Megyn Kelly’s Dress Was Inappropriate

I  keep seeing articles supporting Megan Kelly’s spaghetti strap dress. It’s cute, and it doesn’t indicate anything negative about her morality or ability as a reporter. However, what it does indicate is either a complete lack of awareness about social norms or a desire to push against those norms. The latter is okay (if that’s what she really wants), the former is not.

To read more about this, click here: No, Megyn Kelly Should Not Have Worn That Dress

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31 thoughts on “Megyn Kelly’s Dress Was Inappropriate

  1. This has nothing to do with human resources or work policies or anything else relevant to the subject matter of this column. It is a personal attack on both the journalist and the Fox News organization

    1. I normally don’t respond this way, but did you click through and read the article? I’m guessing no, as it’s all about how this is a dress code issue, which is an HR thing.

      I don’t give a flying fig about what Megyn Kelly wears, but she should.

    2. I am a Fox News watcher and when seeing Megyn live, I immediately thought the spaghetti straps inappropriate to the event and her position. There was nothing personal or a negative agenda about it. Thought she hurt her professional image with her choice. I certainly did not take to the Internet with my opinion and I had no idea that so many others may have had the same thought until I read this article. And as stated in the article, it really is an issue between her and her bosses. But her bosses will be sensitive to the opinions of her audience.

  2. Dress codes for female broadcasters seem to be changing. There was a time when they all wore so-called “dress for success” mannish-type suits or blazers. Now, many of the younger women wear bright-colored form-fitting “dressy” dresses, some embellished with lace, with “statement” jewelry. I’ve often thought, “she looks like she’s going to church” or — in the alternative — “has a hot date (or is going out to a club) after work.” That being said, Kelly does appear to be pushing the envelope, but — hey — she works for Fox, which tends to sexually objectify its female reports.

    1. Yes. Apparently showing legs is currently the thing but not arms. I wouldn’t wear such a thing to work myself, but the expectations aren’t exactly consistent.

  3. What saved your article for me was: “If Kelly wants to make it a news anchor norm, she can certainly work to do so, but she can’t do it without expecting some push back. She can continue to wear spaghetti straps to work, encourage other female journalists to do the same, and eventually change the norm. If that’s what she wants, super duper.”

    I deliberately violate dress code norms at work. I do *not* wear suits to interviews, no matter which side of the desk I work on. I have a particular cultivated appearance, but it violates common workplace norms. (I haven’t worn a tie to work since the mid-1980s when I was a secretary in lower Manhattan.)

    In my case, as a middle-class white male, this is actually about more than just violating the norm on its surface. It’s about signaling to those who reflexively enforce a variety of norms — including sexist and racist ones — that I’m not “on their team”.

    I know that I sometimes get criticism because of this. I know my career has advanced more slowly (in pure economic terms) because of this. I am okay with that, and consider the price to be worth paying.

    I *think* that Megyn Kelly’s was *also* about more than just violating that norm on its surface.

    As a woman in the limelight, she draws a certain kind of attack that you rightly criticize in the article. She’s in a position to safely weather more of that kind of attacking than a *lot* of less powerful women would be, so deliberately acting as a “lightning rod” in order to provoke that behavior *so it can be criticized* is, IMHO, itself valuable and laudable.

    (One of my tenets is “always do everything for more than one reason”. I think she was doing so in this case.)

    1. Sorry but there is nothing laudable and breaking the dress code as some form of resistance unless the clothing is oppressive. You mention sexism and racism, you do know “people of color” wear suits to work, and it’s actually racist to assume they don’t or wouldn’t, which is how I understood part of your reason for not wanting to dress similarly to your managers.

      Not to be harsh, but this reminds me of some people I work with who just wanted an excuse to dress sloppily, and wasn’t any actual form of resistance.

      1. You definitely misunderstood “part of my reason for not wanting to dress similarly to my managers”. Also, you are making imperfect assumptions about how my managers dress. And, I don’t dress sloppily — I actually wear custom-tailored clothing that violates the standard conventions. (For example: flamboyant shirts with puffy sleeves.) Many of my managers dress more sloppily than me.

        1. Oh sorry then. I was just picturing the typical uniform of people I’ve known who say this, which is usually old jeans and a tshirt, instead of regular business attire. I think what you described is fine!

  4. The piece that’s missing here is that Ms. Kelly almost certainly doesn’t choose her own clothing in a vacuum. FOX dresses her or, at the very least, approves her on-air clothing.

    My educated guess is that this dress and other provocative clothing the FOX women anchors wear — short skirts, stilettos, etc. — are part of FOX’s appeal to its target audience, middle-aged and older men.

    1. I think you’re right. I’ve been cringing over Fox News’s female reporters attire for about as long as I’ve watched the network. As a woman, I’m annoyed that Fox dresses its male reporters appropriately for their jobs while dressing its female reporters in tight, flowery, low-cut outfits. To my eye, a woman dressed that way and sitting at a table with one or more suit-clad men looks ridiculous and pathetic, and I can’t quite get past it and take the news program seriously.

      1. This is on most news shows though, what channels is this different on? I see your point, I just disagree it is somehow specific to fox.

        1. I’m sure you’re right, Keith. I just don’t watch any TV news these days. Fox is the most recent news channel I have watched regularly, but I haven’t seen more than brief clips of even that since we cut the cable cord 3 or 4 years ago! I now listen to podcasts of some of the mainstream news programs, Fox and others, and that’s it.

