Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Repost: 'Glamour' Editor To Lady Lawyers: Being Black Is Kinda A Corporate "Don't"

Update 2 (Oct. 8, 2007 @7:36am)

Some more stuff:

The blog written by the now identified editor, Ashley Baker, saying she was going to do this talk. The blog has new been taken over by another fashion editor, so don't mistake the girl whose pic is on the blog now as the stupid one who couldn't be bothered to think ahead.

Remember she was armed with pictures, so someone had to go out their way to find pictures of people with afros and dreds. The word is Ashley has now resigned. I can't say that my heart goes out to her hearing that because what she said was just fucking stupid.

Also, that means the Making Connections post, linked below, from Gawker.com is wrong and it wasn't Suze Yalof Schwartz. I don't remove links, I just update as needed, so it's there if you want to check out who they were pointing their powerful blogger finger at.


Update 1 (Oct. 7, 2007 @9:12pm)

Here is an editorial by Deborah Douglas from the Chicago Sun-Times on women and beauty and the stupid editor from Glamour: More Women clued in on beauty, body image

Nobody gains by making females feel ugly, but that doesn't stop a whole beauty industry designed to sell us improvements from trying.

Take Gerren, a 12-year-old model featured in the new documentary "America the Beautiful." She wants to wear mascara and a padded bra to school, but her mother says no; it'll just make boys gawk. Gerren pouts, holding the flesh-colored bra to her face, declaring that her mom is destroying her high school years.

Another girl, Ashley Crisp, 12, insists she's unattractive. She thinks stars like Mya and Monica are "beautiful," but it's lost on her that they look good because stylists fry and dye their hair and cinch them within an inch of their lives.

Women and girls have come a long way toward owning their beauty and body images but still have a way to go, as I learned while screening filmmaker Darryl Roberts' documentary, which debuted Saturday at the Chicago International Film Festival.

"Who benefits from women not feeling beautiful?" Roberts asks.

While Gerren and Ashley still have time to get straightened out, grown women online are taking control of messages about beauty double standards.

I learned this recently from an e-mail I was forwarded about a Glamour magazine editor who declared afros and dreadlocks "shocking" and "political."

Two generations removed from the black power afro, I didn't know anybody still had such primitive views. At the same time we're being urged to be greener, go natural and achieve authenticity, this obtuse woman set virtual tongues wagging with her uninformed "expertise."

What happened was: A young, white editor at Glamour was invited to a brown-bag lunch at Cleary Gottlieb, a New York law firm, to discuss the do's and don'ts of corporate fashion. Instead of informing a supervisor of the invitation, she took it upon herself to attend and offer advice to female lawyers. When slides of black women wearing an afro, then dreadlocks popped up on screen, the unnamed editor denounced the locks as "truly dreadful." She couldn't understand why people feel it's OK to wear "those hairstyles at the office" and that "political" hairstyles have to go, according to Vivia Chen, who wrote about the incident in the American Lawyer magazine.

Black female lawyers at the firm were taken aback, as was Chen, who, as a writer of Asian descent, is tuned in to issues of beauty double standards and ethnicity. "It struck me as being stereotypical and insensitive," Chen told me.

I was just as flabbergasted as all the other professional women who had been copied on my e-mail. Pulitzer-nominated writer and National Public Radio host Desiree Cooper, who wears locks, even called up Glamour editor Cindy Leive. So did I, because I had to hear her explanation for myself.

Alas, Leive is in Uganda, but in a letter to readers she stated: "The idea that a woman cannot be herself and still get ahead at work runs contrary to Glamour's message of empowerment (and, incidentally, to the reality of today's workplace), and I am still outraged that women heard such nonsense."

The young editor's view does not represent Glamour, Leive said. She has apologized and has been dealt with severely.

Unlike some of the women copied on my e-mail, I instantly knew the editor wasn't spouting from the magazine's beauty or feminist canon. But I couldn't help but wonder how she could function in an environment of inclusion and still be so freaking clueless.

After the Dove real women ad campaign and well-preserved, naked old ladies featured in magazine ads, it's hard to believe some girls and women are missing out on some important feminist values. But this time, they're in the minority and are getting called out on it.


Funny post from the Jezebel blog and a big, big reason I don't bother reading most fashion magazines anymore. They're selling a ton of advertising space to collect my money on products which would be better left on the shelves (and this is said from someone who is quite the shopper). They're most certainly not catering to me. I've managed to unplug from the Matrix.

