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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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39 Responses

  1. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA July 3, 2012 at 9:17 am |

    OFFS!

  2. EG
    EG July 3, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    I’m going to go ahead and guess that Senator Golden is of the opinion that working-class and black women are just too masculine, and that’s their problem.

  3. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 3, 2012 at 9:28 am |

    o_O Let’s just file this under Things That Should Be On The Onion, then, shall we?

  4. CK
    CK July 3, 2012 at 9:37 am |

    I think we should call the RSVP number and leave our thoughts on this matter 718.238.6044

  5. anna
    anna July 3, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    Not only does the pay gap still exist, but the first-ever documentary about it won’t even get made if they can’t raise $1,140 by July 20th. It would be really cool if you all would consider donating here: https://www.artspire.org/DirectoryDetail/tabid/95/id/1201/Default.aspx

    You can read more about the documentary here: http://www.thepaygap.com/

  6. maggiemay
    maggiemay July 3, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    are–they–fucking–serious—-!!!

  7. Kara
    Kara July 3, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    Well, one one hand yes, people (men AND women) looking to enter (or re-enter) the workforce do need really need to know about business etiquette and protocol and in general how to dress and act and present themselves. The interns and new grads that come to my company seem to get … worse and more clueless about these things every year.

    And then on the other hand… have we just stepped out of the wayback machine and is it now the 1950s? Seriously…

    A swing and a really really big miss here.

  8. Noadi
    Noadi July 3, 2012 at 10:50 am |

    Wow. I’ll agree with the commenter above that many people, regardless of gender, entering the workplace could use a good primer on business etiquette, protocol, and dress. But to take that fact and dress it up in such a demeaning, antiquated package to to women totally misses the mark. How about just a class like “Business Etiquette for the Beginner” and skip all the nonsense about “walking like a model” and focus on customs for handshakes, introductions, meetings, etc. that are valuable for all professionals working in an office environment? Oh wait, that wouldn’t ridicule women who aren’t “feminine” enough.

  9. Mxe354
    Mxe354 July 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |

    women in attendance will be taught to, “Sit, stand and walk like a model,” how to, “Walk up and down a stair elegantly” and “Differences in American and Continental rules governing handshakes and introductions.”

    I’m almost speechless. V_V

  10. Elaine
    Elaine July 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    I think it’s pertinent to note that the description of the event has been taken off of the Senator’s website.

  11. WHEOhio
    WHEOhio July 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    D:

    There will be a protest to accompany this circus, yes?

  12. Usually lurking NYer
    Usually lurking NYer July 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    In addition to CK’s suggestion (#4), it’s worth noting that Golden has a progressive Democratic challenger if you’ve got $10 burning a hole in your pocket. http://www.andrewgounardes.com

    Small-dollar donations mean a lot more in State legislative races than Federal ones.

    (Please note that I am not affiliated with his campaign.)

  13. Kaija24
    Kaija24 July 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

    Arggh…the stupid, it burns. I agree that the simple fact that this is aimed at women and include such decorative fluff as “walking like a model” and “decorously using the stairs” is retro sexist BS. However, I agree with some of the other commenters that business etiquette and professional manners/customs is something that needs to be taught to many young aspiring employees. An alma mater of mine offers such a mini-course to graduating seniors, with the aim of giving students of any gender a little primer on how to act in public as a professional.

    This version offered by the Senator though, is just wrong.

  14. ClaireR
    ClaireR July 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    The only time I wish my children were sons is when crap like this happens, because it would give me somebody at whom to scream,”You’d better NEVER let me catch you saying anything like THIS!!” What am I supposed to say to my daughters? :(

  15. Usually lurking NYer
    Usually lurking NYer July 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    (More on who Golden is for anyone who doesn’t follow the NYS legislature – http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-golden-fingerprinting-must-continue-part-food-stamp-application-process )

  16. Golden Draws Feminist Ire For Seminar Teaching Women To “Walk Up And Down A Stair Elegantly” | Sheepshead Bay News Blog

    [...] and how to ‘walk up and down a stair elegantly,” writes Jill Filipovic, a blogger for Feministe. “Our political leaders should be focusing on necessary policy changes to make sure that all [...]

