How much does appearance matter?

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IAFG
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:07 pm

"I am sorry, I don't shake hands" sounds a lot worse than "I am sorry I don't shake hands for religious reasons," which is something I think most Americans would try to be respectful of. We really do try to accomodate other cultures, IME. that said, it would be so much harder to build a friendly personal relationship with an interviewer or client after you immediately erect that cultural wall.

dakatz
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby dakatz » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:11 pm

IAFG wrote:"I am sorry, I don't shake hands" sounds a lot worse than "I am sorry I don't shake hands for religious reasons," which is something I think most Americans would try to be respectful of. We really do try to accomodate other cultures, IME. that said, it would be so much harder to build a friendly personal relationship with an interviewer or client after you immediately erect that cultural wall.


Exactly. Many people would be totally respectful and understanding of it. But that doesn't mean they want to have such a person interacting with their clients and leaving bad impressions. Even the most tolerant and understand of all interviewers would be very wary of a practice that would even offend a single client, let alone many.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:13 pm

Nice. Because, we all know that women only have to deal with that paradigm in the Muslim world.... :roll: As I stated, she's going to have her struggles, but it's a matter of her character to overcome that. There might be strong opposition, but that alone shouldn't be reason to stop or change who she is.


No--I was suggesting that NUNS represent submission to male authority as much as the hijab does. You are committing the very error you're ascribing to me.

it's a contrast... between a seemingly benign image of nuns and a image of the abayah, who many Americans will equate with religious oppression. They're relevant because they're symbols. This thread is all about how she will be perceived.

Where did I suggest either was threatening or benign? Yes, it's about perception. Most Americans would not find the picture of the runway model threatening. She's posed to be demure and mysterious: they would likely find her attractive (as one assumes the photographer intends) if exotic and foreign. They would probably also not want their attorney to look like a nun, even if they 'react positively' to the image of a nun. I think you're the one leaping to conclusions based on stereotypes here.


The question at hand is whether such religious dress for females (in which the entire form of the body is concealed out of a concern for modesty) is a handicap due to the semiotics of the workplace, which one cannot simply set aside because they are inconvenient. (And as you may or may not be aware you're dismissing a very well established feminist critique--from both within and without--of the status of women in the traditional Muslim social order in the name of multiculturalism. A more sophisticated point of view weighs both sides of the issue. But ultimately that's all beside the point.) As I said, I think the picture Pearalegal posted was much more relevant: clothing that appears businesslike (or would in a dark shade) but satisfies the needs of the devout.

I even stated how the pics were for those who could use a little more perspective. The juxtaposition is there for a reason. It wasn't for the op, but it was a subtle hint to those in the thread who can't get past their own ideal of the Muslim world...

This thread is not for you to educate the TLS userbase, it's for people to give advice to the OP.
Last edited by Duralex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:37 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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IAFG
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:27 pm

Sincere question: is the Muslim community here or
abroad open to hiring female lawyers?

Pearalegal
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Pearalegal » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:38 pm

xyzzzzzzzz wrote:Honestly, I agree with the posters suggesting OP should look into another field. Certain jobs require certain attire, there isn't much way to get around this. Plenty of people don't want to rock a suit to work every day, but they do. It comes with the territory.


For the record, this is not AT ALL what I was suggesting due to her clothing choices.

The outfit really isn't a problem at all. While common would probably be an overstatement, outfits like I posted way back on this thread hardly turn heads.

Also, I hope you know the vast majority of lawyers rock business casual in the day to day work life, just like every other profession. Suits are for court and client meetings (and you usually only wear them the first meeting anyways).

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Pearalegal » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:40 pm

IAFG wrote:Sincere question: is the Muslim community here or
abroad open to hiring female lawyers?


I looked into this when this topic was first discussed because I was curious and the percentage as well. After looking at a few associate/partner lists of US firms with offices in the middle east, most of those working over there were men, but there were at least a few women represented at all.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:44 pm

Well, a quick run at Google produced various blurbs about female Muslim attorneys on the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago site. But they all seem to be wearing suits, and they do not cover their hair (obviously impossible to know about their handshake etiquette from press release photos.)

http://www.muslimbar.org/

Perhaps the OP should consider reaching out to someone there? They have a profile up on Mahrukh Hussain (McDonald’s Corporation General Counsel), and a conference report. She's a co-founder of the association.
Last edited by Duralex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:49 pm

I am at loss to comprehend how nuns' attire can be equated with Muslim women' clothing. Nuns wear their clothing to signal their religious calling whereas Muslim women, at least in part, wear what they wear to avoid tempting men.

