Too sexy? You’re fired.

An all-male court in Iowa decided that a dentist in that state didn’t violate sex discrimination laws by firing an assistant who was by all accounts excellent at her job, but also pretty. The woman, who is significantly younger than the dentist, saw him as a mentor and was not sexually attracted to him and did not behave flirtatiously or inappropriately at work. The dude, though, is a religious guy who kinda had a boner for this lady, so instead of keeping himself in check, he fired her. And then said it was basically her fault because she sometimes wore tight shirts.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

A victory for family values. The values of… trusting your husband not to cheat on you? Of not making inappropriate sexual advances on attractive coworkers? Enabling people, like the dental assistant, to support themselves and their families by being productive and effective workers? NOPE! Family values: Getting bitches out of the workplace.

The dentist, James Knight, is obviously a very moral and religious man.

Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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248 Responses

  1. catfood
    catfood December 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    Wait, creating a hostile workplace is actionable, but firing the employee isn’t? That doesn’t make any sense.

    1. suspect class
      suspect class December 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

      You can’t create a hostile workplace just by existing and looking good.

      1. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 7:00 am |

        I think catfood meant that if the dentist had created a hostile workplace, that would have been actionable, but outright firing her is, apparently, OK in Iowa, and that’s some bullshit right there.

        1. suspect class
          suspect class December 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

          Agreed! total bs.

  2. konkonsn
    konkonsn December 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

    …are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

    Oh, well, then, just as long as we’re clear that discrimination has nothing to do with feelings and emotions…

  3. JBL55
    JBL55 December 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    Such firings […] are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions

    And here I thought discrimination was nothing but feelings and emotions.

    My thanks to Justice Mansfield for clearing that all up.

  4. yes
    yes December 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    Sounds legit. I’m sure lots of employers fire/don’t hire black people not because they’re bigots, but because of the feelings that dark skin inspires in them. See? Totally different.

  5. Henry
    Henry December 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    The holding is horrible. She should be paid damages. Returning to a workplace where the business owner is in love with you (if this was a case of simple boner it would have happened long ago – she worked there for 9+ years without any issues at all with him) is just not going to happen. This problem is his responsibility, and he needs to pay for it, not toss an innocent person out on the street with 1 month severance. What a cheap asshole.

  6. speedbudget
    speedbudget December 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    We don’t have burkas here. We just fire women. We are so much more enlightened.

    1. Dominique
      Dominique December 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

      +10

  7. Donna L
    Donna L December 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

    I haven’t read the court’s decision and have no desire to subject myself with it, but I don’t really understand why it wasn’t sex discrimination: presuming that the dentist was straight, he wouldn’t have conducted himself the way he did, and wouldn’t have fired, a male employee in otherwise the same circumstances. It sounds like sex discrimination to me. An argument could also be made that it rises to the level of sexual harassment, in terms of creating a hostile work environment. What a terrible result.

    1. cocacolagirl
      cocacolagirl December 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

      In one of the threads you suggested, maybe the dental assistant needed to put up with a lot because jobs are hard to come by in this day and age. Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling through this depression/recession. That isn’t exactly evidence. Maybe she needed the job, and maybe she didn’t need the job. And maybe her husband makes a lot of money. Maybe she wanted to work for her own sense of fullfilment and identity.
      Where’s the logic here? It’s easy to make a face value judgment without knowing the indepth particulars. The doctor said he fired her because she is “irresistible.” Did she suddenly become irresistible overnight? The court documents state, “Dr Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.” But the court docs only state what each party was willing to reveal.
      She’d worked there 9+ years without incident and then suddenly this? He’d started harassing her at work, but then she was willing to engage in personal texting with him? He told her about his “bulge”, and made comments about her “tight clothing.” And yet, in the face of that she didn’t feel uncomfortable enough to modify? I don’t know about you, but if I worked in a doctor’s office and my boss made those kinds of comments I would react based on my situation. If the job is crucial to my survival I would adjust; if the job doesn’t carry too much weight in my life I would make an official complaint.
      Unfortunately, this case raises a lot of questions.

      1. EG
        EG December 30, 2012 at 12:07 am |

        And yet, in the face of that she didn’t feel uncomfortable enough to modify?

        How do you know she didn’t change the way she dressed?

        She’d worked there 9+ years without incident and then suddenly this? He’d started harassing her at work, but then she was willing to engage in personal texting with him?

        As with survivors of rape, there are any number of reasons why a target of sexual harassment will continue to associate with the harasser: behaving as if there is no problem allows the target to pretend that there is no problem, for instance. I myself have done that. Or a target might fear retribution if she is not sufficiently “friendly.” It’s really not that uncommon a problem.

  8. Donna L
    Donna L December 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    I haven’t read the court’s decision and have no desire to subject myself to it, but I don’t really understand why this wasn’t a case of sex discrimination. Presuming that the dentist is straight, he would not have conducted himself as he did with a male employee in otherwise the same position, and, therefore, would not have fired such a male employee. Therefore, he treated her differently by reason of her sex. Sounds like sex discrimination to me. Plus, I think it could be argued that his conduct rose to the level of sexual harassment in the sense of creating a hostile work environment. What a terrible result.

    1. PM
      PM December 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

      He fired her because (and this is his logic, not mine) her presence was a burden on his marriage and his wife wanted her to go. Also, his pastor advised him to fire the employee. It wasn’t considered sex discrimination because she was fired AS AN INDIVIDUAL, not a woman. As a side note, apparently all his other employees are women.

      Like I said, that’s the court’s logic, not mine.

    2. DouglasG
      DouglasG December 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm |

      I’m definitely with you on How Is It Not, though I get a tiny bit nervous when orientation is brought into these cases. It seems plausible that, by contrast with conclusions that arise from presumption of heterosexuality (or homosexuality if it came to that), one could easily reach a point where bisexual people either lose both ways or get a free pass. Here, for instance, I wouldn’t want a bisexual employer to be able to skate by claiming that he would have treated a male employee of equivalent appeal exactly the same way (though as this one appears to have skated anyway it seems a moot point).

      This brings up the realization that I haven’t any idea how the law, as it were, regards bisexuality in a general way.

      And this case seems like a giant step backwards. Granted, it was fiction, but there was a case just like this on L.A. Law and the fired employee won (I’m fairly certain) – how many years ago?

  9. Marni
    Marni December 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    Well obviously she led him on, all that time, treating him like a ‘mentor’, wink, wink, and wearing clothing that sounds practical for the task at hand reveals all and daring to be so attractive and …

    Hmm. Apparently he argued that because his other employees are female, it can’t be discrimination. How’s that for a new legal precedent.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

      Kind of like how you can’t be racist if you have black friends? -eyeroll-

  10. Stella
    Stella December 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Well at least he did not give a bogus reason to fire her. Who knows, maybe it was his wife whom said either she goes or you can pack your bags.

    1. tomek
      tomek December 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

      woman out of job regardless of whether he truthful about reason or not.

      also happy evening of christmas to all!

      1. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable December 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm |

        Wesolych swiat, tomek.

    2. Dominique
      Dominique December 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

      In that case, there ought to be a law you can sue the *spouse* for destroying your career to save hir marriage.

    3. PM
      PM December 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

      It actually was his wife who prodded him to do it. He met with his pastor and the pastor told him to fire the employee, as well. He’s a grown-ass man. Get your shit together, dude (is what I would have said).

      1. Stella
        Stella December 25, 2012 at 7:54 am |

        Of course it was his wife, else he would have given her a bogus reason. It happens all the time, but the maid does not get an article.

        I must say though, if I found that my boyfriend employed some blonde with a tit hugging shirt, I would wonder on what merits exactly he hired her. I dont know why one would need a hooters shirt in her profession.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 8:00 am |

          What?
          Did you actually read what happened?

        2. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 8:11 am |

          I wear tight shirts all the time. They don’t cut off blood flow to my brain, so I have no trouble doing my job at the same time, so you needn’t worry. Of course, I’m not blonde. Clearly, leaving the house while blonde is asking for it, or something.

        3. matlun
          matlun December 25, 2012 at 10:09 am |

          … I would wonder on what merits exactly he hired her. I dont know why one would need a hooters shirt in her profession.

          She was working there for ten years, and no one is disputing that she did a very good job, so that comment does not seem to have any relevance to this case.

        4. Stella
          Stella December 25, 2012 at 10:13 am |

          Well PM said it actually was because of his wife, so I assume he did read what happened, that he fired her because his wife felt uncomfortable with him working with an assistant whom dresses up in a hooters grade shirt.

          And if you dress in inappropriate tight shirts for work, yes, that can be grounds to be fired. Men do not have to endure to be serviced by men in hotpants and netshirts. I expect to be serviced by someone dressed appropriately for the job she does. I dont want to feel like I ran into hooters (which I stay away from) when I have an ouchie on my toothie.

        5. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |

          If the case was her dress, which she suddenly altered after 9 years, then he could have issued a dress code, and if she did not meet it, then he would have had grounds for firing her. But he did not, instead he fired her and has been very open about the reason for doing so being his attraction to her. You are deliberately muddying the waters of this case by implying his reasons for firing her were related to dress, which he has maintained throughout the firing and the legal challenges that this is not the case. If you as an employer have a problem with someone’s dress habits (which randomly made a drastic change after almost a decade) then institute a stricter dress code. If you as a customer or patient have a problem with a company’s dress codes, then get another company or realize that the way they are dressing is not a reflection of their competency.

          But in this situation, dress was not a factor. If that was the case he most likely would have used this as a reason for firing her, and he would have documented the fact that he had given her at least one warning about dressing in violation of company dress code. In which case, there would have been no grounds for a legal challenge (unless the dress code itself was a violation).

        6. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

          Is there a reason you keep referring to tight/fitted shirts as “hooters grade shirts”? Do you have pictures or something? Lots and lots of women wear tight/fitted shirts to work, and yet I manage to walk through hallways unscathed by the horror of boobies.

          If the wife felt uncomfortable, that was her problem. It doesn’t justify depriving somebody of a living.

        7. Jadey
          Jadey December 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

          THANK YOU, JILL. Best Christmas present ever – I just air-punched in a crowded airport terminal in celebration. :D

        8. samanthab
          samanthab December 27, 2012 at 5:29 am |

          Stella, you don’t know what she was wearing. Your abusing her based on an ahole’s word. By the associative property, that makes you an ahole, too.

          Also, are you afraid of someone’s goddamned breasts? They don’t bite, you know. If the smallest glimmer of sexuality tortures you, perhaps some self-interrogation is in order?

        9. matlun
          matlun December 27, 2012 at 7:31 am |

          Stella, you don’t know what she was wearing. Your abusing her based on an ahole’s word.

          Not even that, she was abusing her based on her own imagination. He thought she was wearing a too tight shirt on at least one occasion, but he did not allege that this rose to the level of clearly inappropriate clothing.

          The “hooters shirt” existed only in Stella’s mind.

    4. Henry
      Henry December 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm |

      So what? I agree she’d have to leave the job anyway now that he’s come out and said he wants her that badly (he owns the business and can’t be fired like some bad manager should be for trying to start a relationship with a subordinate – so where are they – she’s not going to want to go back to work with boss who is infatuated with her). Bad shit happens when you mix emotions/genitals/bosses at work. He owes her damages until she finds a replacement job, instead he cheaped out. If he were smart he’d have tried to find her a replacement job with another dentist in the area. It’s the least he could do since he is responsible for this situation.

    5. EG
      EG December 25, 2012 at 7:02 am |

      Who cares if it was the wife? He was the employer; it was his decision. If his wife doesn’t feel like she can trust him, that is between them to work out.

      1. Stella
        Stella December 25, 2012 at 7:56 am |

        I know I wouldn’t be happy with just being told to deal with it. If there was a problem, she was probably seizing up her possibilities to snatch up that wealthy dentist. Do not be so naive, nobody can tell me it is a work requirement to walk around dressed up in a hooters grade shirt.

        She tried to mess around and the wife did not take it. Good on her.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 8:01 am |

          Way to blame the woman, against all existing evidence.
          You are a disgrace.

        2. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 8:14 am |

          You don’t have to be happy. You just have to not deprive another person of their livelihood.

          she was probably seizing up her possibilities to snatch up that wealthy dentist.