  17. anne
    anne July 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

    I used to work for this big university system that sometimes sent me e-mail invitations to these seminar/workshop things put on by I think they called it their women’s department or gender equality something or other. The seminars were almost always stuff like how to manage your emotions and how to balance work and family. I’m in one of the most liberal areas on the planet too. The world out there is way off target in its ideas about women. You keep hearing people in the media define feminism as strong empowered women who still manage to be feminine and sexy – crap like that.

  18. konkonsn
    konkonsn July 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    Serious question: At what point is ‘business etiquette’ a necessity instead of a class value? A few other commenters mentioned that etiquette classes would be good, but I just can’t even see the word etiquette without thinking of it as a way to divide people into ‘proper and civilized’ and ‘dirty and uncivilized.’

    Also, of course young people don’t know exactly what to do before entering the workplace. They haven’t been there for years, and social customs change all the time. Yes, you can teach a class, but hands on experience is the most helpful.

  19. Kara
    Kara July 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    Serious question: At what point is ‘business etiquette’ a necessity instead of a class value? A few other commenters mentioned that etiquette classes would be good, but I just can’t even see the word etiquette without thinking of it as a way to divide people into ‘proper and civilized’ and ‘dirty and uncivilized.’

    The thing is, etiquette does divide people. In this case it divides people into “people who know how to behave in a professional, business environment” and “people who do NOT know how to behave in a professional, business environment”. People from every social class need to be able to get jobs and should know how to behave in a professional manner…. regardless of if they are working in a garage as a mechanic or as a lawyer in a high-powered firm.

    I think that a business etiquette class ideally should be first taught in high school, which is the point where most people are looking to enter the workforce for the very first time. (With refresher courses offered in college, in grad school, etc…)

    Some basics that I think should be covered would include:
    What is meant by casual dress? Business casual? Business?
    What is appropriate to wear?
    How to address people
    How to shake hands correctly
    How to compose an effective and professional email
    When to and not to use the “reply to all” function
    Telephone etiquette
    Communication skills
    How to make a good impression
    Table etiquette (for lunches with coworkers and business dinners)
    Oh, I could go on….

  20. Skye
    Skye July 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

    But of COURSE the senator is concerned about the welfare of women. If we gals could all just learn how to walk up a stair elegantly, then we could all land husbands with good jobs and be able to stay at home with the kids. Working conditions, childcare and spousal support issues all solved! /sarcasm

  21. anne
    anne July 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |

    Oh god I just learned this Rep is male. Why doesn’t he just open a charm school?

  22. zuzu
    zuzu July 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    Can I get CLE credit if I master Blue Steel?

  23. Alexandra
    Alexandra July 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    It’s so hard with etiquette making distinctions between the kind of etiquette that makes you a better person (ie, a more considerate and thoughtful and kind person) and the kind of etiquette that exists to divide people into classes. You see this from Jane Austen to Miss Manners —

    I mean, one of the major themes in Pride and Prejudice, for instance, is how Mr Darcy and his relative the Right Honorable Lady Catherine de Burgh, who are supposedly a gentleman and a noblewoman respectively, behave in a less gentlemanly and less ladylike fashion than Elizabeth’s aunt and uncle the Gardeners, who are “in trade” (ie, NOT a gentleman and gentlewoman, not part of the gentry or landed aristocracy).

    I bring this up not because the convo was dying for a lit major pontificating about P&P, but because one of the continual tensions in all discussions of etiquette is what it is – whether it’s a sort of social lubricant that makes it easier for people to live and work together, whether it’s a way of dividing the rich and the poor (and the types of rich and types of poor from one another), whether it’s basic consideration or a sophisticated song and dance — whether it’s all of those things, and if so, when is it one and when is it another?

