When I started seminary and began envisioning myself as a clergyperson, I started looking at the style of women pastors, particularly women head pastors. And I noticed that virtually without exception, they had “The Haircut.” The Don’t-Think-of-Me-as-a-Woman-Think-of-Me-as-a-Pastor haircut.
So begins Marianne J. Grano’s essay for the Alban Weekly. She is addressing an issue that many female clergy members face.
Sometimes when I’m up in front of the church with the older male head of staff, I feel like Kelly on the show Live with Regis and Kelly. Nobody really notices what Regis is wearing, but we all evaluate what Kelly is sporting. People comment on my shoes, my jewelry, my hair, of course, and what I might be wearing under my robe. I am unabashedly viewed as matter, as style. And I know from my conversations with other young clergywomen that this experience is a universal one for our set. Male pastors and older women are definitely subject to scrutiny for what they wear. Yet younger women are particularly subject to being viewed for their style because television and the media promote young women as objects. Thus I have sometimes felt that my style is more important to the congregation than what I am saying about God.
I am eager to hear what other clergywomen think about this piece, and about their experiences with the issues that Grano describes.