          Yes. She was clearly on year 9 of a 10-year-plan. That sounds likely. Nobody hotter than a dentist who sexually harasses you.

          Fitted and/or tight shirts are perfectly normal items of clothing. If the dentist can’t control himself in the presence of people who have breasts, he should stay home.

        3. Andie
          Andie December 25, 2012 at 11:32 am |

          If there was a problem, she was probably seizing up her possibilities to snatch up that wealthy dentist

          Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

          Who spends nine years at a job biding their time to “snatch up” their boss? How does “tight shirt” equate to being dressed like a Hooters waitress?

          Were you somehow wronged by a dental assistant in the distant past?

        4. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

          Were you somehow wronged by a dental assistant in the distant past?

          That is kind of an awesome image. I’m picturing Stella shaking her fist in the air during a dark and stormy night. “Damn you, dental assistants!” she rages. “I’ll be revenged upon the lot of you, someday!”

  11. Tameka (@Tamstarz)
    Tameka (@Tamstarz) December 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    Nothing is more upsetting than this ruling. I agree with those who think this is reverse sexual harassment. http://venusblogs.com/category/politics/

    1. Jadey
      Jadey December 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

      Reverse nothing – this is straight-up sexual harassment.

  12. Dominique
    Dominique December 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

    That’s it. I’m taking my farting, burping, uncombed, unwashed, second-hand-shop-grease-stained-attired middle-aged self to Iowa, where I will pay those judges a visit and fully expect them to give me a job.

  13. matlun
    matlun December 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    So, as far as I understand Iowa law and this ruling:
    * It is basically legal for an employer to fire an employee for any reason or none
    * There are some specific exceptions, such as a sex discrimination law
    * This case did not meet the letter of that law, so it was legal

    It is probably a legally correct ruling, but it still stinks.

    1. Miriam
      Miriam December 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

      Yes, that’s how I understand it. I think the dentist was morally in the wrong, but legally in the right. I also think he should have given her much more warning and helped her find a replacement job.

      I also wonder if she would have been better off filing a sexual harassment complaint. The comments he allegedly made seem harassing to me. The article states she didn’t do that because she wasn’t particularly offended by Knight’s behavior, but it seems to me like her attorney should have steered her elsewhere. What may have seemed appropriate when she thought he was just a ribald father figure should be re-evaluated when she knows he was so attracted to her that he fired her because he didn’t think he’d be able to avoid making a pass. Also, what kind of father figure discusses your sex life?

  14. Kerandria
    Kerandria December 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |

    Apparently he sent her a text asking her what her orgasms were like -she reportedly didn’t reply.

    1. PeggyLuWho
      PeggyLuWho December 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

      Oh yeah. Family man. Yep.

    2. BabyRaptor
      BabyRaptor December 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

      I read elsewhere that he had made comments about her sex life; supposedly saying that the fact that she wasn’t sexually active was like “having a Ferrari in the garage and not being able to drive it.”

    3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 2:38 am |

      Good grief. And his wife wanted the employee fired? She should have fired him from the house and the marriage!

      1. Marksman2010
        Marksman2010 December 25, 2012 at 11:18 am |

        +1

        Whoop! There it is.

  15. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

    I’m so sick of this notion that love* must be acted on, and that people just can’t help themselves if they are in love. I have a lot of emotions that I don’t act on. I get pissed off all the time, and manage to not beat the crap out of anyone. I have the squish feelings in my tum tum for someone at this very moment that I can’t do anything about, so I’m just sitting around feeling uncomfortable a lot, but that’s my problem and no one else’s. It is fully possible to be in love with someone and not be a jackass about it.

    *I don’t for a second believe that Mr. Dentist is in love with his former assistant.

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 2:39 am |

      Hear, hear!

    2. Dawnbreaker
      Dawnbreaker December 25, 2012 at 11:45 am |

      Absolutely.

  16. SomeGuy
    SomeGuy December 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

    There seems to be a lot about this case that sounds rather bizarre. And if sexual attraction can be used as an excuse to fire people based on sex, then this is certainly an easy way to reinstate sex-based discrimination under a different name, which is unacceptable.

    That said, there’s also a theoretical question: can’t sexual/romantic attraction become an undue burden on someone? I mean, it’s easy to say attraction is only the problem of the person who’s attracted, but sexual attraction, including the related mental activity, is not something someone usually actively chooses, as opposed to acting on it. I don’t think it’s impossible to think of cases in which someone becomes so attracted to someone else that it becomes hard for them to do their work. Usually, that’s probably good reason to relocate the person who’s unable to do the job given their attraction and not the person causing the attraction, but if the attracted person is the owner/employer, that’s probably not an available option.

    If sexual attraction can be an undue burden, what would be an appropriate way to deal with it given the potential for discrimination such a verdict opens up?

    1. BabyRaptor
      BabyRaptor December 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

      Whatever the answer is, it needs to revolve around the person with the issue. Firing a person because someone else finds them attractive is like tossing out a tool because you can’t figure out how to use it. It’s a waste of assets.

      And that’s before you get to the fact that the person being fired is a *person,* and as such has rights and a life, ETC.

    2. Henry
      Henry December 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

      the way to deal with it is to not violate the time honored work rules, esp. where you own the business and thus cannot leave. 1. Do not think about dating/fucking/hooking up with/leaving your family for a coworker. 2. If you break rule 1, do not ever tell your coworker, or anyone else who may leak it, ever ever ever. Half an ounce of common sense would have stopped this before it began. Anyone else in such a situation can find a new job if it’s that bad for them. Firing the one person who did nothing wrong is not the answer to your “undue burden”.

    3. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

      I can’t think of a single circumstance where it would be logical or justified to fire someone for being ‘too hot.’

      I can, however, see it as a pretty good cover line for “I fired her because she wouldn’t let me bang her.” Which is always going to be the case. Like, always. Because no one actually gets fired for being ‘too hot’. And anyone who tells you so is lying through their teeth.

      1. orangedesperado
        orangedesperado December 25, 2012 at 2:49 am |

        Yes, exactly.

      2. SomeGuy
        SomeGuy December 25, 2012 at 10:01 am |

        @Kasabian

        I’d say like, *almost* always. I don’t know, but maybe you’ve never experienced a situation where you’re just so shocked and awed by a person’s beauty (women, in my case) that your brain just stops working. I mean have literally lost the power of speech in the presence of one particular woman. Now, we weren’t working together, so no problem except my embarrassment ;), but I can imagine a situation in which I would have hired her for my three people business, believing this extreme attraction would soon turn into a healthy admiration of her beauty including the ability to work together without problems… and then it would not and I would not be able to work with her. Sure, my responsibility, and not fair at all, but what options are there in such a case? Should I sell the entire business instead of dismissing her in that case? I’d call that an undue burden.

        1. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

          I don’t know, but maybe you’ve never experienced a situation where you’re just so shocked and awed by a person’s beauty (women, in my case) that your brain just stops working. I mean have literally lost the power of speech in the presence of one particular woman.

          For nine years? Nine years? After you hired her in the first place? No. I call bullshit. I’ve felt that way upon first meeting somebody I was strongly attracted to when I was a teenager. Now I am an adult, and I act like one. Your boner is not some all-powerful force.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

          EG,
          Did you just postulate that the penis is NOT the most powerful force in the universe?
          The entirety of earthly society is built upon the presumption that it is.

        3. SomeGuy
          SomeGuy December 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm |

          @EG

          Of course, after nine years, that’s bullshit. But I can totally see that happening for a couple of months.

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

          Some Guy, the point is this didn’t happen after a couple of months. It happened after nine years, so comparisons with Mr Dentist acting like some teenager who’s thinking below the waist are irrelevant.

    4. Anon for this
      Anon for this December 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm |

      I work with a guy who I am very attracted to. I am in a long term relationship, he is married. Nonetheless, dude is H.A.W.T HAWT.

      I value my boyfriend, I value my job and I respect both this co-worker and his wife. SO I suck it up, admire from afar, and maintain an air of friendly professionalism. Because that’s what grown-ups do. It’s really not THAT hard.

      1. orangedesperado
        orangedesperado December 25, 2012 at 2:53 am |

        That is called having your priorities straight (no pun about sexual preference intended). You can get your imaginary panties all in a tangle about Mr.1000 degrees, but you are wise, sensible and moral enough to understand that just because you find another person attractive does not mean that you would throw your relationship, employment and another person’s relationship under the bus.

    5. EG
      EG December 25, 2012 at 7:07 am |

      can’t sexual/romantic attraction become an undue burden on someone?

      No. No, it can’t.

      People desire–or are even in love with–others who are for some reason inaccessible all the time. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to most people. Whether it’s a friend, a co-worker, a professor–it happens all the time. Suck it up and deal with it. There’s nothing particularly special about wanting someone who doesn’t want you back. It’s just part of life, and regular life is not an undue burden.

      1. J
        J December 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

        I think all lesbians hear you there. I seem to crush exclusively on straight girls. I have not, as of yet, taken away their livelihoods because of it. I mean… What?

  17. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia December 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    This makes me ashamed to live in Iowa. While it is true this is a “right to work” state, including being able to dismiss employees anytime without any reason, this is blatant sex discrimination. I’m not sure the status of her unemployment benefits, and I certainly wouldn’t want to return to work after what happened, but I’m not her, and this happening in the first place is inexcusable.

    The real travesty is the court ruling. Iowa has always been, if not progressive, at least more forward thinking than our neighbor states. I feel as if the clock has been set back 50 years with this ruling. I hate to think of the implications of this ruling.

    “Iowa: we let the gays get married, but you can be fired for being an attractive woman”

    1. xzaebos
      xzaebos December 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm |

      It was my understanding that “right to work” means “right to not be forced into a union.”

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia December 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

        You are absolutely right. It’s just that it’s always mentioned here (in Iowa) whenever anybody brings up “continued employment is at the sole discretion of the employer”

        1. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 25, 2012 at 9:15 am |

          Same in Florida. I think the union automatic dues thing is just a cover for the most part. Whenever it is mentioned as far as I know, it is always to justify private sector employers firing their employees for any reason they like (and it is on the employees to prove if it was because they were members of a protected class). Government full time workers in some classes have a little more leeway, but of course, more and more government positions are now “part-time” (even if you work 40 hours every week, if you are in a job with no benefits you are not considered full time).

          But I too am wondering if her lawyer ever suggested filing sexual harassment charges. As someone mentioned, even if she was willing to let the comments go at the time because she thought he was an otherwise friendly guy who just asked for TMI every now and then (perhaps to complain/joke about his own marriage or get more info on female sexuality because he was concerned about his relationship with his wife) in light of getting fired that behavior should probably be reevaluated. And one month’s severance is disgusting. If you are going to do something so abhorrent, not only should the unemployment filing not be challenged, but I would think 6 months would be the least that could be done, especially by a moral and upstanding man like our fine dentist.

          And I hope everyone in the area stops going to this guy. Everyone. I mean, if you can’t keep a competent dental assistant who has been with you for years because of your attraction to her, then how on earth can you be trusted not to take liberties ( and by take liberties I mean sexually assault) people who are medicated? Same for the church. This sounds like a situation where the pastor believes women are temptresses.

        2. Tim
          Tim December 26, 2012 at 1:07 am |

          If people are bringing up “right to work” in cases of firings, they are probably confusing that concept with “employment at will.” EAW tends overwhelmingly to be the case in the USA, not just Iowa. One exception is if you have a union contract. RTW means that even if even at an employer with a “union shop,” you cannot be required to join as a condition of employment. Also, RTW laws usually specify that union dues cannot be collected, i.e., deducted from paychecks without the express authorization, i.e., signature of each individual employee.

          There really is no reason to be ashamed to be from Iowa in this case, or at least not of the Supreme Court. The decision seems unfair on the surface, but is well-reasoned. The justices appear to have decided this based on the law, just as they did with the same-sex marriage case (4 of the current 7 were on the court for that). Nelson did not sue on the basis of sexual harassment, but rather sex discrimination. It’s impossible to know why her lawyer didn’t push the complaint and subsequent suit toward sexual harassment instead.

          The dentist’s behavior was awful, and he was horribly cheap to give her only a month’s severance. I would not be too unhappy to see it wreck his practice. How many women are going to want to be his patient after this? Of course, Webster County is pretty conservative, and a lot of his loyal, long-term patients may take the attitude that “it was all that slut’s fault.” Still, the Dr. probably has and will continue to be the topic of embarrassing gossip.

