There is a photograph on the home page of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Website that I initially found amusing but after thinking about it for a while, I have decided that I actually find it offensive.
It is a photograph of a row of shoes. Three pairs are black, one pair is brown, one pair is white. Three are kind of dressy, two are kind of casual. Two are flats, three have heels. Four have a strap across the instep, one doesn’t. All five pairs of shoes would be appropriate for an entry level position in an office environment (my opinion only, I am sure you could wear them other places too….) The shoes are not the problem. The problem is the caption at the top of the photograph:
“Career Choices and Life Success
Attend an information session to learn more about this program.”
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Home Page link
Photograph and caption are being used here for educational purposes only. Fair use.
There is one pair of feet filling the middle pair of low heel, white shoes. Is this it? Are the choices that these shoes represent the only ones that women can expect to fill? Are the choices of women choosing this particular university literally this narrow? And, why choose the middle pair (middle of the road)? Why choose the white pair (I don’t want to go here right now – I will go here later!)? Why choose the pair with the mid-range of heel height (again in the middle…) Why choose the middle pair (the middle pair? Did I ask this already)? Would the corresponding line-up of men’s shoes have five pairs of middle-of-the-road, entry level office position style choices? Who chose these shoes?
Is this it? Is this all the choice that a woman entering this university can expect? Middle of the road, sensible, affordable shoes that are appropriate for an office setting? I mean, careers? Where are the CSA approved worked boots? Where are the hiking boots for the archaeologists and geologists? Where are the nursing clogs (these are not only practical but really comfy!)? This row of five pairs of shoes doesn’t even have anything suitable for wearing into a fine arts class….
A peak into my closet (front to back, left to right): Sensible tough walking shoes with sturdy soles. Running shoes. Strappy high heels. Hiking boots. Mid-heel black slip-ons. More heels. CSA approved green-tagged workboots (2 pair!). More running shoes. Another good sturdy pair of boots. Rubber boots. More strappy heels. A pile of flip-flops (well, those might not be appropriate in too many work environments) and a couple pairs of sensible flats (these don’t get to work much either)…. You get the picture. Life is about choice! Dress for it!
Where are the university watchdogs? The ones who sing at the top of their lungs if you accidentally put a “he” or a “she” into a piece of writing? Where are the people from the student groups who managed to get two gender-free washrooms at the Surrey campus? Well? Where are they? Or, is going after an approved photograph on the home page of the university website just a little too, ummmm…. up front and political?
Okay, link time. I am not too certain where my article links might take me after this little rant but, I do know that they will probably be interesting. If you know of any articles or papers that would fit in here, please post a link in the comments section.
Is there gender bias in university advertising? This article is not specific to university advertising but it is interesting and does provide an active mind with lots of relevant questions….
Article: Gender Issues in Advertising – An Oversight Synthesis of Research: 1970-2002. link
Author: Lori D. Wolin, Lynn University. Publications Link
Published in: Journal of Advertising Research [link]. March 2003
My copy was downloaded in December, 2014. I found using Google Scholar.
Does education that is traditionally gender-biased (nursing / trades) put a person at risk of being an outsider? Having been through trades training and attained journeyman status (red seal tickets), I have to say that it does. The following article, viewed from behind my background in the trades, is particularly interesting.
Article: Fear Extinction to an Out-Group Face. link
Published in: Psychological Science (link), Volume 20, Number 2, 2009 (Link). Pages 155-158
My copy was downloaded in December, 2014 and I found it using Google.
Maybe feminine looking legs just have less risky preferences or is there a possibility that there is a lack of knowledge as to what the risks actually are?
Grey Paper: Gender Differences in Preferences. link
Published by: Harvard University
My copy was downloaded in December, 2014. I found it here: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/content/download/70408/1254442/version/1/file/rachelcrosonandurigneez.pdf
The recruiters are out there, at the universities, looking for future banking, civil service, retail employees. What about the other choices? Is anyone actually doing any recruiting for the people that actually fit into the non-traditional roles? They used to!
Article: Girls. link
Published in: Fords and Raritan Township Beacon (Link)
Published on: Friday, April 28, 1948
My copy was downloaded in December, 2014. I found it using Google.
…and maybe, it just comes down to what we want and expect from our career choices.
Article: A New Frontier for Title IX: Science. link
Author: John Tierney. Publications
Published in: The New York Times
Published on: July 15, 2008
My copy was downloaded in December, 2014.
After reading the above, I need to read this. I have it on hold at my local university library!
Book: The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap (Link)
Author: Susan Pinker. Books
Published by: Simon & Schuster, New York.
Published in: 2009
Not every question I ask gets answered. In fact, most of my questions do not have answers or at least, they don’t have easy answers…. This stroll through academia is just that, a stroll. For me, I ended up with more questions than I started with. This is not a bad thing. What are some of the questions you have?
If any of these links do not work, please contact me and I will try to help you find the article, paper or book that you are looking for.
If you find any broken links on this blog, please leave a comment or send me a note so that it can be repaired. Thank you….