By now, you may have heard about the fallout from comments made a Glamour staffer during a presentation on dos and dont’s of corporate fashion at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb. In case you missed them, here are a few of the gems as noted by Vivia Chen The American Lawyer onAugust 27, 2007:
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.
Some people may think this is racist, but really the staffer was stupidly clueless more than anything. Really, what’s political about dreadlocks and braids? Maybe she should try living in Atlanta during the summer with black folks’ hair and see how long she lasts! But then, we’re talking Glamour magazine. I haven’t used the magazine as a resource for my fashion, makeup, skin, and hair care in…ever. Besides the general dearth of articles relating to black hair and skin care, there’s nothing for plus size women or women not willing to spend a third of their paycheck on a skirt. Even the recent issue of the magazine that a friend left at my house, the issue with Queen Latifah on the cover with Mariska Hargitay and Claire Danes, had a stunning lack of articles helpful to women like me.
And I sure as hell ain’t giving money to a magazine that spends 200 pages telling me how my hair, clothes, weight, skin, hobbies, and sex life all suck.
But never fear, Glamour is doing damage control. From Angela, a black romance reader, comes this letter from the Editor of Glamour:
I read your post about a Glamour editor’s comments on hairstyles for work, and I’d like to share with you our thoughts. First, we regret the comments were made. The employee, a junior staffer, not a beauty editor, spoke to a small group of lawyers at a private luncheon without her supervisor’s knowledge or approval, and her comment — that Afros are not work appropriate — does not represent Glamour’s point of view.
Secondly, immediately upon learning of it, we sought to rectify the situation. The editor has been dealt with in a very serious manner, and the entire staff has been reminded of the magazine’s policies and procedures for making public appearances.
Glamour is proud of its diverse readership and celebrates the beauty of ALL women. We have responded directly and openly with readers to assure them of this fact. We have also apologized to the law firm, and we extend the same apology to you.
If you know others who were offended by this incident, To ask you to please pass along this letter. So they, too, know how sorry we are.
Wanna bet they do a whole series of articles and beauty advice for black women? More than likely it’ll appear in the February issue. You know, during Black History Month.
EDIT: For the sake of clarity and disclosure, I work in a corporate office here in Atlanta. The black women here wear their hair in all manner of ways. I’ve worn my hair straight (which it is now) in braids (which it was during the summer) and sometimes in its naturally curly form. I’m actually thinking about going to Sisterlocks but since that’s an almost forever-choice (and upfront expensive) I’m cautious about it. But I’ve never had anyone tell me I should change my hair, or that I can’t advance by wearing braids. I make a damn good living at my day job, more than I’ve seen from writing, and I appreciate the fact that they care more about my work than my hairstyle.