      2. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 7:10 am |

        No. You only get “forced” into a union in the same sense that I was “forced” to have Bush for a president: it means you lost the vote. “Right to work” means “union dues cannot be automatically deducted from your paycheck,” which means “unions don’t get funded,” which means “unions cannot operate,” which means “yay! say the employers, we don’t have to worry about any organized opposition and can do whatever we want.”

    2. LibraryGander
      LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 4:00 am |

      I hate to break the utopian bubble, but these laws seem to be buttressed by archaic stereotypes. It starts with one person. Write your local assemblyperson or state-house rep. Rad idea, huh?

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 5:21 am |

        I have. All you’ve done is blame women their own oppression.

      2. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 7:11 am |

        Yeah, rad idea. Amazing we’ve never thought of it before.

        Oh, wait. We have.

  18. LibraryGander
    LibraryGander December 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

    A lot of the stuff being said is hearsay; we don’t really know what happened or was said behind closed doors. I will say this, when something like this happens there’s always a knee jerk reaction. People get angry and want to change laws and cultural stereotypes. But when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think? If you’re a guy, you’re going to have the typical guy reaction. If you’re female, are you going to think she’s a lovely girl and a strong worker? Or, are you going to think she’s a tramp trying to get attention? Nine out of ten times, the other females will vilify the pretty girl.
    No one here is personally involved, so it’s easy to rally for the sexy worker. When it’s in your backyard, I don’t know that too many females would back their fellow worker.

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia December 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

      “Nine out of ten times, the other females will vilify the pretty girl.”

      And the award for the most misogynistic response goes to…

      1. alanc
        alanc December 25, 2012 at 5:30 am |

        I think misogyny is just your code for “painful truth”.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

          Saying 90% of women act in a certain way, that men are unique and varied, and women aren’t = misogyny.

          It’s not a “painful truth” because it’s incorrect.

    2. Henry
      Henry December 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

      So what if there’s a typical guy reaction or there’s jealousy from other women. It happens, what’s the point? Just because women may behave poorly when it’s in their workplace does not make this case right. Women murder people too, there’s no call by progressives to repeal the homicide laws.

    3. A4
      A4 December 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

      But when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think? […] When it’s in your backyard, I don’t know that too many females would back their fellow worker.

      You actually can’t believe that there are people who don’t react with hate and prejudgment towards “a pretty female wearing a tight skirt”. That’s an extremely twisted worldview. Perhaps you could remedy this by trying to remember that every person you meet is actually a human being and not just whatever clothes they’re wearing and how they make you feel.

      *Trigger Warning for extreme misogyny*

      You remind me of my brother, who asked me recently one late night while he was stoned whether I just hate the women I see walking down the street. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about but I was afraid I already knew. He explained that he either wants to stick his dick in them or he hates them, and since I told him I’m not attracted to women, he figured I must just hate them. He used those words, and I was so horrified to hear such blunt and blatant misogyny that all I could say was “I treat people on the street like they’re people”.

      If there is suddenly a new person in my office, I wait to form any sort of opinion until after I know more about them than their sartorial choices and phenotypical presentation.

      You and my brother and other men might think a reaction of either hate or sexual objectification is a “typical reaction” for men, but I wanted to let you know that you are wrong, you are horrible, and you should feel very very small for being so terrible to your fellow human beings.

      1. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 1:41 am |

        I’m glad you and your brother have meaningful conversations about rape when you’re both stoned. Obviously, firing a female because she’s “too sexy” is wrong. That point didn’t need to be made again. The point I was trying to make was females behave in ways that promulgate stereotypes.
        This is a feminist site. I live in the real world. Out here in the real world, women don’t have those warm, fuzzy, supportive feelings toward each other. In the real world, most women behave in deferential ways toward men. In the real world most women feel more comfortable showing off their bodies than their intellect. Our culture sets us up for that kind of conduct. Is it right? No, but that’s the way it is.
        One doesn’t necessarily have to be a man to be a misogynist. Females engage in hateful behaviors toward one another everyday, which speaks to my point. Stop complaining and take some real action. Don’t objectify yourselves because the collective you think it’s expected. Break the stereotype and create a new norm.

        1. PM
          PM December 25, 2012 at 2:21 am |

          Stop using “female” as a noun, please, unless you are referring to women and girls at the same time.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 5:19 am |

          “The point I was trying to make was females behave in ways that promulgate stereotypes.”

          Yes, we women are the reason for patriarchal indoctrination, and all of the ways we are oppressed are, indeed, our own fault.

          Blaming the victim for their own oppression is step one.

        3. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 7:17 am |

          Obviously, firing a female because she’s “too sexy” is wrong. That point didn’t need to be made again.

          Apparently, it needs to made quite often. Especially in Iowa.

          I live in the real world….Break the stereotype and create a new norm.

          Oh, really? Because I live in Oz, where bluebirds flutter around my shoulders all day, tweeting happy little songs. Where the fuck do you think we live?

          Guess what, genius? Holding men accountable for their behavior and demanding fair treatment in the workplace is creating a new norm.

          Why do you keep calling women “females”? Are you referring to cows? Bumblebees? Anteaters? The word for human females of age to be working full-time is “women.”

        4. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 7:58 am |

          This.
          EG, I kind of love you!

        5. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 8:15 am |

          Aw, right back at you, Radiant Sophia. Thanks!

        6. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 25, 2012 at 9:23 am |

          No, people who are discriminated against do not further stereotypes. Oppressors only pay attention to the people who reinforce their view of the world and certain people, and then negate any people who act counter to expectation as “different from the rest.” You know, kinda like how you cast A4 and their brother as outliers for discussing their views of women while at least one was high.

        7. catfood
          catfood December 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

          Our culture sets us up for that kind of conduct. Is it right? No, but that’s the way it is.

          That’s why feminists are out to change the damn culture.

        8. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm |

          But when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think?

          In my world (very real), where I work in the intersection of tech and advertising, when any new woman (seriously stop with the ‘female’ bullshit) shows up in my office, I think, “Oh thank fucking god!” and do a little dance.

        9. hellkell
          hellkell December 26, 2012 at 11:55 am |

          You are an asshole. Know how I know this? You use the word “female” instead of “women.” This lets me know it’s safe to discount you utterly, so thanks for that.

    4. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm |

      You’re in a weird, weird place little troll.

    5. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 2:48 am |

      “A pretty female” – a pretty female what? Female cat? Female hamster? Oh, you mean female human. Guess what, there’s a word for us, it’s “woman”.

      I’ve worked in a big group with pretty women who wore short skirts. Whatever the men thought, they had the sense to keep to themselves (or at least, in their locker room) and I never heard any of the women in our crew have a go at the short-skirt wearers.

      And your “real world” women being “deferential” to men – hello, there, how’s your time machine working? Whatever world you inhabit isn’t the same one I do.

      1. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 6:15 am |

        You and the rest of your online friends seem to live on the outer fringes of the skewed parts of the bell curve. (Lucky you) I’m here, in that vast median area of the bell curve, where the average person dwells. Like it or not, it happens to be where our “sexy” friend lives as well. It’s the reason she was subjected to male rule.
        So, what can you do? Complain about the patriarchal society? Or, become active in changing it?
        But things are going well in the world in which you inhabit, so stands to reason things are well in everybody’s world. That’s a nice, altruistic, feminist view.

        1. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 7:20 am |

          Complain about the patriarchal society? Or, become active in changing it?

          Yeah! Become active in changing it! Sue for sex discrimination, for instance. Publicly condemn and pressure Iowan judges and lawmakers. She was and is active in changing it. And so are we. It is possible to discuss things on the internet and take other actions as well, you know?

          Oh…that’s not what you mean? You mean…don’t wear tight skirts? Yeah, that sounds very active.

        2. Stella
          Stella December 25, 2012 at 8:10 am |

          Yeah dont dress inappropriately at work and ask of the wife/girlfriend to just be okay with it. Why would you wear tight skirts when you are at work with your very married employer? Are you at work or at the nightclub?

          If she wasnt interested in that guy whom did she dress those hooters shirts for?

          You can dress classy for work without slutting out, I know because I did it.

        3. xzaebos
          xzaebos December 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |

          What are these words? I don’t understand them :(

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

          I live in Australia, genius, which is not perfect by any means but which is, believe it or not, just as much a part of the Real World as your patriarchal stereotypes. You’re trotting out nonsense which just reinforces them – talking about women as “females”, claiming we’re all competitive shrews, talking as if men don’t actually have any control over their boners. Somehow you don’t strike me as someone who’s out there trying to change things. And if it’s so useless being on a feminist website, wtf are you doing here?

          Oh yeah, I know. It’s called trolling.

        5. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

          And you “know” she was dressing “inappropriately” for work (for nine years, with nobody reviewing dress code issues with her, so that’s on her boss)…how, precisely? And weren’t you banned?

          As for whom she was dressing attractively for…I don’t know. And neither do you. The cute guy at the coffee place she stops into on her way to work? The busdriver who works the 8:40 AM she takes every day? The receptionist at the practice on whom she has a crush? Herself, because it makes her feel more confident? Men need to be able to control their actions when they are around attractive women. They need to learn, as does Stella, that the world doesn’t revolve around their boners.

        6. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 26, 2012 at 8:36 am |

          I live in the real world. I work and have worked with my share of pretty WOMEN (not “females”, dumbass, this isn’t Wild Kingdom) in short skirts and the only thing I think is, “Wow! Cute skirt! Where did you get it?”

          Contrary to your fevered assertions, most women don’t give two shits that their coworkers are attractive. The world is filled with attractive people and we don’t feel particularly threatened by them. As long as everyone acts professionally and does their job, we’re cool.

          Finally. Stop insisting you’re the one actually living in the real world. Your assertions are coming right out of a bad porno or sixties sitcom. It’s a “fact” in manland, it’s a fact among women who are afraid to hold their husbands responsible for their own actions (blame that hussy for exisiting!) but not, actually, in the real world.

    6. EG
      EG December 25, 2012 at 7:12 am |

      But when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think?

      I think “nice skirt.” If she’s my type, I may think “I wonder if she’s single.” Then I go about my business, because that’s what grown-ups do.

      1. A4
        A4 December 25, 2012 at 9:00 am |

        Depending on how “sudden” her appearance was, I might also think “Nice teleporting powers!”

      2. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 10:16 am |

        Do you live in Oz? Guys look at inappropriately dressed ladies and think, ‘Gee whiz, what a pretty outfit!’ You completely missed my point! Don’t shove words in my mouth if you’re incapable of understanding the subtext of my statements.
        That lady wasn’t at a neighbor’s party. She was in a workplace setting. Work environments have dress codes, you know.
        Why do people insist on having women conform to the idealized stereotypical male vision? If women are tired of being subjected to unfair scrutiny and discrimination, stop adhering to the conventions set by men. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect to live according to male doctrine and then scream, “Unfair!” Of course it’s unfair; the guy who is subjugating a woman isn’t going to save her.
        What’s your solution? Oh yeah, women are supposed to be sexy. Prance around in the office in tight clothes cuz that’s what’s expected. She did that and look where it got her.
        Your argument is brilliant.

        1. Andie
          Andie December 25, 2012 at 11:43 am |

          Why do you assume EG is a guy?

        2. Andie
          Andie December 25, 2012 at 11:46 am |

          Work environments have dress codes, you know.

          Then she should have been reminded of the dress code and if she still didn’t meet dress code requirements then he would have a good reason to fire you.

          “I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to keep it in my pants” is not a valid reason to fire someone.

        3. Dawnbreaker
          Dawnbreaker December 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

          Why do you assume she was inappropriately dressed? If she was, then he would have done the sensible thing: issue her warnings based on the dress code, and fire her for non-compliance if she didn’t conform. The fact that he DIDN’T do this suggests the exact opposite – she was appropriately dressed, albeit in form-fitting clothing.

        4. orangedesperado
          orangedesperado December 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

          Library Gander, it might be time to go to a library to read some books. Ask the librarian there to direct you to some current books about feminism, sex discrimination, sexual harassment. Nice you came here, but it is time to stop talking at the regulars here and start listening/learning.