  5. I see nothing wrong with dress. It was simple yet elegant.
    From the way it sounds, these critics are the same people that would have a problem with an infant suckling at the end of her breast during a lunch break.

      1. Distracting in what way? As in, “Ooh, look, a breast!” or as in, “Ooh, look, a baby!”

  6. There was nothing proactive about the dress whatsoever. Its pretty disgusting how jealousy is so rampant and really sick in the head to think that what she wore would illicit any provocative emotion.

  7. I like Megan Kelly. However, I believe that dress was wrong for the occasion. It was not professional.

  8. excellent article. well written and to the point.
    the dress was inappropriate for a newscaster, especially one of her caliber and talent. shes supposed to be covering the most important event of the year for these folks, not going to the mtv music awards afterparty.

  9. Megan looked awesome. It’s too bad you are so jealous. But after seeing your picture I thoroughly understand… cheers

    1. Thanks for the gratuitous ad hominem attack on our hostess that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Perhaps you could mansplain to us how we are so, so wrong and jealous and you are right.

  10. @RealEvilHRLady So here is my concern about the content of your article. As the parent of gender non-comforming children I worry about “norms” that insist that certain things are appropriate or not and how easily that can be based on gender.

    You mention that your comments on her outfit are not gender-exclusive and you also mentioned that her outfit was not appropriate for work. I disagree in that I didn’t find her outfit inappropriate considering the temperature and the fact that her demeanor was not lacking professional tone.

    However, my biggest issue is not our disagreement over your discussion of professionalism but that you began the conversation with a discussion of the importance of norms and the way that society enforces them. Also, the comments regarding the place of rebels but then failing to acknowledge that real rebellion works to subvert norms and does not happen in accordance with our neat sense of order. Real rebellion is disruptive of order; it challenges our norms and forces us to rethink our sense of order. This brings me to the notion of gender conformity. It is the viewpoint that society can and should censure those who step outside of norms in dress and conduct and speech that leads to an enforcement of gender norms and the perpetuation of stereotypes. It is the idea that there is a “uniform” for “emo” people and one for “bikers” and that clothing captures our identity and the seriousness with which we take life that leads to views that there is an appropriate mode for gender expression. It also leads people to enforce classification systems that deprive people of their sense of identity because what is demanded of them externally and their own sense of self are at odds. Insisting that what we wear on the outside has anything to say about how we might perform as employees is also patently false. It also leads to a trust gap under which marginalized groups do not feel as though they can trust or relate to people because they do not see points of commonality. We see this disjunct amongst millenials and communities with less access to socio-economic capital. Uniforms become the thing people cannot see past. We should be encouraging people to see past uniforms, to disregard dress, and try to find common points in the person themselves. One way to facilitate this is to emphasize that dress doesn’t matter; that you care less about a person’s ability to dress the way you tell them to and repeat the lines you give them than to connect with customers, with employees, with people who need their unique situation heard and understood.

    My concern when I hear that HR censured someone based on their dress is that they are so very concerned with with making sure that everyone follows rules for things like a dress code that they waste valuable time that could be spent helping their employees navigate the waters of life that can take them away from the duties of their job or helping people find ways to resolve disputes between themselves and their colleagues.

    1. Not trying to be rude, but these tasks really are not the function of human resources:

      helping their employees navigate the waters of life that can take them away from the duties of their job or helping people find ways to resolve disputes between themselves and their colleagues.

  11. I think the outfit was problematic because of the way being a newscaster works. A lot of the pics show her head neck and shoulders only. So she doesn’t look like she’s wearing a summer top. She looks like she’s nude. Her job is to present news and commentary. Her clothes shouldn’t distract completely from her job function. As a television personality, you should be aware of people’s subconscious perceptions. If you dress tastefully, you are often considered more trusted and your audience pays attention. If you look nude, does anyone hear what you say? You can be seasonally appropriate and modern and tasteful. It’s part of her job.

  12. I think the issue here is that reporters aren’t supposed to wear things that are distracting — and obviously her dress was based on the number of comments. But, really, spaghetti straps just aren’t seen as professional. Maybe they will one day. There was a time short sleeves for women in an office (or on air) wasn’t seen as professional, but now short sleeves can work just fine for women (but probably not men — on air or in the office). I’m not sure what the spaghetti straps were about, maybe just to get people talking about it.

  13. OMG! Why all the “nasty” you are jealous comments?

    I didn’t read that article that way at all – there are very valid points being made about appropriate/inappropriate dress. And in the US for newscasters, spaghetti straps are NOT normally okay because most professional offices have policies that specifically state that they are NOT a part of business casual.

    Now, if she were to be reporting from a nightclub or a ball or somewhere like that – then they might be okay as she would be dressing for the event.

    But for the Republican Convention? Nope, I don’t think it was anything but an attempt at boosting ratings.

  14. first, shut the [squidlips] up if you are from europe commenting on U.S. election process. second, per your comment ” I firmly believe in pushing back against the new societal norm that says it’s OK to be rude to people as long as it’s on the internet”….then WHY WERE YOU BEING RUDE BY JUDGING A CONSERVATIVE NEWS PERSONALITY FOR HOW SHE WAS DRESSED….you need to be [squidlipped] and [squidlipped] for your [squidlipped] double standard.

  15. Let’s face it. Megyn Kelly vs somebody just as articulate, educated, etc… but who isn’t as hot. She wins, hands down. So does she get to push the norms with more success because she is hot? yes. That’s the way of the world.

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