Read on to see what I mean by that.


The latest issue of Glamour advises readers use Kimble leave-in conditioner followed by a flat iron followed by a curling iron followed by spritzer and augmented with hair extensions to achieve "Mary J. Blige's loose beautiful curls." Um, how about time better spent solving the mortgage crisis? Well, a recent slide show by an unidentified Glamour editor on the "Dos and Don'ts of Corporate Fashion" at a New York law firm shed some light on the topic, according to this month's American Lawyer magazine.

First slide up: an African American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the 'Glamour' editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was 'shocking' that some people still think it 'appropriate' to wear those hairstyles at the office. 'No offense,' she sniffed, but those 'political' hairstyles really have to go.

Um, hey, 'no offense' taken -- my hair has been totally apolitical ever since I learned about the dangers of "Republican highlights" -- but next time you tell a group of professionals they'll need to submit to extensive regular treatments if they expect to survive in the corporate world, maybe try a crowd that isn't so familiar with, like, the law?

The story ends happily, with the law firm Cleary Gottlieb's managing partner Mark Walker, who wasn't at the lady luncheon, sending everyone an email pointing out the stupidty of the Glamour editor and of fashion magazines and yeah pretty much all the things we here at Jezebel hold so near and reviled.

As for the identity of the editor, neither Cleary Gottlieb nor Condé Nast Publications Inc. (publisher of 'Glamour') would say. Indeed, almost all of the half-dozen 'Glamour' editors contacted for this story professed not to have ever set foot in a law firm. 'Cleary what?' asked several. And Walker says he has no idea whether the editor who sparked all this controversy is a well-known fashionista. Not that Walker would know, even if Anna Wintour herself crossed his path. 'Who is she?' Walker asks. 'I really don't know people in the fashion industry.'
Ah, to be a white man.

How much of an idiot is this said unidentified Glamour editor? The folks over at Gawker have an idea who the offending moronic Glamour editor might be: Making Connections

Nappy hair and the hairstyles that go with them are "political"? Um, okay this picture of Sweet Honey on the Rock shows how "political" those styles are:

Oh, so political! Not to mention scary! Please...spare me the stupidity. All of those women, except maybe for blondie, would be just fine in a corporate setting with the right makeup and clothes.

So if I were white or Asian and wore my naturally straight hair as it is that's political too? I hate it when "stupid" and "fashionista" intersect. I really, really do. Good she's not at Vogue.

Oh wait, Vogue has problems too: Former 'Vogue' Staffer's Woes Prompt Age-Old Question: Is Publishing More Racist? Or Classist?


More links:
KindlyPogMoThoin.com: Glamour: Being a black woman is so out -

a couple of great pics of black female attorneys with natural hair styles

AboveTheLaw.com: Glamour Editor Causes Tempest in Teapot at Cleary Gottlieb? -

The comments are interesting and have a couple of conformist morons who choose to follow the straight hair aesthetic. Fine, fine, fine. But don't tell me that my nappy hair is unprofessional when you're not going to tell someone with straight hair that their natural hair texture is unprofessional.

I know when I was doing the summer clerkship, on campus interview circuit I wore my hair in braids which I kept in a bun. I would NEVER straighten my hair for a damn legal job.

Plus, lawyers are boring and wear crappy clothes anyway. No offense to my friends still in the practice you're the select few that aren't ;-)

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  1. My daughters and I talked about your nappy hair debate the other day. My youngest was recently given a straightening iron, and she is on cloud 9. Every day, she flattens her hair with this stupid thing, even though she looks perfectly fine with it unstraightened. She agrees that she is influenced by the opinions of others and that she ought not to be, but she just cannot help herself.

    Meanwhile, I'm stuck with the electric bill.

  2. I meant to add that I think the ladies in SHOTR look a whole lot nicer than the women in that glamour magazine shot. Not just their hairdos, either: I know which ones I'd rather have coffee with.

  3. Yeah, we all have out beauty demons. My thing is if this is true (the "hoax" buzz is circulating now), I can't believe a Glamour editor would say this.

    Time will tell if this story is 100% true.

    Your daughter is going to burn out her hair. Heat damage is no joke. But she'll learn albeit the hard way.


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