Jerald Walker has a funny article in this week’s Chronicle about being the subject of a wardrobe intervention by a group of students. Deciding to research the correlation between professors’ dress and their perceived expertise, Walker reviews a number of entries on RateMyProfessors.com. He observes:
I saw that female professors with plunging necklines met with strong approval from their male students. That approval was generally accompanied by approval of the course, suggesting, at least with this sample, a correlation between cleavage and mastery of subject matter.
The article is self-effacing and amusing — but I had a hard time getting past this passage. We know that sex (as represented by scantily clad females) sells automobiles, liquor and cigarettes — but medieval history? Organic chemistry? And to students across orientations?
I can’t remember ever paying much attention to what my professors were wearing, except for the drama teacher who apparently thought he was Marlon Brando, and would lecture us in his undershirt. (If he had been Brando, of course, it wouldn’t have mattered what he was wearing.) Have things changed that much, or was I always out of it?
What are your experiences with this?
Is this your experience?