by Cassy Fiano | December 14, 2008 4:52 pm
It’s interesting how feminism works. Anything that offends them is grounds for SEXISM!!!, even if no one before has ever seen it that way. Who cares? A feminist says it’s SEXIST!!!, so therefore, it must be so.
The newest example of SEXISM!!! we must all be on the lookout for? Holding enlightened, feminist women to an office dress code! Apparently, some neanderthal, misogynistic boss sent the following e-mail to an employee concerning displaying cleavage:
According to Jessica, this is a problem:
Apparently this woman’s supervisor sent this charming note because someone had been complaining (!) about her showing a bit of cleavage. According to the sender, “as I’m currently 7 months pregnant, i could be wearing a turtleneck and still be showing ‘too much’ cleavage.”
Right. Because if you’re pregnant, it means you get to completely ignore all the requirements of your office dress code.
Look, I feel for the lady. Keeping the girls under wraps when you’re more large-chested can admittedly be a little bit difficult. However, it does not excuse her from having to follow the rules just because she’s pregnant, just like I’m not excluded from following a dress code where I work because I’m large-chested. Is this woman really that unprofessional that an employer asking an employee to rein in the cleavage a little makes her some kind of victim?! Good grief. And then on top of that, she snipes that she’d have cleavage even in a turtleneck. I’ve said the same thing a number of times, granted, but jokingly. It seems to me that this lady has a rather high opinion of herself. I mean, come on — there’s nothing on the planet that could possibly cover her up and make her look more professional? Really?? Or is it perhaps that she, like most feminists, is just a little whiner who wants special treatment?
When some of the commenters over at Feministing expressed puzzlement over why this e-mail is so bad, like me, well, they were set straight quick!
Really, you don’t understand how this is bad?
Ok, looking at this from a feminist perspective, first off, enforcing a dress code is only OK if it is enforced uniformly for all employees of any gender. Whatever men can/can’t reveal, the standards for women must be the same, and they must be clearly defined, like for example, “no one should wear any garment that exposes more than 2 inches of skin below the bottom edge of the collar bone.” Otherwise, you get cases like this of random enforcement delivered in passive-aggressive emails that say “you’re showing a little too much cleavage.”
That implies that some amount of cleavage is OK, but that there is a limit. So what is the amount? How do you measure that amount? It’s been arbitrarily defined by a supervisor, yet that standard has not been shared in this offensive email.
So what has happened is that this woman has been singled out and told that she is being held to a certain nebulous standard, one of being able to show some cleavage, but not “too much” cleavage. Thus, the reality of living in a perpetual state catch-22 (one of the patriarchy’s strongest tools) which is inherent to having a vagina is perpetuated on an individual, personal and physical level.
And that is why this is bad.
Screaming bias MikeT. I assume youre a man?
I hate things like this. A lot of bigger women, pregnant or no, don’t have a choice: plus size clothing seems to assume “if you have it, flaunt it”. Which I don’t personally mind some of the time, but many people are uncomfortable doing.
Additionally, in some situations wrap shirts and v-necks which reveal cleavage would be considered unprofessional, or even slutty: I’ve gotten overt whistles from random strangers and warning “that looks a bit sleazy” comments from my own parents.
Women shouldn’t have to be subjected to that kind of judgement. Body does not = sexuality does not = character. But it’s particularly irritating when they have little else in the way of clothing to choose from.
Personally, I would retort that, “These are a part of MY BODY. They should not be found offensive or out of place. They are attached to me, therefore, they have to be in the workplace too!”
Additionally, “I didn’t sexualize them, this society did, and apparently YOU buy into that.”
Wonderful post. Telling someone that they’ve dressed inappropriately could end really badly. I think a lot of people are assuming that she didn’t notice or didn’t care (a little nipple, seriously?!), but if she’d picked the shirt thinking it was okay, to get an obnoxious message like that could be a serious blow.
Particularly for a pregnant women, who is already facing a lot of public attention, and could be feeling a lot less than attractive or even presentable most days.
It saddens me to see so many people making assumptions in favor for the manager, when it’s just as fair to make assumptions for the woman.
I absolutely hate stuff like this. I’ve had the odd comment made to me, and it was awful. Especially because I know for a fact it wasn’t sanctioned by management or anything – it’s just some nosy woman who is jealous that I have boobs and wants me to hide them so I won’t take the male attention away from her. It’s always females who complain or make comments, never men. It’s ridiculous.
I’m pretty lucky that where I work the dress code is very loose generally (unless I’m meeting clients). So showing some cleavage doesn’t matter. If someone did send me an email like that I would either completely ignore it, or reply back in a polite way informing the person that I feel comfortable in the outfit and think it’s ok but thanks for the suggestion. I know my management would back me up.
Are you seeing a pattern in the comments here? It’s that gosh darn patriarchy trying to hold womyn and their sexuality down!! We are VICTIMS! If we want to flaunt ourselves, we should be allowed to!
But of course, as they’re flaunting themselves, they’ll whine when men ogle them and say that it’s because they’re being degraded as a sex object.
This is yet another post that just goes to show the truth about what feminism really is. Feminists like to say they want equality and the same treatment for men, and they say they want to empower women, but at every turn, we see this kind of behavior. It’s a state of perpetual victimhood where anything that pisses her off makes the behavior SEXIST!!!, and therefore must be abolished. When you read feminist blogs long enough, you start to get the feeling that modern feminists are basically a bunch of spoiled brats. If everything is not exactly how they want it, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with equality between women and men, they throw a temper tantrum. It’s like feminism for five-year-olds.
But hey, at least I learned something new today. Requiring a women to cover up her cleavage at work? SEXIST!!!
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