handbags and how trousers are the new jeans; meanwhile, a piece headlined "Is There Room at the Top for Black Executives?" appropriately ran in the Business section.

The "style" piece only once addresses stylistic concerns -- when it cites a study that assessed respondents' professional perception of women wearing revealing versus conservatively cut blouses. But the piece focuses on how women's battle to earn as much as their male equals and present the perfect persona in the workplace is often a losing one. Of course, it isn't news to Broadsheeters that every other day an academic study is released with a new conclusion about the successful tack for professional women. The sum total of the advice reads something like this: Assert yourself, but don't be emasculating; suppress your emotions, but don't act like a coldhearted witch; be nurturing, but not overly feminine; be respected or liked, but not both. The article then grimly concludes by arguing that this field of research will "be of value only when companies act on it."

Er, maybe they would if pieces about women in business were published in the Business section.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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