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Workplace cleavage: What is the limit?
A debate has sprung up around the appropriateness and inappropriateness of workplace cleavage.
With the return of summer comes the question: what effect does a woman wearing revealing clothing have on the workplace and her career?
"There's a benefit and there's a cost to flaunting it," says psychology professor Peter Glick, referring to female cleavage on display in the workplace these days.
Women who wear provocative attire get more attention, but the downside is it can harm a woman’s career aspirations, says Glick, who teaches at Lawrence University near Green Bay, Wis.
"People don't see it as compatible with high-status jobs," says Glick, coauthor of studies on workplace cleavage and perceptions of sexy women in certain jobs.
Marilyn Wetston, owner of Marilyn's, a fashion landmark in Toronto and a workplace attire expert, says, "In the case of cleavage in the corporate workplace, without being trite, less is better than more, and none is best of all." Wetston, who is known as the Wardrobe Doctor, adds, "Of course, there are job descriptions that involve highlighting your physical attributes (health clubs, lingerie retailers, marketing plastic surgery), in which case: if you've got it, flaunt it."
Blogger Solomon Slade from California writes that he's puzzled by "the increase in the acceptability of showing them (breasts) off. It is now fully acceptable, perhaps laudable, to put them out there ... barely contained, like two straining Rottweilers ready to burst their tethers."
Polls done in the office and on Facebook found that there was a unanimous disapproval of cleavage in the traditional workplace, especially workplaces like law firms, insurance offices, banks and other settings where conservative dress is the expected norm.
Letting it all hang out sends the message "Don't take me seriously, take me sexy," says Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem, a business relationship consultant in Burlington.
"That kind of attire does not lead to productivity," says Barnicke Belleghem. "It's as much a distraction as your cellphone ringing all the time or going out for a smoke every 10 minutes."
Barnicke Belleghem also states a woman who shows too much cleavage may be seen as having poor judgment and being intellectually, physically and emotionally immature. When women expose themselves in that matter it may be a sign of insecurity, no matter how old the woman is.
Majority of people when asked ‘how much cleavage is too much?’ responded ANY, using words like distracting, unprofessional, disrespectful and inappropriate.
Author and U.S. radio host Karen Salmansohn, who has been on The Today Show discussing workplace cleavage, says: “A businesswoman must keep in mind that too much exposed boobage can swing back around and kick her in the butt.”
"At a certain point, exposed cleavage stops making a woman more appealing and persuasive, and starts detracting and distracting from her professionalism. You can't be flashing those boobs all over the place if you want to be taken seriously."
Yes, well, in any case, Len Falco of LCM Associates management consultants in Hamilton advises clients to "dress appropriately for the situation."
"If you're a lifeguard, it doesn't matter," he says. "But when in doubt, dress conservatively. If you are scantily dressed, it is distracting not only for men, but for other women. It makes them a little uneasy as well.”
To avoid situations where employees come in inappropriately dressed, employers and employees should have a handbook that clearly specifies what the dress code is in the workplace.
From Eagan, Minn., near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Jane Rodmyre Payfer writes: "Women my age (and older) worked so hard to present ourselves in a way that would diminish our sexuality so we'd be taken 'seriously,'" says the chief marketing officer for Ergotron, a global manufacturer of digital display products. "Awful suits with little string bow ties" were the order of the '80s, she recalls.
"Women frequently get only one shot at making an impression with folks," she says.
"What impression do you want people to take away from their first meeting with you -- whether you spoke authoritatively and confidently; whether you had a firm handshake and a smile; whether you were the subject matter expert and deftly presented new ideas ...
"... or whether you flaunted your boobs?
"Business is business," says Payfer. "Save the cleavage for going out."
Read more at the link.
Next post: Study suggests higher-activity jobs tied to sleep extremes 2013-06-17 10:10:36
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Universal paid sick leave reduces spread of fluUniversal access to paid sick days would reduce flu cases in the workplace by nearly 6% and estimated it to be more effective for small, compared to large, workplaces
Study links workplace daylight exposure to sleep, activity, and quality of lifeDay-shift office workers quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices
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