Gender scholars have long argued that workplace culture is an important key to understanding how informal norms create, maintain, and sometimes undermine gender and sexual inequality at work. Although most studies have defined workplace culture as occupational culture, less emphasis has been placed on the importance of organizational culture. This article addresses the importance of both aspects of workplace culture by examining the occupational and organizational dress and appearance norms of men and women who work as editors and accountants at a heterosexual men's pornographic magazine and at a feminist magazine. This comparative case study demonstrates that workers face different expectations about the appropriate split between “personal” and work identities, depending on what they do and where they work. These informal, unwritten occupational and organizational norms play a large part in workers' definitions of appropriate and inappropriate expressions of gender and sexuality at work and should be attended to more carefully in attempts to achieve equality for men and women in all workplaces.
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Kirsten Dellinger is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in the workplace. She has published on organizational culture and sexual harassment (Social Problems, 2002), organizational sexuality (American Review of Sociology, 1999), and make-up at work (Gender & Society, 1997).
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Dellinger, K. Wearing gender and sexuality “On your sleeve”: Dress norms and the importance of occupational and organizational culture at work. Gend. Issues 20, 3–25 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-002-0005-5