          Even if the dental assistant dressed like Kimberly Stodden making a press appearance(which seems highly unlikely as dental assistants generally wear sort of baggy medical scrub type clothes that are washable, and flat white soled clinic shoes). Even if the dental assistant was the most beautiful, most sexy woman ever – she deserves to be treated fairly in the workplace(and everywhere else).

          What makes you think she was violating any dress code ? Whenever I have gone to the dentist, the assistant and/or hygienist does some messy, yucky jobs that involve things like patient’s spit, plaque, tooth decay, and blood as well as chemical preparations like fluorodation, mixing filling compounds, etc. ? Seriously, who would choose to this job, for years, dressed “inappropriately”.

          Since you seem like a guy, you don’t seem to understand that women get sexually harassed every day, everywhere, no matter what clothes they are wearing, how much make-up they wear, whatever hairdo they have, how loose or tight their clothing is. Some guy will feel it is his place to verbally assault a stranger/neighbor/co-worker/employee, etc. because he FEELS she looks too sexy, or not sexy enough, or is too fat, or has a pleasant shape, or she is smiling or not smiling. And then the victim of this will be blamed because she was “doing something to provoke this” like say, walking down a street, or opening a desk drawer.

          Library Gander, I look forward to the day, that you will begin to comprehend how misguided, condescending and insulting your comments are.

          p.s. I also look forward to the day when someone uses your words to describe you, since you don’t seem able to understand how wrong this is:

          “What’s your solution? Oh yeah, women are supposed to be sexy. Prance around in the office in tight clothes cuz that’s what’s expected. She did that and look where it got her.”

        5. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

          I’m a woman, you dolt.

          What a woman wants to wear is her own business. Not yours, and not mine. Women wear tight/fitted shirts to work every single day. What are you assuming, that she was wearing bustiers to work for nine years, and her boss never took her aside and explained workplace dress codes to her? Why do you characterize a woman wearing perfectly normal clothing as “prancing around” “conforming to male visions”? Are you under the impression that women have to wear gunny sacks to be properly feminist?

        6. hellkell
          hellkell December 26, 2012 at 11:58 am |

          You flatter yourself by thinking your comments have any subtext, bub.

    7. librarygoose
      librarygoose December 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

      “LibraryGander”? Does this mean we duel? WTF?

      1. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

        Yeah, I feel vaguely like your honor is being besmirched.

        1. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

          When the hell did I assume you were a guy??

        2. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

          Wrong thread. But you assumed I was a man when I responded to your question of how we would really react if faced with a co-worker wearing tight skirts, and you compared my response with the one you expect of men, rather than the one you expect of women.

          Now, as to what you said regarding that–I don’t give a flying fuck what men think when they see a co-worker they find attractive. I care how they behave. I expect them to behave like the adults they claim to be. If they can’t do that, they don’t get to have the rights and privileges of adults. Simple.

        3. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

          In case you hadn’t noticed, the other thread was taken up with oh so many protests.
          Actually, my response was a reaction to the ridiculous naivety of the ways in which you think guys respond to women. There was no reference to gender or sex.
          You and everyone else evidently feel women are perpetual victims, subject to whatever restrictions or bonuses are imposed on them. They have no control or accountability, according to you. Women can wear and should wear anything at anytime because they are supposed to be sexy All The Time, according to you. If a woman wears a bikini at a pool, I would say that’s appropriate. In an office-not so much.
          Why do I assume tight or sexy clothes conform to male visions? Because for centuries woman have been dehumanized and characterized as exclusively sexual. They have been told their only prowess resides in being sexual. Why go out of your way to fit into that narrow mold.
          Mr boner’s feelings are his problem, but that ruling was allowed for some off reason. It sounds radical, but maybe the next step is to force men to see women as intellectual beings first.

        4. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

          LibraryGander,
          Your lack of understanding of privilege is astounding. You can’t fathom an argument that doesn’t include how it relates to males. IT ISN’T ABOUT YOU. Wearing what we want has nothing to do with how it relates to the male gaze. Get over yourself. You are every bit trying to tell women what to wear for their own benefit. STOP.

        5. EG
          EG December 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm |

          I respect women’s judgment and agency, and therefore I give women the credit of assuming that they are dressing in the way that is best for them. Your paternalistic bullshit does nothing but buy into the misogynist fantasy that women can control men’s behavior. Guess what? We can’t. Men have to control their own behavior. Men harass women in jeans. Men harass women in tight shirts. Men harass women in sweatshirts. Men harass women in burqas.

          It’s not our responsibility to magically, telepathically know where the line is between “too attractive, asking for it” and “too frumpy, less likely to get promoted, likely to get harassed” is in the mind of every man we see over the course of the day. It is men’s responsibility to understand that what we wear is not their business and to act accordingly. And it is the court’s business to enforce our rights. In this case, they fell down on the job spectacularly.

          As to your understanding of the ideology regarding women’s sexuality in history, it is simplistic and inaccurate.

      2. Denise Winters
        Denise Winters December 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

        You have this ridiculous notion that oppressors will stop oppressing if the oppressed act or dress a certain way. That isn’t how it goes. A woman could wear ankle-length skirts and sweaters every day and would not be any more respected for it, or not oppressed for it. Hell, Hillary Clinton got crapped on for wearing pant suits while running for presidential nominee. If your respect for someone as a human being is conditional on the clothes they wear, I regret to inform that it isn’t actually respect for them as a human being. Women’s position as the sex class is not conditional upon dressing a certain way. Do you even know what history is? Or reality? You accuse women here of living in a fairy-tale world but seem to believe that women would be taken seriously as a class if we all wore three-piece suits with high necklines and low hems.

        Not to mention, you are bringing all of this up in a case where dress has nothing to do with the situation at hand, nothing at all. You are just looking for a way to make this the woman’s fault, when it has nothing to do with her. Your whole agenda is placing the blame on sexism on the shoulders of women. This woman performed her job competently for nine years, and was laid off not because of how she dressed, but because her employer did not consider her an actual human being and bought into the narrative given to men (that you reinforce) that women are dirty little temptresses who men can not focus around.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

          This Exactly!
          Thank you Denise.

      3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

        Actually, my response was a reaction to the ridiculous naivety of the ways in which you think guys respond to women.

        I’ve worked with men and women all my life and hardly anybody’s reacted according to your degrading stereotypes. Am I lucky? Yeah, there haven’t been too many douchebags in my workplaces over the decades, and when there have, management have been decent human beings who’ve put a stop to their behaviour. Oh, and the couple of times I’ve been harassed had Nothing To Do with how I’ve dressed. They’ve been about power and bullying in a sexualised form. But you’re talking as if ALL men react to women the same way, and as if reacting = behaving toward. Haven’t you ever met any actual, y’know, adults? Men who can work with women without turning into the Boner Werewolf? I’m taking a guess you’re doing a lot of projecting from your own feelings or how you’ve been treated. But talking as if “man” is the same as “horny hetero teenager with no self control, little grasp of the idea that women are not sex dispensing machines and no notion of workplace behaviour” is a load of shite. Cut your BS woman-blaming and go learn something.

        1. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 10:09 am |

          You keep talking about “boners.” Is that the only way in which men react toward women?
          You keep quoting me, but you don’t understand the meaning behind the statement. Yes, men react in different ways toward women; but, you can’t deny that men get away with unacceptable behavior based on a long standing history of discrimination and the ways in which the culture views women in general. Yes, some men try to bully and harass women in offices to gain control. Guess what? Women do the same thing. Women don’t have immunity against being bullies or control freaks.
          Why don’t you learn to be more open minded? Women are not “sex dispensing machines” and should not be viewed as such. However, have you read any of the popular ladies magazines lately? Have you turned on the TV? Repeatedly, women are told: Top 10 Ways to Catch a Man, How to Look Sexy, 20 Things Men Want to See Women Wearing, How to Make Yourself More Sexy for Your Man. Home shopping channels continually bark at women: “Ladies, men love this fragrance,” “Ladies, your man will love this sexy dress.”
          Discrimination against women extends far beyond the ways in which women dress in offices.
          If we’re talking about office etiquette, both women and men are supposed to follow the same guidelines. Are we still at the point where we’re giving women free passes, treating them special or like children?
          This is a feminist site. You don’t seem to want to have a civilized dialogue about the broader issues without resorting to insults or a bullying demeanor.

        2. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 26, 2012 at 10:29 am |

          If we’re talking about office etiquette, both women and men are supposed to follow the same guidelines. Are we still at the point where we’re giving women free passes, treating them special or like children?

          You are making no sense. There is no indication in the original article about the case that the woman in question wore tight or revealing clothing. If she did, her boss would have been within his rights to send her home to change and point out the dress code. Telling her about a bulge in his pants is gross, and pointing that out and shrugging off firing her for his problems is not treating women like children. It IS giving men a pass. So is yelping on and on about how terrible women are to other women when it was a MAN who fired his employee, a woman, who worked for him for nine years without incident because of yes, his boner. One that he referenced.

          I would suggest you actually read the original article and stick to the topic at hand, but it’s obvious to me and everyone else on this thread that you’re trolling, and not all that artfully.

        3. EG
          EG December 26, 2012 at 11:29 am |

          It’s so great that some dude has come on here to explain the sexual objectification of women to us. I have never thought about the matter so thoroughly and analytically, and I’ve certainly never looked at a women’s magazine. Thank goodness for librarygander.

        4. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 26, 2012 at 11:34 am |

          “Yes, men react in different ways toward women”

          …so men are varied individuals.

          “Nine out of ten times, the other females will vilify the pretty girl”

          …but women are not.

          Interesting hypothesis. Can we please ban this MRA jackass.

        5. shfree
          shfree December 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

          Exactly, Radiant Sophia. At one point he made the comment “You believe that women must be Sexy All the Time”, or something to the equivalent, and I was wondering when the hell ANYONE on the site ever once said anything like that and meant it with any sincerity. Now I realize he means that women are one big monolith of catfighting harpies determined to keep ourselves stuck in our own morass of gendered stereotypes and oppressions. On the other hand, each man is a unique, special snowflake whose boner responds differently to the pretty female prancing about in the office. *Eyeroll*

        6. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

          I rarely prance. I lack the requisite motor control.

        7. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

          You prance?! I sashay. Clearly I am not a proper part of the lady–sorry, FEMALE–universal/undifferentiated experience that LibraryGander posits up there. Sadface.

        8. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

          I sashay.

          ooooohhhhhhh pretty

    8. mxe354
      mxe354 December 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

      A lot of the stuff being said is hearsay; we don’t really know what happened or was said behind closed doors.

      Who cares? We are merely discussing what we know so far.

      I will say this, when something like this happens there’s always a knee jerk reaction. People get angry and want to change laws and cultural stereotypes. But when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think?

      Irrelevant. But if you must know, I’d probably think that she looks good and then move on. Or maybe I wouldn’t even give a shit and go back to my work.

      If you’re a guy, you’re going to have the typical guy reaction. If you’re female, are you going to think she’s a lovely girl and a strong worker? Or, are you going to think she’s a tramp trying to get attention? Nine out of ten times, the other females will vilify the pretty girl.

      [Citation needed]

      In any case, they are the ones who have to change, sorry. If you’re being a misogynist, then stop being one.

      No one here is personally involved, so it’s easy to rally for the sexy worker. When it’s in your backyard, I don’t know that too many females would back their fellow worker.

      Hear that ladies? We’re just liars.

      Oh, I’m sorry – we’re supposed to be called females. My bad. (Seriously, though, calling a women “females” is really weird.)

      1. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

        I’ve missed you, mxe!

        That’s really all I have to say, here.

      2. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

        “Who cares? We are merely discussing what we know so far.”
        Hearsay is exactly that…rumor, gossip, conjecture.
        ….but when there’s suddenly a pretty female wearing a tight skirt in your office, what do you think? “Irrelevant.” Nope. Finish the quote. It’s pertinent to the meaning of the paragraph. My point is females support each other in theory, not in reality. A few years ago, I was a financial officer of a bankruptcy firm. The sales receptionist was the only girl in a room full of guys. She wore low cut tops and tight pants every single day. Do you know who exclusively complained about her attire? All of the other women in the office. I kept a tally sheet on my desk one day. Fifteen women complained in one day. The other women also went out of their way to show their disdain. Not one man complained. I’ve encountered that kind of thing repeatedly within every office I’ve worked. I don’t just say these things; I’ve experienced them.
        “If you’re being a misogynist, then stop being one.” I’m far from a misogynist. My sister is the first woman in my family to have graduated from college. She holds two degrees. The women in my family have always worked. I have a lot of respect for women.
        This isn’t about me or men in general. It’s about woman, and moving forward.

