New feature: The professional masquerade

// 28 January 2010

Women working in corporate finance are expected to adhere to sexist and objectifying dress codes, says Amica Lane

citygirls.gif“Womanliness therefore could be assumed and worn as a mask, both to hide the possession of masculinity and to avert the reprisals expected if she was found to possess it — much as a thief will turn out his pockets and ask to be searched to prove that he has not the stolen goods.”

– Joan Riviere, ‘Womanliness As Masquerade’, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Once upon a time, the articles of clothing one wore served a very practical purpose. To shield us from the cold, allow us to work or hunt with ease and likewise. Over the centuries of wearing garments; the threads began to integrate into our skin, especially for women, and became a mask; a way of extroverting our inner selves to the world through signified implications. At some point in our history, image became a fundamental essence of our identity.

Image copyright Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, used with kind permission, from, a 14-year project to systematically document dress codes of various social groups

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