Our petition in detail
Some of you may have the experience of doing some research about what to wear for job-hunting in Japan. If so, you might have come across those pictures of monotonous black suits labeled as "for women" and "for men". If you look closer, you might be surprised to see that they all come with the same types of shoes and bags. You might think, what 's going on? Do we all need to dress like this? Do we not have any other choices?
In this petition, we want to say NO to companies and educational institutes who are spreading this outdated, uniform job-hunting fashion which is based on gender binary theory because
1. It reinforces and reproduces the structure of suffocating gender norms while it denies diversity.
2. It contains lots of sexism.
1. Please stop introducing fashions and manners based on gender binary theory and start introducing more diverse fashions.
More and more people are getting to know what gender identity is, and also the fact that it's not limited to women-men.
However, almost all manuals and flyers printed and posted on the internet by recruitment consulting companies, suit companies, and educational institutes are strictly based on gender binary theory of women-men when they introduce how to dress and and behave when job hunting, which make student jobseekers feel only those two genders are supposed to exist in this society.
By putting student jobseekers into two binary genders, it doesn't only make some students not able to perform with their full potential, but also deprives them of their identity. In such situation, they can't keep on looking for jobs anymore. We think it leads to a massive loss of opportunities for students, employers, recruitment consultants, and educational institutes if this situation keeps ruining the students' potential.
Please realize the fact that there have been a certain number of students suffering from the norms, and that there have been a certain amount of harm caused.
Demands in detail:
- Please stop introducing fixed, conservative examples of coordinates and hairstyles for each "men" and "women". Why do all those examples look exactly the same? Please make them more diverse by adding some more variations, stepping out of gender binary norm.
- Please stop using gender binary frames such as "women" and "men" if possible and rethink whether it's appropriate to divide people up into 2 categories with such frames. Please respect diversity.
- Please stop imposing messages such as "feminine" "masculine" on all the students categorized in each gender, when selling items or instructing manners. No one has the right to define "femininity" "masculinity" and impose them on others.
- There are men's suits with only straight shapes, and women's suits with only curvy, body-emphasizing shapes. There are no other choices at this point, but please realize there are customers who want to dress otherwise.
- There are also men's bags and women's bags, men's shoes and women's shoes based on the gender binary theory. Men's bags are stout, can be carried by hand or hung from the shoulder. Women's bags are slimmer and only for hanging from the shoulder. Men's shoes are flat with laces, women's shoes are pumps with heels - This doesn't make any sense. We all should be able to choose whatever bags or shoes depending on our needs. Please introduce diversity in your market.
- Regarding behaviors: please stop imposing manners based on gender binary theory and respect diversity. For example, please stop giving instructions such as "men should sit with legs open, women should sit with legs closed" - please stop imposing "masculinity" and "femininity". How we should sit shouldn't depend on such frames but what we wear (pants, skirts, their shapes, etc.)
- Please keep the coordinates and manners that are currently mainstream as one of the choices. Some people feel comfortable with them.
2. Please stop publishing gender-biased information and imposing biased manners. It could be considered gender discrimination or oppression.
There are still lots of sexism / oppression remaining among instructions and messages from job-hunting related companies and educational institutes. Please fix them as soon as possible.
Imposing manners such as the below on one gender while there is no rational basis is problematic, and lots of those cases could be regarded as sexual discrimination. It's an individual's choice if they dress as instructed by these "manners" or not.
Examples in detail:
<For only women>
- "It's rude for women not to put on makeup" - Please realize this is extremely rude and it's severe sexism. Why is it rude for only women to show their natural faces? Also, please stop taking it for granted that all women wear makeup. We often encounter people saying that "it's good for women to put on makeup and look healthy" - there's no reason why people should ask it only for women.
- "It's against manners to wear pantyhose that don't match your skin color" - it's sexism to ask women to make their legs look beautiful. Also please stop taking it for granted that all women wear pantyhose. Women should also be able to choose socks or stockings that don't match their skin colors. Some say that black stockings make people think about funerals, but the problem is the industry itself that only recommend all-black suits for student jobseekers.
- Copies like "feminine" or "feminine shape" - applying these messages uniformly when selling suits or giving instructions for women could be regarded as sexual harassment. Femininity or feminine shape have nothing to do with business (except for positions where they are part of their job descriptions), and it shouldn't be included in evaluation standards.