        1. trees
          trees December 25, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

          The sales receptionist was the only girl in a room full of guys.

          Do you know who exclusively complained about her attire? All of the other women in the office.

          If she’s the only woman in the office, who are all these others complaining?

          A few years ago, I was a financial officer of a bankruptcy firm.

          I kept a tally sheet on my desk one day. Fifteen women complained in one day.

          Why would people complain to a financial officer, did you also do HR?

        2. delagar
          delagar December 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

          Why, some of Gander’s best friends are women!

        3. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

          “My point is females support each other in theory, not in reality.”

          So most discrimination against women is perpetrated by women?

          Yeah. You are a troll. Go troll elsewhere.

        4. mxe354
          mxe354 December 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

          Hearsay is exactly that…rumor, gossip, conjecture.

          We are discussing what we know so far. There is nothing unreasonable about that because we aren’t going further than discussing what we know.

          And yes, your point about the behavior you’ve witnessed is irrelevant. At the end of the day, it is those misogynistic people who must stop harassing others, not the ones being harassed. That is the only way to address the root of the problem.

          I’m far from a misogynist. My sister is the first woman in my family to have graduated from college. She holds two degrees. The women in my family have always worked. I have a lot of respect for women.

          I didn’t call you a misogynist; that was a general “you”. But given your posts so far, I suppose it’s reasonable to call you one as well. Just because you aren’t subjugating the women in your family and you claim to have “a lot of respect” for women doesn’t mean that some of the things you’re saying in this thread aren’t misogynistic.

        5. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 27, 2012 at 10:39 am |

          The fail is strong with this one.

        6. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie December 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

          What do your sister’s accomplishments have to do with YOU?

        7. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 28, 2012 at 12:51 am |

          What do your sister’s accomplishments have to do with YOU?

          Every man takes credit for the success of the women in their lives, for it would be impossible for women to succeed without them! Roffle. What a cahnt. How much more illogical crap can someone fling into an argument fail? *Reaches for popcorn*

      3. EG
        EG December 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

        You realize that your anecdotes don’t actually mean anything globally, right? Women have stuck together where I’ve worked, though there has been fracturing along class lines, lines that divide men as well, which sounds like what went on in your office.

        My point is females support each other in theory, not in reality.

        Again, is there a reason you overgeneralize? Not all females behave the way you suggest. Bees, sea horses, two-year-old girls, crocodiles, none of those females routinely complain about other females at all. Is there a reason you don’t want to use the more accurate, specific word?

        Believe it or not, we’ve all worked full-time jobs. Your experience does not trump ours. I have had female mentors and colleagues all my life. They have been nothing but supportive. Even the ones who were pains in the asses were trying to be supportive.

        I’m far from a misogynist. My sister is the first woman in my family to have graduated from college. She holds two degrees. The women in my family have always worked. I have a lot of respect for women.

        What do your sister’s achievements have to do with you? “The women in my family have always worked”–oh, then, you couldn’t possibly be sexist. “I have a lot of respect for women”…isn’t that what misogynists always say?

        1. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 5:36 am |

          Women have stuck together where you work. That’s good for you, but there are so many other working women that are shut out, so to speak, who don’t have a support system. Why are you refusing to acknowledge them? They have faces and voices, too.
          You sound as if you are speaking from a place of superiority, where no one elses experiences count or mean anything. Are you saying, all women support you therefore women support all women? If you don’t think women discriminate against other women, you’re foolish. Believe it or not, there are women who hold misogynistic views toward other women. You’re eliminating a big chunk of the population out of your theory. That’s the point, to get all women to recognize and support one another.

        2. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 7:45 am |

          In addition, you have to be able to see the world from a perspective other than your own. My experiences don’t mean anything globally? Of course they do. They are real world experiences. Are you telling me you don’t come across other women in the world who disagree with your point of view? Or, who don’t support other women? And what about those women? Do you dismiss them?
          You’ve had good experiences with other women, but there are lots of women who’ve had bad experiences. Why discount them?
          I could be anyone, a woman, a man, tall, short, heavy. I’m not the “bad guy” because I come from another perspective.

        3. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 26, 2012 at 10:00 am |

          You sound as if you are speaking from a place of superiority, where no one elses experiences count or mean anything. Are you saying, all women support you therefore women support all women?

          In addition, you have to be able to see the world from a perspective other than your own. My experiences don’t mean anything globally? Of course they do.

          This is honestly the stupidest shit I have ever read on this site.

        4. EG
          EG December 26, 2012 at 11:24 am |

          Your experiences are no more significant or representative than my experiences. Why should I accord yours more validity than my own? Because you’re a man? I don’t think so. I’m sure you’re used to that kind of privilege, but you won’t get it from me.

        5. mxe354
          mxe354 December 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

          They are real world experiences.

          Yeah, it’s not like EG is an adult who has also had real world experiences. She’s just making things up because she wants to see you as the “bad guy” or something.

        6. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

          Maybe none of us are real “females”, you know, since we like each other. That can’t be normal. (I <3 sarcasm)

        7. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 7:30 am |

          “Women have stuck together where I’ve worked, though there has been fracturing along class lines, lines that divide men as well……”
          Why..is this an over-generalization? Incidentally, I recall having said I’ve witnessed that kind of behavior in every office I’ve worked in….meaning I’ve worked in more than just one office.
          You’re so preoccupied with bashing and extracting sentences from whole paragraphs, (You can do that here, but if you did that in a law firm or anywhere else people would laugh at you) you’re missing the larger point. Women are discriminated against by both men and women.
          You want to protect the rights of women who’ve been discriminated against by men, which is great. But you want women who’ve been discriminated against by other women to disappear. No, those women don’t count because they don’t fall into your delusion women support and protect all women everywhere.
          Your goal should be to end every source of discrimination against women.

        8. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 27, 2012 at 8:47 am |

          (You can do that here, but if you did that in a law firm or anywhere else people would laugh at you)

          Would they have time to laugh at us when they’re busy cracking up at you for embedding logical fallacies into your argument, then acting like your arguments bulletproof? You worked in MORE than one office. That’s totally different than most adults everywhere, including on this thread. Of course you can overgeneralize! How super interesting!

        9. EG
          EG December 27, 2012 at 10:07 am |

          meaning I’ve worked in more than just one office.

          Gee, may I touch the hem of your robe? I’ve worked in more than one office as well, given that I’ve worked in offices on and off for the past 20 years, and I’ve seen nothing to validate any of your assertions about how “females” behave “9 times out of 10.”

          You want to protect the rights of women who’ve been discriminated against by men, which is great. But you want women who’ve been discriminated against by other women to disappear. No, those women don’t count because they don’t fall into your delusion women support and protect all women everywhere.
          Your goal should be to end every source of discrimination against women.

          It’s so great that some dude has shown up on a feminist site to tell us all what our priorities should be. Goodness knows that left to our own devices, we women–sorry, females–would never be able to focus on what’s really important: castigating other women.

          Let me tell you something, you condescending asshole: we’re actually discussing a real, live case of misogyny and sexism here, and as much as you would like to deny it, this misogyny and sexism has been perpetrated by a man, and upheld by men. Try to focus on the subject at hand.

        10. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

          The great and powerful “EG” has spoken.

          * Trigger warning for assaultive outburts *

          Climb all the way back up to the top of my thread and re-read the first sentence of my original post. I said ‘A lot of the stuff being said is hearsay; we don’t know what really happened behind closed doors…’ Does that mean I support what happened or the ruling? Umm…NO. It means even though the ruling was shocking, we don’t have all the facts. It’s a simple statement.
          The rest of the comment was based on observations regarding the ways in which I’ve seen women treat other women. It’s interesting you turned my basic observation into a rejection of your experiences.

        11. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

          We are rejecting your observations because they are NOT REAL. They are props for your misogynistic views. Women do not “vilify other women 9 times out of 10″. There is nothing you can say or “prove” that will make this true.

        12. EG
          EG December 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

          You claim that your “observations” are accurate 90% of the time. You then reject any evidence offered to the contrary. And now you’re saying that I turned your “basic observations” into a rejection of our experiences? No, sunshine, that’s not how it went. You did that. I know you have an issue about holding men responsible for treating women poorly, and prefer to blame all ill-doings on women themselves, but try to stick with the facts here.

          And yes, I remember your first comment. It was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now. We have the court decision. We have enough facts. There are no facts that would make firing a woman because her boss wants to fuck her acceptable behavior. It is sexist bullshit, and there is no mitigating factor that could alter that. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing the actual subject of the post, feel free to keep your fingers off the keyboard.

        13. mxe354
          mxe354 December 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

          * Trigger warning for assaultive outburts *

          You’re such a condescending asshole for using trigger warnings for reactions that merely reflect our annoyance with your comments. We aren’t being “assaultive” in the slightest, nor are we having any “outbursts”; we just think that you’re being a douche and calling it as we see it.

          You’re just like those jerks who preface everything controversial they say with “A lot of you ladies are going to rage at me for saying this, but…” or end their comments with “*ducks under table*” whenever they are in some feminist space.

          The rest of the comment was based on observations regarding the ways in which I’ve seen women treat other women. It’s interesting you [EG] turned my basic observation into a rejection of your [her] experiences.

          Because that’s what it is! No one is saying, by the way, that your experiences are invalid; they are merely saying that their experiences are equally valid and so are not trumped by your own.

        14. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

          Your blanket statement, “I know you have an issue about holding men responsible for treating women poorly….” is so far off the mark. But it’s your label, so it must be true.
          Mitigating factors can exist and they do change scenarios. That woman had a nine year professional relationship with that guy. It wasn’t as if she’d worked two months and he said “No, you’re too sexy for my pants.” She probably could have worked anywhere, but she chose to stay. Why does a married woman with children text a married man? Why did a married man text her? He claimed she wore tight clothes, maybe she did maybe she didn’t? His actions were wrong and the court ruling was wrong, but these are valid questions.
          I was simply making a comment. I didn’t go after you, sunshine, you came after me. You became unduly annoyed when someone dare express a point of view different than yours.

        15. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

          Why does a married woman with children text a married man? Why did a married man text her?

          Is this your problem? Are you in a super controlling/untrusting relationship? One of my closest friends is a straight guy with a girlfriend, and I have several guy friends who are married (who I text! and it’s not an issue because their relationships are built around an iota of trust!)

          You became unduly annoyed when someone dare express a point of view different than yours.

          No, you fucking idiot. People started treating you like a dipshit because you’re acting like one. You didn’t express an alternate viewpoint; you presented a viewpoint that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the case we’re discussing, then acted like you were the arbiter of what is and isn’t a social norm.

        16. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

          When your “point of view” includes how 9 out of 10 women act (incorrectly), it’s not just a comment. You will get attacked, and rightly so.

          “Why did a married man text her?”

          Probably because 9 out of 10 men try to cheat with a coworker. That’s my experience. Are you going to try and invalidate it?

          If you stopped telling others, for just a second, how large segments of the population interact, based solely on your “experience”, people might stop attacking you.

        17. Donna L
          Donna L December 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

          She probably could have worked anywhere, but she chose to stay.

          Well, that’s justification for harassing someone if I ever heard it! In any event, you certainly have a bad habit of making ridiculous statements of “fact” without any foundation whatsoever. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t so easy to get a job, and people are forced to put up with a lot in order to keep the jobs they already have and need?

          It isn’t simply that people disagree with what you say; it’s that the things you say and the generalizations you make are profoundly stupid.

        18. EG
          EG December 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

          I’m coming after you, librarygander, because, judging from your completely erroneous statements that are full of sexist bullshit, you’re a fucking idiot.

          None of your questions contain any potential mitigating factors.

          “She probably could have worked anywhere”–evidence for that? In the biggest recession since the Great Depression, she could have worked anywhere? Do you know her situation? No? So why make this assumption?

          “Why does a married woman with children text a married man?”

          Because they were co-workers? I don’t know about you, but I tend to interact with my co-workers via phone every so often.

          “Why did a married man text her?”

          Judging from the text in question, to sexually harass her.