    I think a lot of business etiquette comes down to, treat your coworkers with respect, treat your boss and your employer with respect, treat your customers/clients/patients/students with respect. But what SPECIFICALLY we take as signs of respect often ARE class markers — for instance, showing up in a tank top and cut-offs would be considered disrespectful in a lot of law firms, because the business suit is considered standard – and it’s considered standard because dressing “professionally” (ie, dressing in clothes which are more expensive and which are indicative of wealth and higher education) is a way of showing that you take your work seriously. Of course, this implies that someone who might dress in a tank top and cut offs for work (a life guard? A snack shop attendant?) does not take their work seriously — and that’s a kind of class divide, sure enough.

  24. Sarah
    Sarah July 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    Sometimes I wonder what people mean by “porn-ified” or “porn-informed” views of society, because it seems like such a vague term. But then we have a man who thinks the reason women are paid less than men in the business world is because they aren’t sexy and graceful enough. He’s directly equating worthy business acumen to sexual attractiveness, and blaming the latter for a lack of the former, and yet still pretending he’s pro-equality…. and it’s breaking my brain.

    I’m not sure if demanding he attend seminars about dressing, acting, standing, sitting, climbing stairs, shaking hands and kissing-as-greetings in order to please gay men, as taught by a gay man, and then docking his pay if he didn’t do it all JUST RIGHT, would be the same thing. But I think I’d still like to see it.

  25. SaraC
    SaraC July 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm |

    *face desk*

    As many others have pointed out already, yes, etiquette is, for better or worse, important in the work place. However, when it’s so blatantly and obnoxiously gender biased (Walk like a model? Is this debutante training?), it’s ultimately insulting rather than constructive. Also, Alexandra, I’m delighted with your PP reference, and it’s spot on.

  26. New York State Senator Teaches Women “Feminine Presence” for … | Ladylike Etiquette

    [...] “in trade” (ie, NOT a gentleman and gentlewoman, not part … … Original post: New York State Senator Teaches Women “Feminine Presence” for … ← Marty Golden, New York State Senator, Cancels Etiquette Workshop [...]

  27. EG
    EG July 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm |

    At what point is ‘business etiquette’ a necessity instead of a class value? A few other commenters mentioned that etiquette classes would be good, but I just can’t even see the word etiquette without thinking of it as a way to divide people into ‘proper and civilized’ and ‘dirty and uncivilized.’

    I hear that, but there also are a slew of people, cross-class, who can’t behave like adults in the workplace. My best friend worked with a young woman whose response to any criticism was to sit under her desk and cry. My mother has dealt with people who resent her telling them that they can’t bring their wife and child to work with them, that they can’t watch basketball while at work, that they can’t work out with weights while at work and leave their sweaty clothing around. So I would say that etiquette that is about understanding that a workplace is a place for, well, work rather than family time or workout time or game time, and how to respond to criticism from a higher-up is probably necessary for the smooth running of a workplace. Stuff about walking like a lady is not.

  28. madspinster
    madspinster July 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    Er, funny, gee. I was indoctrinated on ladylike behaviour back in the ’70s and ’80s, and got myself the finest education. But I have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that not one business on the planet will employ me, on account of my most unladylike record of having opinions of my own. What was that ’bout meritocracy for the ladylike? It ain’t just the handshaking they teach …

  29. jemand
    jemand July 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm |

    Arg. My google is failing, and I cannot remember where I read this. But not long ago, I definitely did read that one possible reason women are talked over, interrupted in business and other professional contexts, etc, is precisely BECAUSE the culturally determined “feminine” postures are smaller, more drawn in, legs together, arms closer to body, etc… the body postures which indicate submission and some level of deference automatically. Male postures, typically take up space, are expansive, arms, legs out, larger motions, which then translates to a larger weight given in social interaction, more attention to ideas spoken, etc.

    I sure wish I could find it.

  30. im
    im July 4, 2012 at 4:08 am |

    oh, jeez/ I HATED miss manners. Her books were almost completely irrelevant to my life. Most of the time, following her rules in the context that they were given for would be completely detrimental. They were still useful for formal etiquette, and I often wish I lived in a world with more formal etiquette (and which was not being used as class distinctions) but I DONT. AND i cannot stand her writing style.