Priests also wear robes but no one would really suggest that they do so to express their submission to female authority. The comparison doesn't work at all.

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Pearalegal » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:49 pm

Duralex wrote:A more sophisticated point of view weighs both sides of the issue. But ultimately that's all beside the point.) As I said, I think the picture Pearalegal posted was much more relevant: clothing that appears businesslike (or would in a dark shade) but satisfies the needs of the devout.


To round out my post frenzy here because I was brought up....I do think there is a difference between someone wearing an abayah and someone wearing the type of suit pictured before. Why? Because the latter is an outfit cut for business. I think its been determined OP has absolutely no problem wearing something like that, and I really don't think theres an issue there.

As an aside (where I admittedly didn't read through both posters posts entirely), you cannot compare a nun's habit and an abayah. Its stupid. One is specially worn for a religious vocation--in essence, their "suit." An abayah is a style of clothing that can be worn for any occasion.

A nun being a lawyer would make me quite uncomfortable due to the whole, can't-deny-there-would-be-an-immediate-issue-with the-whole-church-and-state-thing. A devout muslim practicing law is no different from a devout christian practicing law. Sure, both might cause some raised eyebrows from those who don't share the same beliefs, but a Nun is on a different field entirely.

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby dresden doll » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:52 pm

Pearalegal wrote:As an aside (where I admittedly didn't read through both posters posts entirely), you cannot compare a nun's habit and an abayah. Its stupid. One is specially worn for a religious vocation--in essence, their "suit." An abayah is a style of clothing that can be worn for any occasion.

A nun being a lawyer would make me quite uncomfortable due to the whole, can't-deny-there-would-be-an-immediate-issue-with the-whole-church-and-state-thing. A devout muslim practicing law is no different from a devout christian practicing law. Sure, both might cause some raised eyebrows from those who don't share the same beliefs, but a Nun is on a different field entirely.


This is basically what I wanted to get at. Credited.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:58 pm

dresden doll wrote:I am at loss to comprehend how nuns' attire can be equated with Muslim women' clothing. Nuns wear their clothing to signal their religious calling whereas Muslim women, at least in part, wear what they wear to avoid tempting men.

Priests also wear robes but no one would really suggest that they do so to express their submission to female authority. The comparison doesn't work at all.


I don't think you were getting what I was saying at all. That status inversion makes no sense. Simply advertising the identity of "nun" is to express subservience to male authority. Such is the hierarchy of the Catholic church. The Pope runs it. Male priests enjoy (nominal) authority over female nuns, through the office of the bishop that controls the abbey or order, and possibly a male abbot or prior.

Ultimately we agree on the infelicity of the specific comparison, as they are not the same kind of dress, even if we differ on whether or not, or precisely how, both modes of dress have some elements of codes of female modesty under patriarchy in common (as does, say, the everyday dress of Hasidic women)--probably best to leave it at that and not derail the thread further. It's not a relevant comparison ITT. (Also, I'd imagine some devout Muslim women might take issue with the characterization that they wear such clothing purely "to avoid tempting men" rather than out of a sense of "religious calling." If you believe in the teachings, it becomes a religious matter.)
Last edited by Duralex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bigben
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bigben » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:21 pm

Can someone please summarize this thread.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:23 pm

ITT young Muslim woman (who has passed on Fordham for BLS out of a devout refusal to take an interest bearing loan) seeks advice as to whether she can hope to succeed in mainstream US legal culture while continuing to be traditionally observant (headscarf, observant dress, no handshakes with men, etc.) Should she consider practice overseas? A smaller market here (i.e. in a Muslim community in the US). Should she consider another career?

Occasionally derailed by back and forth on the ups and downs of multiculturalism and gender in which the debaters may or may not actually understand each other.
Last edited by Duralex on Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IAFG
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:25 pm

Pearalegal wrote:
IAFG wrote:Sincere question: is the Muslim community here or
abroad open to hiring female lawyers?