          “He claimed she wore tight clothes, maybe she did maybe she didn’t?”

          What does that have to do with anything?

          You became unduly annoyed when someone dare express a point of view different than yours.

          Oh, my dear, I haven’t even begun to be annoyed, let alone “unduly.”

        19. EG
          EG December 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

          Your blanket statement, “I know you have an issue about holding men responsible for treating women poorly….” is so far off the mark. But it’s your label, so it must be true.

          That’s not a label. A label would be something like “misogynist.” What that statement is is an observation based on the available facts, to wit, the fact that you have barged onto a thread about a male dentist who fired a female hygienist because he wanted to have sex with her and the seven male justices who gave his actions legal sanction, and tried to claim that the real problem is the way that women treat other women, and the fact that you think that the woman’s clothing could be a mitigating factor. I stand by my statement’s accuracy, no matter how many degrees your sister has.

        20. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

          Oh Mr, or Miss, EG or….whatever you are, I haven’t begun to tell you what I think regardless of your supreme loathing.
          Do you personally know those two people? No, so why make any assumptions?
          Nine years ago the economy was fairly stable. She obviously must not have felt too threatened because she stayed 9 years. You don’t know why she stayed. She was 22 when she started. Maybe she was infatuated with him, maybe she liked flirting with him, maybe they were having a dirty little affair and she threatened him and as a result he fired her. Maybe they were already having sex.
          There are things that happened behind the scenes that you simply don’t know anything about. Maybe when he told her about his “bulge” she squealed with delight and found it flattering. The fact that the culture indoctrinates women to invest in men forces them to behave in stereotypical ways. It is fathomable that he’s a jerkoff, but she liked him and sought his attention. Women engage in that kind of behavior everyday.
          When she brought the case to court, of course she said that he came after her with a bulge; I’m certain he did. She wasn’t going to reveal the true intimate details. She wanted to win the case!
          The fact you only want to consider a single minded fact makes you, oh I don’t know…..a fucking idiot.
          I’m done.
          When a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
          Yelp on!

        21. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |

          If this comes out twice, all the better
          Oh Mr, or Miss or EG…..or whatever you are, I haven’t begun to tell you what I think despite your supreme loathing.
          Do you know those two? No, so why make any assumptions? Do you possess a magic 8-ball? You know definitively he was harassing her via text? You don’t know what they were texting. Maybe they were sexting each other. If they were texting each other, they obviously had some kind of rapport.
          You don’t know why she returned to work everyday for 9 years. If she was being harassed to such a degree, why return? No one is that big a masochist. Maybe she was infatuated with him, maybe she liked flirting with him, maybe they were having an affair. Maybe they were already having sex and she threatened him and he fired her. The fact that the culture indoctrinates women to invest in men forces them to behave in stereotypical ways. It is fathomable that he is a jerkoff, but she liked him anyway and sought his attention. Women engage in that kind of behavior every single day.
          There are things that happened behind the scenes that you don’t know anything about.
          When she brought the case to court of course she said he came after her with his ‘bulge'; I’m certain he did. She wasn’t going to reveal the intimate details. She wanted to win the case! The fact that seven male judges made that ruling only proves we still live in a misogynist culture, genius.
          The fact that you are willing to ignore all the possibilities and rest on one single-minded fact makes you a profound stupidass.
          I’m done.
          If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
          Yelp on!

        22. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 28, 2012 at 12:58 am |

          Women engage in that kind of behavior every single day.

          Your fantasy world sounds dire. Get your money back if you’ve paid for it. If it’s your own imagining, perhaps work on those theory of mind skills or take drugs to expand those very limited sounding invisible landscapes of yours…

        23. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 28, 2012 at 1:08 am |

          You don’t know what they were texting.
          You don’t know why she returned to work everyday for 9 years.

          Either do YOU!

          There are things that happened behind the scenes that you don’t know anything about

          The same goes for YOU!

          Do you know those two? No, so why make any assumptions?

          So why are YOU?

          And yet, and yet, all you keep doing is hypothesising irrelevant, illogical crap, seemingly lacking the intelligence (reading comprehension?) to recognise that your hypocrisy is a problem? It is a common problem among those with penises. I’m afraid it’s not curable. But you can be helped.

          How about a moment of self-reflection LibraryGander? It would serve you well in all areas of your life. I guarantee it.

        24. mxe354
          mxe354 December 28, 2012 at 12:38 am |

          It is fathomable that he is a jerkoff, but she liked him anyway and sought his attention. Women engage in that kind of behavior every single day.

          If you’re trying to act like you’re not a misogynist, you’re doing an awful job at doing so.

          There are things that happened behind the scenes that you [EG] don’t know anything about.

          Just so you know, you are speculating just as much as if not more than she is.

        25. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 28, 2012 at 1:14 am |

          Just so you know, you are speculating just as much as if not more than she is.

          It’s not the same when a man does it.

          They’re allowed to and stuff.

          They didn’t know any better.

          Because hypocrisy is the greatest luxury, only afforded those too immature enough to recognise how they caused their own demise.

        26. librarygoose
          librarygoose December 28, 2012 at 12:50 am |

          I’m done.

          Whoo! Now go into the sunset troll, and take your ill gotten name with you.

        27. Donna L
          Donna L December 28, 2012 at 1:04 am |

          Good riddance, you fucking idiot.

        28. Donna L
          Donna L December 28, 2012 at 1:05 am |

          Let’s see if I can say this in a way that won’t send this comment to moderation: good riddance.

        29. Hebi
          Hebi December 28, 2012 at 6:08 am |

          He does have a point despite his gross generalisation: women can be misogynistic.

          Actually, I used to be a misogynist myself despite being born, raised and identifying myself as a woman. And I was pretty heavy on the slut-shaming as well.

          That was when I was a teenager and considered “girl” to be the ultimate insult. “Girls” were not reliable, intelligent or interesting, no. They were all sluts, dressing inappropriately because they were brainwashed by the media to learn to get their man, they had no interest in important things such as science, politics or philosophy.

          Ironically, this is pretty much when I became an anarchist.

          So I grew out of it because I realise that I was spreading myths about women, that I had no idea “what other girls were like” and that, truth to be told, they were just as unique as I was.
          I even realised later that one of the girl I used to bash for being a stupid slut had put a lot of thought in her political views and that we were extremely similar, except that I was a very stupid misogynist nerd.

          But then again, is it our fault that we believe women are stupid or slutty?

          I did not get over it by blaming myself and other women for my misogyny (though, I do admit that I had a problem and was incredibly disrespectful), I got over it by realising that the way I saw women and the value of a woman was cultural, that we had been taught through television that girls and women had to behave a certain way, that we were all shallow unless we were “boyish”.

          But I am not boyish, I am myself. And my friends are not boyish or girly, they are themselves. It does not matter what kind of woman we are, it does not matter what label is put on us, we are individuals just like men and boys are individuals.

          Fighting against other women because they are misogynistic is not a priority nor is it a solution, the core of the problem is cultural and expectations, it’s centuries of lies and repression.

          I can imagine some women at work bashing one of their colleague for her clothes and surely something should be done about that but that really doesn’t make it the main problem. Also, from my experience (which is just an experience and is relative), a lot of people are hypocritical at work and bash people behind their back, even men towards other men, though it seems that women are more often the victims of that behaviour. And what it does reveal to me is not that women lack cohesion but that society as a whole as a problem with women.

          As for the real issue here, there are actually many articles which mentioned that the woman was wearing scrubs and that the man has an unsatisfying sex life with his wife. Somehow, I fail to see how that could be seen as inappropriate for her job. This is a rubbish excuse for sexual harassment.

        30. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |

          It is a common problem among those with penises.

          Truthfully, we don’t know if LibraryGander has a penis. He never said. I, for one, don’t care to know. But just saying.

        31. EG
          EG December 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |

          Oh Mr, or Miss or EG…..or whatever you are

          Dr. That’s “Dr.,” thank you very much.

          Do you know those two? No, so why make any assumptions? Do you possess a magic 8-ball?

          You’re the one making assumptions and wild speculations. I’m just working with the facts as reported. You do know the difference between reported facts and wild speculations, yes?

          You know definitively he was harassing her via text? You don’t know what they were texting.

          I believe he texted her asking about her orgasms, if memory serves. So, yes, I do know definitively that he was harassing her via text.

          Maybe they were sexting each other. If they were texting each other, they obviously had some kind of rapport.

          Do you know these two? Do you have a magic eight-ball? Do you have a rapport with everybody you text with? Why the baseless speculation?

          You don’t know why she returned to work everyday for 9 years. If she was being harassed to such a degree, why return? No one is that big a masochist.

          You…really don’t know what it’s like to need money and health insurance, do you? It had nothing to do with masochism. It has to do with needing a job.

          Maybe she was infatuated with him, maybe she liked flirting with him, maybe they were having an affair. Maybe they were already having sex and she threatened him and he fired her.

          Maybe she hired local mob enforcers to break his hands. Maybe little green men came down and forced the dentist to fire her with a mind-control ray. The facts of the case are not in dispute. He has not claimed any of these things. Try to keep your fantasy scenarios to yourself. They’re not relevant here.

          Women engage in that kind of behavior every single day.

          And yet, there is no evidence that any woman engaged in it here. Why are you so averse to dealing with the actual facts of the case?

          There are things that happened behind the scenes that you don’t know anything about.

          I’m going to need some evidence that any of these things exist before I discuss them.

          When she brought the case to court of course she said he came after her with his ‘bulge’; I’m certain he did. She wasn’t going to reveal the intimate details. She wanted to win the case!

          And he didn’t reveal these supposedly mitigating factors because…he didn’t want to win the case? Because of chivalry? You don’t make any sense.

          The fact that seven male judges made that ruling only proves we still live in a misogynist culture, genius.

          Yes, you have been demonstrating that with every comment.

          The fact that you are willing to ignore all the possibilities and rest on one single-minded fact

          Yes, it’s so frustrating that I refuse to give your speculations the same standing as I do actual facts, isn’t it?

          makes you a profound stupidass.

          And in boldface, no less. I’ll, uh, try to recover from that blow as best I can.

          I’m done.

          I should be so lucky.

          If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

          Yes. It still disturbs the air particles in such a way as would cause any device that can sense that disturbance to register a noise. The air moves whether or not you are there to sense it.

          In this case, however, we are all lucky to be able, with your departure, to return to sensible conversations with people who understand the difference between fact and fantasy.

        32. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

          Truthfully, we don’t know if LibraryGander has a penis. He never said.

          Well yes, that is true. I guess he could have been born without one. Seems to be missing a few marbles, so other missing bits would not be unexpected. Perhaps missing a spine as well.

        33. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm |

          I guess he could have been born without one. Seems to be missing a few marbles, so other missing bits would not be unexpected.

          Or.. you know, he could be trans – which I think was PeggyLuWho’s point. You can be a man without a penis. Your comment was a little mean, frankly, though I don’t think you intended to cause harm.

        34. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 29, 2012 at 2:32 am |

          Or.. you know, he could be trans – which I think was PeggyLuWho’s point.

          Could be. However, based on the comments LibraryGander has made (which I read again in order to sanity check >_< ), and my (never-stop-learning) understanding of how the universal "Laydee Brain" (TM) works, along with a many-years-close friendship with a FTM friend, I highly doubt it in LibraryGander's case. However…

          Your comment was a little mean, frankly, though I don’t think you intended to cause harm.

          I apologise my comment seemed mean to you, PeggyLuWho, or anyone else. I will be sure to respond more appropriately in future.

          Though I do find LibraryGander’s unfounded comments, generalisations, assertions, references to “females” and baseless ideas about how “women” or “all women” act rather offensive, I should however demonstrate the ability to be ‘the bigger person’ rather than sinking to the same level or responding in kind, because I understand how my comment might have offended others.

        35. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 29, 2012 at 2:59 am |

          LibraryGander said: Do you know those two? No, so why make any assumptions? Do you possess a magic 8-ball? You know definitively he was harassing her via text? You don’t know what they were texting. Maybe they were sexting each other. If they were texting each other, they obviously had some kind of rapport.

          I’m rather intrigued by LibraryGander’s inability to reconcile others annoyance at LibraryGander’s continued display of hypocrisy while also continuing to admonish others for pointing it out. It must be very strange to live life with so little to no capacity for personal growth.