    Seriously, if women were interested in feminine mannerisms… wouldn’t they just pick those up from family, or from culture?

  31. im
    im July 4, 2012 at 4:11 am |

    And seriously WTF? Walk like a model? That doesn’t even make sense in stupid 1950s ultra-gender-roles of doom context! Are we thinking, say, Joan Holloway? How does a model even vaguely come up?

  32. samanthab
    samanthab July 4, 2012 at 6:35 am |

    I’m not sure why women who object to sexism always have to be characterized as “offended.” It’s pretty much code for “histrionic.” I don’t see men characterized as “offended” when the object to politicians wasting money.

    As far as the program itself, if Rep. Golden wants to serve constituency, the goal of teaching job candidates to “set themselves apart” is a very poor one. His goal should, of course, be to ensure that jobs are abundant rather than rare gems for which one needs to fight tooth and nail. He’s openly relinquishing a primary duty of his job, and that’s highly objectionable in of itself.

  33. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated July 4, 2012 at 11:26 am |

    Yes, it’s class prejudice. Yes, it sucks butt.
    The boss wants it, though. Lifehacker had a pretty good article last week on what we need to know to get a job.
    People raised (excuse me, reared) in damaged households, those with Asperger’s, those whose upbringing was shame-based, may not know how to provide eye contact. This is a learned skill, and without it, you will not be getting jobs. Being stoop-shouldered from that love affair with the laptop is a no-no. Pull ‘em back; stoop shoulders connote victimhood to those who rule us.
    The handshake? I have arthritis in both hands, and found out the hard way that the menz do not like left-hand shakes and consider it an insult. Seems that in male culture, it means that you’re reserving your right hand in case you need your weapon. My boss called me down on this one, after he saw me offer the lefty to a customer.

  34. konkonsn
    konkonsn July 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |

    I bring this up not because the convo was dying for a lit major pontificating about P&P, but because one of the continual tensions in all discussions of etiquette is what it is – whether it’s a sort of social lubricant that makes it easier for people to live and work together, whether it’s a way of dividing the rich and the poor (and the types of rich and types of poor from one another), whether it’s basic consideration or a sophisticated song and dance — whether it’s all of those things, and if so, when is it one and when is it another?

    Yeah, this is the exact reason I have trouble with talking about social conventions and standards in feminist discussions. On one hand, no, you should not think less of a person because they eat their peas with a spoon instead of a fork. On the other hand, eating your peas with a fork instead of a spoon can help you identify with, like, your family or the town you grew up in. Things that build a sense of community also serve as markers for those excluded from the community.

  35. Mxe354
    Mxe354 July 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    I’m not sure why women who object to sexism always have to be characterized as “offended.” It’s pretty much code for “histrionic.” I don’t see men characterized as “offended” when the object to politicians wasting money.

    I think there’s an even more telling observation: men who complain about “how women are” aren’t denounced nearly as much as women who complain about all men. The former group has an “understandable” and “reasonable” complaint, whereas the latter group needs to be more polite and probably shouldn’t be arguing when “on the rag.” And so on.

    Of course, both instances of sexism are wrong, but there’s a clear double standard in favor of men.

  36. im
    im July 5, 2012 at 1:18 am |

    It really seems kind of funny. We have a bewildering array of microcultures mostly distinguished by slang and dress, but within formal culture, the only tribal distinctions seem to be those of class.

  37. AndrewJenny
    AndrewJenny July 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

    Am I the only one who thought of those Barbizon ads from the 1980’s?

    “Be a model…or just look like one!”

  38. Del Roughton
    Del Roughton July 7, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Almost all of the things you state is astonishingly precise and that makes me ponder why I hadn’t looked at this in this light previously. This piece really did switch the light on for me as far as this specific subject matter goes. Nonetheless there is just one point I am not necessarily too cozy with so while I try to reconcile that with the main theme of the issue, let me observe just what all the rest of the visitors have to point out.Very well done.

    1. maggiemay
      maggiemay July 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

      @konkonsn—–

      i eat my peas with honey—-ive done it all my life—-it makes the peas taste funny—-but it keeps them on my knife

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