You're Too Sexy For Your Job

LaPrincipessa's picture

Women face obstacles in the work place that prevent them from climbing the corporate ladder. Women make less than men for equal work, women of color make less than white women, dark haired women are shown to make less than those with a more fair complexion and blond hair, women who are thin will advance more frequently than those who are "overweight", and women that are considered to be closer to society's version of beautiful will be paid higher than those who are not.

All of this most already know, yet there is one more we can add to the grim list: women can be reprimanded or even fired for appearing to be "too provocative". You see, if she is too beautiful and too well-endowed, she could be seen as a distraction for male coworkers in (unintentionally) arousing their uncontrollable libido. Other women who wear the same clothing but aren't as "pretty", do not have the same affect upon men, the plaintiff in the case argue.  Of course, it makes no sense to blame women for the unprofessional considerations of her male co workers, but that is fruitless to point out.

This news is more proof that fighting for wage equality and gender non bias in the workplace are not enough. Beauty norms exist, duh, seeing them work against women in this way is a huge problem and frankly, its getting much worse.

What gets me in all of this are the countless articles and commentary on this woman's story. Some news organizations asked, "well, is she too sexy?". Others, of course decided to parlay this with a story on the continued out-of-control-ness of banks (where the woman worked), arguing not only are these big banks screwing the American people, they are firing women for being too pretty-outrage! Everyone, it seems are missing the point.

When will women in the workplace be judged for their work-related performance, intelligence, successes (or failings) and intellectual contributions to her employer?

There is no answer to this yet and I fear our society is nowhere close. We fail to point out that discriminating against a worker , male or female, because of his/her/it sex or appearance is Constitutionally illegal in this country, yet the conversation still hinges around whether or not she is actually sexy.

Women will not earn a fair wage as long as this continues to happen. Our media is not the only entity to blame, but they are largely responsible for driving the narrative surrounding cultural norms like beauty and sexuality. 


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(Posted at Women Undefined)
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