I looked into this when this topic was first discussed because I was curious and the percentage as well. After looking at a few associate/partner lists of US firms with offices in the middle east, most of those working over there were men, but there were at least a few women represented at all.

Very interesting, thank you for sharing

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bwv812
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bwv812 » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:26 pm

.

bigben
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bigben » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:40 pm

Duralex wrote:ITT young Muslim woman (who has passed on Fordham for BLS out of a devout refusal to take an interest bearing loan) seeks advice as to whether she can hope to succeed in mainstream US legal culture while continuing to be traditionally observant (headscarf, observant dress, no handshakes with men, etc.) Should she consider practice overseas? A smaller market here (i.e. in a Muslim community in the US). Should she consider another career?

Occasionally derailed by back and forth on the ups and downs of multiculturalism and gender in which the debaters may or may not actually understand each other.


thanks

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby MJMD » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:19 pm

Duralex wrote:Well, a quick run at Google produced various blurbs about female Muslim attorneys on the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago site. But they all seem to be wearing suits, and they do not cover their hair (obviously impossible to know about their handshake etiquette from press release photos.)

http://www.muslimbar.org/

Perhaps the OP should consider reaching out to someone there? They have a profile up on Mahrukh Hussain (McDonald’s Corporation General Counsel), and a conference report. She's a co-founder of the association.


If they don't wear hijab then you can be almost 100% certain that they are willing to shake hands. Those of Indian descent (such as Mahrukh Hussain) are, I am willing to guess, likely Ismailis or members of another relatively liberal branch of Shia Islam. Ismailis in particular are very sensitive to adapting to local cultural norms. Their practices are not really analogous to those of the OP at all. Still, from the photos, the MBA appears to be a relatively "big tent" organization, so the OP should probably still seek out members for guidance and advice.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:40 pm

Thanks--that was informative. (I don't know much about Shia denominations.) One might still hope someone in her position as GC at a huge corporation (or someone similarly in the thick of things) could provide some insight as to what the experience of a more outwardly traditional woman trying to enter that world might be like . It's possible that there aren't many people in a directly analogous position to ask. (That seemed to be what Pearalegal's quick search suggested.)

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UFstudent
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby UFstudent » Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:34 pm

To avoid shaking someone's hand you can clasp your hands in front of you, smile, nod your head and say "very nice to meet you". I know women who do that.

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goosey
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby goosey » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:09 pm

UFstudent wrote:To avoid shaking someone's hand you can clasp your hands in front of you, smile, nod your head and say "very nice to meet you". I know women who do that.



thanks, that sounds like a really good alternative. I will try this out next time I am in a hand-shaking situation.

eth3n
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby eth3n » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:05 am

bigben wrote:Can someone please summarize this thread.


life is a beauty pageant, also something about muslims, also something about not shaking hands.

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prezidentv8
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:06 am

eth3n wrote:
bigben wrote:Can someone please summarize this thread.


life is a beauty pageant, also something about muslims, also something about not shaking hands.


bout standard. also, no thread is complete without:

"zOMG NO ONE'S GOING TO GET A JOB!!!"

pointnlaugh7
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby pointnlaugh7 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:24 am

i think you could find a really cool looking one, so that the people who resort to 'judging you' will think of you as a progressive, stylish, modern woman instead of forming misplaced negative stereotypes associated with the abayah.

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Lonagan » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:24 am

pointnlaugh7 wrote:i think you could find a really cool looking one, so that the people who resort to 'judging you' will think of you as a progressive, stylish, modern woman instead of forming misplaced negative stereotypes associated with the abayah.


OP has stated she is already pursuing this option, to the extent of buying fabric and having suits tailored.

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IAFG
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby IAFG » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:36 am

goosey wrote:
UFstudent wrote:To avoid shaking someone's hand you can clasp your hands in front of you, smile, nod your head and say "very nice to meet you". I know women who do that.

thanks, that sounds like a really good alternative. I will try this out next time I am in a hand-shaking situation.

i think you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't disclose you don't shake hands for religious reasons. giving people insight into the reason will stem off any feelings of being rejected.




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