One of the recurring problems I’ve faced as a woman is figuring out what to wear. Because god forbid I wear the wrong thing and send the wrong message. Fortunately I work at home now, so I no longer have to get dressed up like an adult most mornings. Still, my closet is packed with blouses, skirts and dresses I will probably never wear. Why is that? Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College who blogs at The Society Pages, found the answer in an unusual place: in photo a college design student took of a woman's leg.
What I like about the image is the way it very clearly illustrates two things. First, it reveals that doing femininity doesn’t mean obeying a single, simple rule. Instead, it’s about occupying and traveling within a certain space. In this case, usually between “proper” and “flirty.” Women have to constantly figure out where in that space they’re supposed to be. Too flirty at work mean’s you won’t be taken seriously; too proper at the bar and you’re invisible. Under the right circumstances (e.g., Halloween, a funeral), you can do “cheeky” or “old fashioned.
Credit Image: evocateur on Flickr
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