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The Migration from Power Suits to Business Casual to Smart Casual to Office Siren

The recent Tiktok trend of Genzenners trying to reclaim ‘personal power against misogyny’ by dressing as a hooker pretending to be an office worker has left some us scratching our heads.

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The recent Tiktok trend of Genzenners trying to reclaim ‘personal power against misogyny’ by dressing as a hooker pretending to be an office worker has left some us scratching our heads.

By Joanne Leila Smith

We can thank the tech generation for bringing business casual into the boardroom, but the latest push to make dress codes obsolete and replacing it with a ‘you do you nearly nude attitude’ is somewhat misleading, and, frankly, career limiting.

According to a recent survey by Resume Builder, post-covid’s prolonged absence from work environments as well as new graduates with no real-world office experience has left many unfamiliar with basic office etiquette, from lacking eye contact, failure to read a room and yep, dress codes. Nearly half of surveyed business leaders reported that their companies are offering professional ‘soft skill’ training to avoid HR having to send colleagues home to get changed into something ‘a little less revealing’.

Those who advocate for the right sit at their desk wearing a crop top and a mini skirt are correct that they did exercise their right to choose what to wear.

They are correct that what they wear may not hinder them from performing their tasks to hopefully, a high standard.

They are correct that they should not be fired for what they wear.

However, they should go on probation for demonstrating bad judgement.

If a client hired a new lawyer or accountant who had a charge-out rate of USD 200 per hour and that person showed up as an ‘office siren’, would that client take them seriously? Of course not. They would feel disrespected and lose the client.

If that same person was dressed as an office siren in a strip club, then, we can assume that they would indeed be dressed for success and win plenty of clients.

We need to acknowledge that context is everything.

As for the argument of dress codes is a form of misogyny, I would argue that it is quite the opposite.

I don’t know of any male on earth that would not like to see a beautiful woman nearly nude. I would argue that those who dress as an Office Siren are obedient embodiments of absolute misogyny.

As for catechisms on equality, well, are we prepared to see our male colleagues jumping on the Office Siren trend and discussing sales targets in a jock-strap and tan loafers at your next Monday morning roundtable?

There is wisdom in modesty. When Allah advises us to lengthen our garments and cover our breasts, it is a mark of respect for one’s own creation, as well as demonstrating respect for others and the sense of occasion.  The idea that modesty is somehow conflated with oppression is a modern and unnatural construct that has been normalised in western European discourse and it’s high time that this kind of bad education be relegated to the rag bin of fashion history.  

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