Having been struggling to stay relevant in the world of “fast fashion” recently, Gap has released a “lookbook” of their separates for modern women with very Millennial-y jobs like “startup partner,” “small business owner,” and, controversially, “tenure track professor.”
The point of the ad was to demonstrate that not all professors are stodgy old white dudes teetering on the edge of death, and that Gap sells comfortable, stylish clothing for the up-and-coming lady.
Unfortunately, Gap failed to consider that many female professors are also Internet feminists who do not appreciate being told that they could up their fashion game with a boxy blazer and a camisole, because being a professor is a Super Serious Job.
Obviously, it was not Gap’s intention to suggest that women in academic fields should wear impractical clothing and they certainly weren’t suggesting that purchasing an outfit from a mall retailer is a sign of success in your chosen career.
But social media denizens immediately (and helpfully) likened Gap’s lookbook addition to the (legitimately bizarre and very sexist) “Delicious PhD Darling” sexy Halloween costume that featured a super-short graduation robe and rolled-up diploma accessory.
Gap was just trying to put together an ad for women who might want to make the jump from Target pants to clothing that doesn’t fall apart the first time you wash it, Internet, not implying you should teach your classes in a French Maid outfit.
Weirdly enough, just a few months ago, the same group started a hashtag on Twitter called #looklikeaprofessor to dispel the notion that modern academics come from diverse backgrounds, are often female, and look nothing like the proto-typical elderly man in ill-fitting pants and a tweed blazer everyone pictures.