Thankfully, the days of strict dress codes at work are slowly disappearing in most industries. Bosses have finally cottoned on to the fact that forcing people to sit at a desk all day sweltering in a rigid suit and tie just doesn’t make any sense.

Some work environment habits die hard, however, and in traditionally male-dominated areas – which science still is, for now – women boldly expressing themselves at work are apparently seen as ‘unprofessional’ for some.

Image credits: geologiststephy

So when environmental scientist Joleah Lamb started a Twitter thread asking for stories and biased opinions about men commenting on women’s dress in the scientific community, she certainly got some eye-opening responses.

One, in particular, stood out, however – an exchange between Stephanie E. Suarez and an engineer from Chevron.
Stephanie received a message on LinkedIn from the engineer, criticizing her red hair dye and tattoos likening her to a “waiter of Midtown,” whatever that means. To which Stephanie gave the good comeback that he deserved.

Image credits: geologiststephy

Image credits: geologiststephy

Why do some people feel the need to share their unsolicited opinions about others’ appearance? Do they think they are doing a favor or something? Stephanie’s looks are utterly irrelevant to her job, and it is nobody’s business to suggest what she wears at work, interview, or otherwise!

The exchange sheds some light on the issues that some women scientists are faced with. Rather than allowing their work to speak for itself, some men still expect women to justify themselves through their appearance. That is asking that they ‘fit in’ with old-fashioned views on what is acceptable in the profession. Who are you to decide what is ‘professional’ and what is gender equality?

Stephanie went on to give some further background on the situation

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Image credits: geologiststephy

Image credits: geologiststephy

Image credits: geologiststephy

Image credits: geologiststephy

While people were quick to offer their support

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What do you think? Does your job have expectations of how you should dress at work? Why do you think that some people need to tell others how they ‘should’ look? Share your own stories in the comments below!