Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another tick in the "pros" column for self employment

When we talk about things like rape culture, the corollary to telling women that we are responsible for keeping our dress and behavior appropriate, so as to ensure we don't get raped, is that under this logic, men are basically reduced to animals who can't process a rational stream of thought outside of "SHORT SKIRT MUST SEX." Like, if a woman is wearing a short skirt, it's her fault she was raped because the dude just couldn't help himself. This, we must point out, is a pretty awful stereotype of men, no? Men don't like to be stereotyped as potential rapists and deviants, and after all, they remind us, most men are NOT raping women.

The rest of this post isn't going to be about rape, but it is going to be how that whole rape culture attitude trickles down in the rest of our lives. Apparently, the Iowa State Supreme Court issued a decision that allows bosses to fire employees on the grounds of an "irresistible attraction."
In the case at hand, James Knight, a dentist in Iowa, fired one of his female employees, Melissa Nelson, in the interest of saving his marriage. Apparently the good doctor’s wife caught on to the fact that he wanted to fill his assistant’s cavities, and demanded that Nelson be fired immediately. If “filling cavities” is too broad a term for you, we’ll break it down with some factual tidbits taken from the opinion (available in full on the next page):
  • Knight complained to Nelson that her clothing was too tight, revealing, and distracting, but Nelson denied that her clothing was in any way inappropriate.
  • Nelson was supposed to know that her clothing was too revealing if she caught a glimpse of Knight’s err… dental instrument… standing at attention, and later told her it was a good thing she didn’t wear tight pants, because then he’d “get it coming and going.” Lovely.
  • Knight told Nelson that her dull sex life with her husband was bringing him down, noting, “[T]hat’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.” Knight likely had a case of the sads because he was unable to test drive the exotic thing of luxury between Nelson’s legs.
  • Knight once asked Nelson how often she orgasmed, because that’s totally appropriate.
So basically, this guy was sexually harassing his employee, but in a bizarre twist of events, he fired her for being too sexy and her termination was validated by the State Supreme Court. The Above the Law blog has a nice, succinct summary, but the full text itself really is full of gems.

And this is why I had that super serious first paragraph about rape culture. No one raped Melissa Nelson, but she lost her job because her male boss (and the male boss's wife) was concerned about the *possibility* that he might not be able to control himself around her. And the court said that was okay. Sorry Iowa ladies! Your employment is not nearly as important as the insatiable pantsfeelings of your male boss. It's your fault you're attractive? What did you expect, trying to go and have a job anyway?

I could keep going with the snark, but really, I don't have to. This is stupid enough on its own without me needing to highlight it with italics and hyperbole.

No comments:

Post a Comment