          It’s a pattern that’s more and more common these days, does anyone else find that? The inability to stay open to learning, perhaps even admit others have a point and fathom it, or acquiesce and acknowledge another point of view as more valid, especially in those instances one might lack the objectivity to hold any particular belief as universally true (generally speaking of course, i.e. should there be cause to, not suggesting appropriate in any particular instance). Instead there’s a pervasive need to be right, ala ‘acknowledge my point of view damnit, even though it’s flawed and I’m not mature enough to acknowledge yours.

          Yay for the internets. Providing hours of fathom worthy entertainment since ages ago.

        36. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 29, 2012 at 3:18 am |

          EG said: You…really don’t know what it’s like to need money and health insurance, do you?

          This.

          Reminds me of a situation at one place I worked. I was planning to move cities to live with a friend. I was going to look for a job once there, as trying to do it from afar was not do-able at the time. Someone at my existing place of work commented how Gen-Y it was of me (to give up an existing job without another to go to).

          Admittedly it might have appeared so (to someone who didn’t bother to question me) – a reckless see-what-happens, devil may care attitude (definitely presumed where it didn’t exist though!).

          It prompted me to look into it further, and I found out that yes Gen-Y is apparently all about the entitlement to work wherever, if you’re not happy with employer or whatever just change jobs, etc. Perhaps not realising it often doesn’t work like that (unless you’re in high demand, qualified enough to be employed anywhere etc).

        37. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

          suckedorange, my point was that the comment was transphobic. I actually don’t care that it was intended to be mean – the guy’s a douchface.

          He’s identified/been identified as a man, but that doesn’t imply he has a particular set of genitalia (thus PeggyLuWho commenting that he hasn’t said anything about having a penis — I think). Your comment seemed to imply that there was something wrong with being a man sans penis. Granted, it was in the same breath as something a little ableist (douchebags =/= mentally ill people), so I’m not sure you’re entirely sympathetic. And to be clear, the fact that you have a trans friend doesn’t mean you can “spot” them on the internet as if they aren’t regular men or that you’re somehow less likely to make transphobic statements.

        38. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

          Your comment seemed to imply that there was something wrong with being a man sans penis.

          Good grief no! And I’m not even sure how that was taken from what I typed? I shall have to go back and analyse it to death (seriously). Could it be possible that was read into what I typed without it being there? I don’t wish to suggest anyone else is at fault. Honestly, the implication you have noted was not intended to be implied by me at all.

          And to be clear, the fact that you have a trans friend doesn’t mean you can “spot” them on the internet as if they aren’t regular men or that you’re somehow less likely to make transphobic statements

          I’m aware of that, and I should have known better than to correlate in the manner I did. It was flawed and remiss of me. After I pressed Post Comment I realised I should not have said it. I was going to post another comment but was afraid of more foot-in-mouth-it-is. Thank you for pointing it out. I apologise to all.

        39. suckedorange
          suckedorange December 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

          PrettyAmiable said: Granted, it was in the same breath as something a little ableist (douchebags =/= mentally ill people)

          Do you mean my comment re marbles?

          I will take time to reflect before commenting again. I fear I posted in haste and did not give due consideration to the things I typed. I believe I am sympathetic, perhaps just not educated enough to be posting on/about such topics. Better to remain silent than be thought a fool etc.

        40. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho December 30, 2012 at 4:46 am |

          my point was that the comment was transphobic…He’s identified/been identified as a man, but that doesn’t imply he has a particular set of genitalia (thus PeggyLuWho commenting that he hasn’t said anything about having a penis — I think)

          Yea, pretty much exactly what I was getting at.

      4. librarygoose
        librarygoose December 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

        Banning people for identity theft is not a thing, right? It’s like peeking into another dimension where I’m an epic douche.

        1. Denise Winters
          Denise Winters December 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm |

          I’m willing to bet that librarygander has a van dyke (grown or glued on), sideburns, and spiked hair.

        2. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 5:59 am |

          Why are your feathers in a ruffle? Did your parents name you ‘librarygoose’? What’s your real first name? You don’t think there are people in the world who share your name? How was I supposed to know there was someone on here named ‘librarygoose’?
          Yeah, I know, you don’t want to share the name with a “douche.”

        3. EG
          EG December 26, 2012 at 11:31 am |

          How was I supposed to know there was someone on here named ‘librarygoose’?

          Many people who take part in online discussions spend some time reading the threads before saying anything, so as not to be douches. Clearly, that is not your MO, but if you had done so, you would have noticed librarygoose’s name.

          I’m sure it’s just a big coincidence, though.

        4. librarygoose
          librarygoose December 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

          Mostly it’s just super surreal to imagine someone going through the same ten second thought process as 11 year old me. Also, I’ve been librarygoose for over a decade and never run into anyone with with a name even remotely similar.

          ( …and the douche thing. You’re kinda douchey)

      5. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

        Why are you only allowed the luxury of annoyed feelings?
        Misogynist, troll, douche, condescending asshole, etc. Those aren’t assaultive words? Really?
        I don’t recall prefacing any comments. I’ve been pretty direct.
        I made a comment to which you and others objected. I thought that was what I was doing, stating my comments are just as valid. It’s kinda like twisting my words and using them to suit your own purpose.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

          Oh, FFS. You cite women’s magazine’s and your own anecdotal evidence that women don’t support each other as evidence that women are the authors of our own problems, you go on to victim blame this woman, dismiss what every other woman in this thread has told you what our experiences were and insisted that that’s not the real world. Even though we’re a little more in tune with what the “real world” is for women than you are since we live this and you don’t.

          You’re getting your ass handed to you because you’re derailing and whining. You’re also trying to twist things–seriously? Oh, we don’t care about women because we’re not taking up the cause you’ve decided is The Truly Important Cause of women not supporting women in the office? You’re coming off as condescending and derailing, and like a typical troll, able to dish it out but not take it.

          Unlike you, we’re being blunt and direct. You’re just being a passive-aggressive whiner. You also have yet to back any of your points up or shed any light on this case. You’re relying on theories out of the fifties as to what the issue truly was.

          You started off by whining that we’re relying on rumor and gossip and supposition. BTW, the case is not based on that; the dentist fully allowed that this was his boner and there were no assertions that her way of dressing changed over the past nine years, and even if it had, his place as a business owner and her boss would have been to point out the dress code and enforce it.

          *You* however have based your arguments on supposition. Suddenly, the problem wasn’t with the dentist, oh no! It’s other women who all turn on the cute woman in the tight skirt in the office. Even though the case had squat to do with that.

          Yes, the fail is strong with you. At this point, you’re getting roundly mocked because you deserve it. But do keep whining. While you’re at it, roll around in glitter and dance.

        2. LibraryGander
          LibraryGander December 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

          Wrong thread…it was in response to Mxe354

        3. mxe354
          mxe354 December 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

          Why are you only allowed the luxury of annoyed feelings?
          Misogynist, troll, douche, condescending asshole, etc. Those aren’t assaultive words? Really?

          None of those words are abusive, and all of them are accurate for you. You are, indeed, being arrogant, rude, and misogynistic. And I didn’t say that I am the only one allowed the luxury of annoyed feelings. Nowhere did I say that. Don’t put words in my mouth.

          I don’t recall prefacing any comments. I’ve been pretty direct.

          You did it with the trigger warning thing you posted earlier. I didn’t say you were being indirect. Please read what I’m saying.

          I made a comment to which you and others objected. I thought that was what I was doing, stating my comments are just as valid. It’s kinda like twisting my words and using them to suit your own purpose.

          Maybe you’re just bad at explaining yourself – because it’s quite clear that you are bringing up your own experiences and practically ignoring everyone else’s or regarding them as irrelevant.

        4. mxe354
          mxe354 December 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

          Why are you only allowed the luxury of annoyed feelings?
          Misogynist, troll, douche, condescending asshole, etc. Those aren’t assaultive words? Really?

          None of those words are abusive, and all of them are accurate for you. You are, indeed, being arrogant, rude, and misogynistic. And I didn’t say that I am the only one allowed the luxury of annoyed feelings. Nowhere did I say that. Don’t put words in my mouth.

          I don’t recall prefacing any comments. I’ve been pretty direct.

          You did it with the trigger warning thing you posted earlier. I didn’t say you were being indirect. Please read what I’m saying.

          I made a comment to which you and others objected. I thought that was what I was doing, stating my comments are just as valid. It’s kinda like twisting my words and using them to suit your own purpose.

          Maybe you’re just bad at explaining yourself – because it’s quite clear that you are bringing up your own experiences and practically ignoring everyone else’s or regarding them as irrelevant.

    9. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable December 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

      If you’re a guy, you’re going to have the typical guy reaction. If you’re female, are you going to think she’s a lovely girl and a strong worker? Or, are you going to think she’s a tramp trying to get attention? Nine out of ten times, the other females will vilify the pretty girl.

      Funny story, exactly once in my current job did my boss have to tell me that there was a complaint about the length of my skirt. He thought it was hilarious, but was not in the country to judge for himself. He did, however, relay it was some asshole dude who made the complaint. One of my best friends in the office, a woman, was on team PA. So I guess it’s reasonable for me to take my life experiences and overgeneralize them.

      9 times out of 10, it’s a stodgy dude who will complain about the length of a skirt.

      1. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 5:12 am |

        I’m glad you had one of your many best friends in the office supporting you. There are lots of working women in offices who don’t have their best friends working with them and supporting them.
        There are loads of women working in offices across the country who shut out other women for different reasons. What about those hard working women? They don’t count?

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 26, 2012 at 8:48 am |

          Hey, you know what? There are also “loads” of men working in offices who feel entitled to sexually harass women and then decide that it’s because of the way they dressed. And there are other men who feel free to blame those women for the harassing behavior because they’re perpetuating stereotypes by wearing a fitted blouse or a sweater that is not fit like a four sack.

          I guess the only time those women count is when you decide it’s other women who are being nasty. But the minute we talk about other men doing it, those women should have known better. They are subjected to “male rule”. They should have dressed differently. Even if it was oh, not in violation of the dress code.

          Really, you aren’t being clever with this trolling attempt. You give such a shit about women being shut out of office environments, maybe you could side-eye the dudes in these cases. But oh, no. It’s other women, and you’ll make sure you ‘splain to us that every single woman on this thread who have experienced differently are outliers.

          And really? It’s telling that the only time you give a shit about women being shut out is when you’ve decided it’s other women vilifying them. I’m well familiar with trolls like you who cry crocodile tears over shit like this. But I’ve been that young woman (and once, actually, teenage girl) in the office you kept talking about. You know what? It wasn’t the other women who made my life hell. It was dudes like the dentist and shitheels like you who’d go on and on about how catty women were while lecturing me about my (conforming to dress code) attire and ignoring the behavior of the dudely dudes.

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 26, 2012 at 10:02 am |

          What about those hard working women? They don’t count?

          All the other women who are telling you your experiences aren’t universal apparently don’t count, so why the hell should I care about you and yours?

      2. LibraryGander
        LibraryGander December 26, 2012 at 10:20 am |

        “Pretty Amiable” Really? You sound pretty nasty.
        What happened to civilized discourse and expressing a different point of view without hostility? Afterall, men do that. Right?

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub December 26, 2012 at 10:24 am |

          Seriously, cupcake, check your own tone before lecturing anyone else on theirs.

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |

          I’m perfectly lovely when people bring something intelligent to the table. But “Wahhh, my experiences are universal and yours are irrelevant” is not intelligent.

        3. EG
          EG December 26, 2012 at 11:26 am |

          Gee, I wonder what it is you could be doing that might make you undeserving of amiability. Could it be barging onto a feminist site and telling a bunch of women that their experiences and perspectives don’t count but yours are highly significant and important?

        4. Andie
          Andie December 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm |

          [irony]I’m perfectly lovely when people bring something intelligent to the table. But “Wahhh, my experiences are universal and yours are irrelevant” is not intelligent.[/irony]

        5. librarygoose
          librarygoose December 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

          No. Bad, bad troll. You don’t get to rag on anyone for their choice of name.

          That’s a bad troll.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

          I had a really good response but I got distracted when Sheelzebub said ‘cupcake’…I’m hungry.

