“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The Gap Inc. seems to be taking that old saying to heart.
In its latest online advertisement, the clothing retailer promotes a look for women, “The Tenure-Track Professor.” The ad’s tagline reads, “Get respect for your ideas and blazer choices.”
The model appears in gray dress pants, matching high heels, an embroidered blue top, and a deeper blue blazer. The ad includes a pair of eyeglasses, but not being worn by the model.
— Fernanda Zamudio (@FernandaZamudio) April 26, 2017
We asked some of our Twitter followers what they thought about the ad, the look, and if they’d wear it themselves. Here are a few of the responses:
Lauren McCoy, a visiting assistant professor in the kinesiology, recreation, and sport program at Western Kentucky University, asked a question that was surely on many professors’ minds.
What I want to know: Does the outfit come with a guarantee of tenure? Because being tenure-track is only half the battle. https://t.co/mPu6UWWUM1
— Lauren McCoy (@LMcCoyJD) April 26, 2017
The ad provides no answer. However, Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, noted that the Gap offers discounts for faculty members. According to Banana Republic’s website, Banana Republic, Gap, Athleta, and Old Navy stores give a 15 percent discount to anyone with a valid student or teacher I.D.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, a writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi’s master of fine arts program, wrote that the outfit lacked some animal decor.
lololol. There are no animals on the clothes? Then NOPE. https://t.co/feurd69xYR
— AimeeNezhukumatathil (@aimeenez) April 26, 2017
Other women wrote that they’ve worn similar outfits or have adopted this style in their academic professions.
@FernandaZamudio Some do, some don’t. I have a few TT friends whom yes, that is their style, and many more for whom it is not.
— Courtney Preston (@courtpres) April 26, 2017
@FernandaZamudio Yes this is a slightly nicer version of what I wore on the tenure track – and still wear.
— Linda hirst (@lindahirst) April 26, 2017
More seriously, some women raised the issue of sexism in the tenure process and pointed out the absence of similar ads for men.
Yes, wearing this blazer will single handedly guarantee tenure despite gender bias that exists in every single step of the tenure process. https://t.co/G3b3Rup891
— Lena Tenney (@Lena10E) April 26, 2017
Who cares what we wear? Why do we never see questions/thought pieces about what male colleagues wear? https://t.co/XfUWqVwPLj
— Emily Farris (@emayfarris) April 26, 2017
CAN I GO ONE DAY WITHOUT SEEING A PROBLEMATIC AD. https://t.co/Wo5c0CgJNe
— C.C. Crane (@CCCrane17) April 26, 2017
With or without the promise of tenure, it’s important to note that this color palette might not be for everyone.
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@FernandaZamudio Also not everybody looks good in blue.
— Kathie J Determined (@KathiePckat52) April 26, 2017