Frock This For A Joke! Women Have It Easier Than Men With Summer Officewear
Men are fools -- we all know that -- but still, there is simply no good explanation for what hundreds of thousands of Australian office-working blokes did this morning.
We woke up, heard it was going to be 40-odd degrees and proceeded to dress in pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes. Some of us even put on a jacket and tie before venturing into the Biblical heat.
Women? They have it a lot better. On a scorching day they can choose from an array of office-friendly dresses, skirts, singlets and sandals.
It's completely acceptable (as it should be) for a woman to bare her arms or have a low neckline in a business meeting. Yet if I walked into the same meeting wearing a singlet and shorts I’d get a series of withering, dirty looks.
Why the double standard?
I’m far from a men's rights activist. It’s men who benefit from nearly all of society's traditions, structures and power imbalances, almost exclusively at the expense of women. Women get a raw deal in almost every aspect of life.
But, but, but… this is clearly the exception. And it's time for change.
Nobody wants to return to the horror days of men's ‘summer suits’, where short sleeve business shirts were tucked into unflattering fitted shorts and socks were inexplicably pulled knee high. But what constitutes acceptable 'office wear' must be updated.
Men should be free without prejudice or punishment to wear nice shorts, untucked shirts and, yes, a well-presented sandal or sockless shoe.
If you’re not persuaded by a fairness argument, then take a moment to consider the unquestionable economic and environmental benefits.
A more comfortable workforce will work harder, increasing summer productivity. A huge amount of money will also be saved by offices turning down the air conditioning, which studies show disproportionately chill women in the workplace, anyway.
Cooler and more comfortable clothing would also encourage more men to walk or ride their bike to work, reducing traffic congestion, promoting good health and cutting both absenteeism and the national health bill.
And what of the stimulus effect? Hordes of office working men rushing to the local High Street fashion outlet with their wallets flapping open would be great for the economy. I don’t want to draw an overly long bow here, Scott Morrison, but it might just guarantee Australia’s return to surplus.
But it’s a brave grunt worker who ‘dresses down’ while their boss is still dolled up like its 1800s England. Change must come from the top.
My challenge to today's male political leaders, business elites and captains of industry is simple.
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Throw off that tie. Untuck that shirt. Slip on a sandal. Sport a short at your next public event. It's time to modernise what we wear to work.
Ryan Sheales is a Melbourne office worker.