    10. cocacolagirl
      cocacolagirl December 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

      I do think the Dr Bulge ruling is disgusting and represents a setback. But I’m going to go out on a big limb and say I understand what LibraryGander is saying. We know some men are misogynistic and think they have entitlement to sexually harass and dominate women. We’ve always fought against that oppression. But I also think there are many women who, for some reason, dislike other women. I’ve been working for several years, and the derogatory things I’ve seen and heard women do to other women shocks me. The problem is trying to get those kinds of women to see each other as human. Unfortunately, they seem to be in far greater numbers than feminists. And I certainly consider myself a feminist. In general, when I’m among other women I feel as if I’m alone in my views. I wish there was a way to convert those women into feminists.

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub December 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

        Except the case in question had nothing to do with women’s mistreatment of the dental assistant. It had everything to do with her boss’s inappropriate behavior and decision to fire her because of his boner. By his OWN admission.

        And really? Women don’t always support each other? No kidding. It’s well established that people tend to go at the person next to them or below them on the pecking order, and rarely look up. For all we know, however, every single woman in the office could have backed her and thought he was a creeper. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter because the state supreme court justices–all MEN–had the power to basically say that yes, this dude’s boner was good enough reason to fire her. I’d rather focus on the people who *actually* have power. It isn’t the women in this situation.

    11. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 28, 2012 at 3:43 am |

      Wow, do you think Library Gander has his sites mixed up and is trying for Troll of the Year? Sorry dude, that’s on Man Boobz and you’re 1) way too late and 2) totally below the standard required anyway. You’re just a boring, takes-it-out-of-context, derailing, condescending, mansplaining, misogynistic nitwit. Bog-standard, in other words.

      (Did I leave any appropriate adjectives out?)

  19. A.Y. Siu
    A.Y. Siu December 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    This ruling is truly sickening. Will teachers who find their students “too attractive” now be able to ask those students be removed to other sections? If you’re in a supervisory or managerial position and can’t control your feelings or actions towards those working under you so that you’re being appropriate, then maybe you should not be in such a role in the first place.

  20. mortadella
    mortadella December 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    Yeah, once I had a married co-worker tell me he had a crush on me and this and that. He was a serial cheater, and I was not attracted to him in the slightest, but he had this weird fantasy going on in his head that had nothing to do with me…but he thought me talking to him daily translated into “flirting.” Thank god he wasn’t my manager. I stopped talking to him for a year, since he couldn’t handle conversation without considering it flirting. It worked. He never mentioned it again.

    But see, the attractive woman in the post had to suffer because of the dude’s delusions. That’s bullshit. He’s what I would call emotionally incontinent…and he made it her problem. That’s wrong in so many ways.

  21. Lasciel
    Lasciel December 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

    Aren’t Christians supposed to conquer temptation, not run from it?

  22. orangedesperado
    orangedesperado December 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

    The other thing that is so messed up is that the woman who was fired had worked in that office for nine YEARS. Mr.Dentist had been able to treat her like a normal part of his team(ie a human being) for nine years !

    Did cupid’s arrow just strike him ? Was he a nutty christian believing that the devil was tempting him ?

    Or is he an abusive jerk, who had said (and done ie inappropriate sex question texts) enough to make his wife feel unsettled by this worker’s proximity (after nine years of work without incident !), and then he fires the worker because of his “feelings”, and pays the worker he has harassed one month’s wages ! Very hard to keep my boiling rage contained ! And then this decision was decided to be acceptable/legal by a court of law ?!

    (**** steam comes out of ears ****)

    1. mxe354
      mxe354 December 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

      Mr.Dentist had been able to treat her like a normal part of his team(ie a human being) for nine years !

      Normal part of his team? I don’t like being pessimistic, but I’m inclined to believe that he wasn’t being very respectful for those 9 years.

      1. orangedesperado
        orangedesperado December 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

        Well, Mr.Dentist certainly sounds like a creeper, but she was able to function as an employee for an extended period of time. The lawsuit does not make any mention of ongoing sexual harassment issues, so I have no clue what may have been going on.

        Yes, where there is smoke there is usually fire, so a hostile work environment that had been that way for the length of her employment would not surprise me at all. Many women suffer under these conditions for years or decades.

        1. Andie
          Andie December 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

          Well, there were inappropriate comments made, but apparently she shrugged them off as she wasn’t particularly offended by them.

  23. Donna L
    Donna L December 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm |

    I agree with the people who’ve said that the facts we know seem to fit a sexual harassment claim far more than a sex discrimination claim — whether on the basis of a hostile work environment, or a “quid pro quo” claim, i.e., that accepting his advances was an implied quid pro quo for keeping her job, and that when she declined, she was fired. And that those are the true facts, regardless of the “too beautiful” nonsense. I’m really quite surprised that she didn’t at least try to bring such a claim.

  24. BarryB
    BarryB December 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    I had no idea that Iowa had become a part of Italy, but given it’s magistrates’ behavior, that would seem to be the case.

  25. Foxy
    Foxy December 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

    This is not sexual discrimination since he replaced her with another female employee

    1. Jadey
      Jadey December 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

      It is sexual discrimination to demand that employees of a particular sex meet a particular unfair standard of gendered behaviour (which has no bearing on their actual job performance) in order to be employed.

    2. Andie
      Andie December 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

      She wouldn’t have been fired if she were male.

      1. alanc
        alanc December 25, 2012 at 5:33 am |

        Proof?

        1. EG
          EG December 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

          Are you joking?

  26. Too sexy? You’re fired. – Feministe (blog) | Sexy

    […] Too sexy? You're fired.Feministe (blog)An all-male court in Iowa decided that a dentist in that state didn't violate sex discrimination laws by firing an assistant who was by all accounts excellent at her job, but also pretty. The woman, who is significantly younger than the dentist, saw … […]

  27. TomSims
    TomSims December 25, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    My dentist has his wife working with him.

    Merry Xmas everyone

    1. Marni
      Marni December 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

      My dentist (if I could afford to go) is a woman.

  28. Unree
    Unree December 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

    Seconding a point made by matlun upthread, the problem here is USA employment at will. The court wrote that employees have no legal right to be treated fairly by their employers. That’s unfortunately correct.

    You can argue it’s sex discrimination because a male employee wouldn’t have been fired by a horndog heterosexual male boss. The court considered that point but decided it was too big an opening for the worker. Sex discrimination or racism or some other unlawful bigotry is often present in the mix when a worker is mistreated, but unless that factor is more obviously determinate of the bad action the employer took, juries and courts can’t readily figure out how central it was.

    My country desperately needs to recognize some right to decent treatment at work, and more of a right not to be fired without cause. Meanwhile I’m with Donna L that this employee has a sexual harassment claim that’s probably better than her wrongful termination claim.

  29. About the Dentist who Fired His Assistant for Being Attractive | Clarissa's Blog

    […] readers have asked me to comment on the story about the Iowa dentist who fired his assistant because he was attracted to her and felt this was jeopardizing his […]

  30. catfood
    catfood December 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

    Aaaaand hello rape culture! What the Iowa Supreme Court writ:

    http://www.iowacourts.gov/Supreme_Court/Recent_Opinions/20121221/11-1857.pdf

    Nelson’s viewpoint would allow any termination decision related to a consensual relationship to be challenged as a discriminatory action because the employee could argue the relationship would not have existed but for her or his gender. This logic would contradict federal caselaw to the effect that adverse employment action stemming from a consensual workplace relationship (absent sexual harassment) is not actionable under Title VII.

    (page 12, emphasis added by me)

    It sounds like the Iowa Supremes, because Nelson was friendly with Knight, are considering Knight’s uncontrollable crush on her a “consensual workplace relationship.” Cuz if you’re nice to that man at work, ladies, that’s the exact same thing as consenting to being the object of his fantasies.

    How does this work? Had Nelson been consistently cold and distant towards her boss, her firing would have been actionable. Do I have this right?

    1. Tim
      Tim December 27, 2012 at 12:28 am |

      Had Nelson been consistently cold and distant towards her boss, her firing would have been actionable. Do I have this right?

      Probably not. He still could have fired her, for any reason he wanted or no reason at all. But a cold and distant attitude on her part, once he started making inappropriate comments and sending her inappropriate text messages, might have helped her build a case for a sexual harassment complaint and/or lawsuit. She would also have had to let him know, explicitly and clearly, that the comments, questions, text messages, etc. were unwelcome and that they were making her uncomfortable about working there. Is that fair? Maybe not, and it is very difficult to do. It would be especially hard in a small office with that guy being the only boss. In a larger company, there is a chance of having a personnel department of some kind with staff who would be trained in how to deal with these issues and who might have at least a neutral attitude. Or they might just be assholes who would back the manager and get rid of the harassee as soon as they could.

      1. EG
        EG December 27, 2012 at 12:41 am |

        She would also have had to let him know, explicitly and clearly, that the comments, questions, text messages, etc. were unwelcome and that they were making her uncomfortable about working there.

        Seriously? One has to explicitly tell one’s boss that comments about his boner are unwelcome? Was this dentist raised by wolves or something?

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 27, 2012 at 12:45 am |

          EG, I strongly resent your implication that someone raised by wolves is going to have no idea how consent works. Wolves are strongly attuned to signals from their partners and it’s usually the case that females get to have a choice.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 27, 2012 at 12:48 am |

          That said, I don’t think Tim was making a judgment as much as describing a situation. Which he explicitly said was unfair.

        3. Tim
          Tim December 27, 2012 at 11:08 am |

          Yes, mac is correct that I was attempting to describe the process of building an actionable sexual harassment complaint, as I understand it. My understanding is far from comprehensive, but I do have quite a bit of exposure to hearing about civil rights law in Iowa from someone who did work extensively in the field, about which I will not go into detail further.

          FWIW, I do not think anybody, in any workplace, should ever talk to people about their manboners, or their ladytingles, or any other kind of personal sexual stuff or feelings, or tell them that they look pretty today or smell good. That goes especially for a boss to subordinates. I will, occasionally, carefully and respectfully, with someone I’m pretty sure won’t get any wrong ideas, say something like that’s a nice sweater or cool piece of jewelry or whatever. But that’s just me, one guy, and not the law.

  31. Scissors
    Scissors December 27, 2012 at 3:40 am |

    This is sexual harassment sanctioned by a court of law. Just because it’s been neatly wrapped up with a bow doesn’t make it right. Just like you can’t fire someone for being tall, short,fat you can’t fire a person for being good looking. The problem was the dentist not the assistant. It’s only my opinion but the man sounds like a creep. Those people supported a creep and I pray they all get what’s coming to them. I can’t remember the last time I read something as stupid as this.

    1. thefish
      thefish December 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

      Erm… unless being tall/short/fat falls under some form of anti-discrimination law, you absolutely CAN fire someone for those things.

      And while fat might fall under “medical conditions” or similar, I seriously doubt for most people being tall or short would.

      You can fire anyone for any reason, unless that reason is barred by law.

  32. suckedorange
    suckedorange December 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Iowa’s all-male high court, one of only a handful in the nation, failed to recognize the discrimination that women see routinely in the workplace.

    Heh.

  33. a lawyer
    a lawyer December 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    The case is a strange one.

    The dentist appears to have been an asshole. But for some reason the hygienist didn’t file for harassment, or retaliation, or any of the other things for which she could have sued.

    Instead, she and her lawyer elected to sue only under discrimination law. The reasons are only known to the hygienist and her lawyer.

    As a result, we don’t have the facts that we wish we had (such as specific testimony regarding harassment) which would have been available in a more normal case.

    But this isn’t as odd as it seems.

    In most states, you can fire an “at-will” employee for almost any reason (other than discriminatory ones), and don’t need to pay severance. You can fire them because you don’t like their haircut, or their sports allegiances, or their car. You can fire them for no reason at all. (yes, employers can really be assholes)

    This is often misconstrued as “you can’t fire anyone in a protected class.” That’s wrong. You can’t fire someone BECAUSE they’re in a protected class. But you can fire them for any other reason.

    Because “being extremely good looking and making a spouse jealous” is not a protected class or category, it’s legal to fire someone for being extremely good looking and making a spouse jealous.

  34. Kiuku
    Kiuku January 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

    This is obviously sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination. I think they just make this stuff up to give people a rise.

  35. Kiuku
    Kiuku January 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

    By the way men I don’t want your wives to know about me on the job, at all.

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