Our focus on professionalism is actually harming us —
- “Don’t dress that way” — it’s unprofessional
- “Don’t talk like that” — it’s unprofessional
- “Don’t act that way” — it’s unprofessional
As such, it introduce subconscious biases into how we view certain body types, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
i.e. What I may deem as professional and therefore normal may actually just be me subtly enforcing my culture and belief system on to someone else. “Be like me”, I ask, “so that I don’t have to acknowledge, and therefore be uncomfortable with, your differences”
Given the historical moment we’re in, it’s time we revisit our “professional standards” at work to make sure everyone feels included.