Thursday, January 31, 2013

We love women...just not all women.

Disturbed doesn't even cover how I felt this week. In two separate meetings I was told exactly who I should be hiring and who I should be firing, and...get this...in 2012...working for a company that's supposedly all about female empowerment...

The one and only requirement was looks.

Does the candidate look like the models in our campaign ads? Is she tall? Thin? Something like a size 2, perhaps?

 

Right now in my store there are about half a dozen women of all ages that have no idea they're on the chopping block. Why? One girl is too short and doesn't wear the trendiest clothes. Another tends to wear a black & white color palette - funny, as she's one of our top sellers. Clients love her, but that's not what's important.

This language is especially trigger-y for me. I don't know that I've told this story before, but a long time ago, in a Texas far, far away, there once was an incredibly skinny blonde kid who worked as a cashier at the big red anti-Walmart. One especially unassuming shift was interrupted when a woman came through my line with her child. She looked at me and, when my head was turned, she said, "He's so disgusting. Really, he should eat a cheeseburger. This place shouldn't let people with eating disorders work here." I handed the receipt to her with tears in my eyes and she left in a huff. Coincidentally, that afternoon when I got in my car to go home, I heard a new song on the radio called 'Beautiful' by Christina Aguilera. Still can't hear that song without becoming a blubbering infant.

See, Rioters, women aren't the only ones with image problems. For years and years and years - somewhat to this day - the mirror was an enemy. And, I don't take kindly when someone is discriminated against because of how they look.

Before you ask and miss the point, yes, I stood against this to my boss and our President - who echoed similar sentiments on an all-store conference call this week. Yes, I've complained to corporate, but given that our President is behind the policy, I doubt that complaint will get much of anywhere. Suffice to say, I'm actively looking for other employment, and will be handing my notice within the week.

But I'm writing all this to say that discrimination is still alive and kicking. It's pervasive and it's disgusting. It doesn't care if you're great at your job or if you get a ton of compliments by customers. It just cares if you fit some mold.

So, Rioters, what do YOU propose we do about it?

I'd actually love to hear your thoughts regarding workplace discrimination. Leave them in the comments below.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

 

10 comments:

  1. I wish I could be there when you get your new job and stick your pitchfork up these people's asses. I also sincerely hope, that you will let us know what company this is so I can take my business elsewhere.

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  2. Its very brave of you to say this. Very sad of them. I once had a discussion with a slight man who was wrestling with the legs of his jeans while walking. I had never thought, being sturdy and vast in my fabulousness, that being small could ever be also annoying, and that we All have our issues to work around.

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  3. Discrimination against women is still rampant and it does not even have to be about physical qualities. I work in an industry almost still exclusively run by “good ole boys” and they are feverishly opposed to a woman “in charge”. I my particular situation, I have more education than all of them put together as well as 25 years of experience in the workforce. I was talking to someone yesterday actually about the problem of discrimination and how it has not really been solved. How, years ago during the rights revolution there was change and now we are standing around scratching our heads saying, “ hey I thought we had dealt with this already” when things like this happen. I think you are approaching it correctly. You have spoken your own truth. Knowing that it did not matter you are stepping out of your cog spot in the wheel of the ridiculous machine. Sometimes it is small actions and many of them speak louder than anything.

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  4. It is awful that it is still this way. I saw a beautiful unoffensive goddess picture on FB get called porn and the person punished and the only thing that was different about it compare to the many nearly nude pictures were that the women were of normal size and bigger. Mind you my father was the biggest one for doing that. We have a news lady in our city of a larger size, my father saw her and asked how they could let someone like that on television. Didn't matter she was good at her job just the size. Dad was so good that all women in his family (mom, sis and I) all had and have eating disorders. I am so proud you stood up for them, even if it doesn't do anything now, it is still important. I hope you get a wonderful job (or create your own)
    Hugs and Sparkles

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  5. Well, considering that I have been fired over NOT flirting with customers who repeatedl sexually harassed me while I tried to help them, I agree that workplace discrimination is alive and well. My boss, maybe susrpsingly, maybe not, was a woman.
    I echo the above sentiments of thanks. You are doing the "right" thing. That formal complaint will be on record and one day if one their fired workers decides to retaliate in the legal courts, they will have to deal with the paperwork you out in. I support you!

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  6. Good luck in your job search. I've been out of work for about a couple of weeks, and I'm finding it hard to secure employment here (Indiana).

    As far as your specific situation goes, the vengeful side of me says to bring this to an investigative news team, get them to talk to female ex-employees and current employees. Discrimination happens because people aren't aware that it's happening. My local area had a story hit in November about a change in unemployment laws. The local Pepsi bottler had fired a group of these people for illegally taking unemployment, even though they weren't aware of the change. According to the news reporter, most of those fired were African American or Hispanic.

    Full story: http://www.wthr.com/story/20198061/pepsico-workers-snared-by-change-in-unemployment-rules

    I haven't heard of anything happening with this two months later, so I don't know what happened.

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  7. An edit to the above comment: my more logical side says to not burn bridges. But it's up to you what you want to do to make this right.

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  8. Thank you so much for posting this. This is Not an Uncommon phenomena and it doesn't get talked about a lot.

    Attractiveness has always carried weight in hiring decisions, but your example sounds even more extreme than that: firing decisions, and even over something as trivial as clothes.

    Hmmm, in terms of doing something about it, you did the right thing-- speaking up against it, effect or not is important.

    And I am sure that firing without cause is illegal. These folks, if this comes to pass, will have a legitimate case. And testifying for them would also be the right thing to do. Wrongful termination is serious and you are on the right side of a righteous battle.

    Whether or not they would win is unknown. But where there is injustice, we must fight it!

    Namaste'







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  9. p.s. Make that "effective" not "effect"

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  10. Well, I really do have to commend you for this, because you're taking action. You spoke about it to your superiors, and decided to take your leave. Would it have been me, I would have been too afraid to not get another job and I would have kept my mouth shut. Sadly enough, that's the general take on that sort of issues.

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