As I've written about previously, there's a lot of racial politics involved in discussion African-American hair. Stepping into that arena simulates sweeping a minefield: the person enters at his/her own risk.
That's pretty much what happened when Glamour Magazine told female lawyers that afros and dreadlocks were fashion no-nos.
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.
Not to wade too far into hair politics, but we are talking about a fashion magazine, right? The blog I linked to points out that lawyers know the law and that one can't be prevented from promotion because of a haircut. While that's quite true, I have to wonder why so many six-figure professional types would waste their time in outrage over what a fashion magazine says lawyers should look like.
Glamour has, naturally, thrown the staffer under the bus.
Not surprisingly, Glamour is engaged in damage control. In an e-mail statement to The American Lawyer, the fashion magazine repudiated the beauty advice, and characterized the editor as a "junior staffer" who spoke "without her supervisor's knowledge or approval." Moreover, the statement said that Glamour has a "longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity."
I'd love to believe that looks play no part in female attorney promotions these days. It truly shouldn't matter whether you sport an afro, 19 facial piercings, a plethora of tattoos, or be 100 pounds overweight, but I know that in the real world, all of those things can affect one's promotability, given any corporation's atmosphere. The consequences of changing one's looks is a hot topic even on attorney sites. Perhaps Glamour said a politically incorrect thing in its article, but that doesn't stop hair from remaining a problem for professional women, particularly in the legal field.