“You look like a victim.”
I pursed my cherry-painted lips and folded my arms. “What do you mean I look like a victim?”
“I would just suggest dying your hair brown. Wear glasses. Invest in some baggier clothes.”
I instinctually pulled at the hem of my pencil skirt.
“But I have perfect eyesight. And my natural hair color is blonde…well, maybe not this particular shade…”
I thought back to the beginning of the semester and the orientation I attended for doctoral student professors.
A seasoned instructor proffered this gem: “The best piece of advice I can give you women is to dress like a man. Students won’t take you seriously otherwise.”
I remember turning to a female colleague and exchanging an incredulous smirk. Dress like a man? What does that even mean?
Years before, a graduate professor had instructed me to speak in a lower register for similar reasons. Determined to be “taken seriously,” I unintentionally delivered my class presentation in a cartoonishly seductive voice. Needless to say, the professor promptly retracted his advice.
Dress like a man. Talk like a man.