- "Women should wear skirts rather than pants" or "pants are recommended for seminars and skirts are recommended for interviews" - please stop these kinds of instructions which could reinforce the image of women, who are judged and evaluated by others, based on their beauty standards. Everyone has the right to choose which one to wear in any situation.
- Instructions or sales strategy based on the idea that women should wear heels, or those which make it look like heels are the only choice for women to wear. We often encounter them saying that women should get used to wearing heels, or women should wear heels in order to make their legs look beautiful while walking. Why do women have to look for jobs injuring their feet? Why are only women required to wear heels, which were made to make their legs look beautiful?
- Some instructions say women shouldn't wear rings on their ring fingers because it makes interviewers think of marriage & childbirth. Please do not make people look away from the actual social problem. The problem is the society where marriage & childbirth could be regarded as risks. Please do not blame women wearing rings at interviews. We all have the right to choose whether or not to wear rings. Do not reinforce the gender gap.
<For only men>
- Lots of instructions tell only men to go job hunting with black hair, black bags and black shoes. We can't see any reasons for why only men's choices are restricted.
- Almost all instructions tell men to cut their hair short and shave their faces. These are issues of their own identity, and some people have different health issues.
- Some instructions tell men to look like executive candidates with their hairstyles, suits, and attitudes. This could work as pressure based on gender bias. Obviously, it's their own choices what type of career plan they build.
- Messages such as "Men should be strong", "Men should aim to become executives" can be seen everywhere. Oppressions like those are outdated, and they don't benefit anyone.
Messages for the Decision Makers and those who are reading this petition:
For those who feel the same,
Thank you very much for reading this petition. This petition focuses on the 2 demands above, but surely this issue consists of numerous issues. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Also please share this petition to people around you online and offline for solidarity. You can see our petition in Japanese from the link below.
For student job hunters,
We guess there are many of you that have no choice but to oppress and put yourselves into this social code. Some of you may have lost your identities, some might be lost in a fog. If you also question the norm like us, why don't you unite with us and share your thoughts with #就活セクシズム (#Shukatsu Sexism) hashtag? But of course, anyone can break this curse, stand strong and go choose your employers, not just be the one chosen by employers. You have the right to dress as you feel comfortable and plan your career, including the styles provided currently.
We already see some employers are making announcements telling student jobseekers that they don't need to wear all-black suits including items based on gender bias. Yet those employers are still few and we think their announcements haven't reached the students enough. Student jobseekers are the least powerful in this system, and it's not easy for them to take risks without being strongly guaranteed. Lots of students can surely be able to demonstrate their potential if we can eliminate the gender binary theory, sexism, and oppression. One by one, companies are starting to hold campaigns to encourage students promoting hairstyles and coordinates free from pressures and gender bias. If you don't want to fall behind them, please take actions now and make effective announcements for better employer-candidate matching, drawing out the students' full potential.
For educational institutes (including cooperative stores),
Obviously, educational institutes are there for students and they should respect students' diversity. They should be at the front regarding human rights. Despite that, there's a tragic fact that various sections of educational institutes are instructing their students to wear stereotyped coordinates through flyers, pamphlets, seminars, etc. We want to make sure that educational institutes are not student factories. We understand that you're concerned about supplying as many students as possible to employers, so you're trying to avoid risks as much as possible. Of course that could be one of the strategies, but please think about how you could respect the students and what would truly benefit them.
And finally, for businesses related to job hunting,
Please do not impose what you think is right, but try to provide as many suggestions as possible, respecting students' full potential. For suit companies, if you think you have lots of student customers, please provide them more choices of what to wear and encourage their first step in their own styles.
We understand that the gender binary theory in your industry is there to protect students from risks. However, please realize that if you keep imposing this system on students, you are reinforcing the norm and disrespecting on students that cannot put themselves into it.
And please realize that in most cases you are announcing biased and oppressing messages such as "women should be beautiful" "men should be strong". How long will you keep supporting this system which makes no one happy?
Do you want to make a future where both you and students both are happy, or do you just want to protect your business, or, for educational institutes, keep up the employment rate of your students? Now is the good time for you to show what possibilities and options you can provide for people on this issue.