Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Law firm instructs women to act like men

by Anči

According to this article, a New York legal firm  has begun circulating a memo to its female employs about how to behave appropriately. (so you know it's not gonna be offensive at all.)

Okay, maybe i've spent too much time watching Mad Men, but between male and female professionals, which group do you think is more in need of a memo about appropriateness?

honk honk

You'd think that if a company was going to invest time coaching its workers in etiquette, it wouldn't  be for the sole "benefit" of  women.. (Because clearly we are the problem.) And you'd also think, such an "educational" campaign might make some mention of workplace harassment, or at the very least, include a plea to its employees about not stealing yogurts from the communal fridge. (The senior partners need their Activia.)

But no, the only message here was: ladies, stop acting feminine. 

 According to Bust article: "Women are advised to wear heals and not rock back on them, to lower the podium to make themselves appear taller... Women should also curb their high voices: “Say ‘uh-huh’ and match that pitch to see how low you can go [...] Your voice is higher than you hear."

 Get that? We should all fight our biology, because it's no good. The fact that women are generally shorter than men, and have higher voices is a flaw that needs to be remedied. (How height and vocal register get in the way of practicing law, is beyond me.)

 Other ridiculous "suggestions" include "Don’t dress like a mortician: if wearing a black suit, wear something bright" (Gee, wonder if the men are also being expected to jazz up their suits with pink ruffles.)

"Lose the quirky mannerisms that are so charming to those who do know you." (Because only women's mannerisms are "quirky," while men's mannerisms are known as "regular old body language")

AND most offensively, the helpful hint to "think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe." (Because no instruction booklet would be complete, without some reference to the "virgin/whore" dichotomy. It's one or the other, got that ladies?)

I understand there is a need for consistency and dignity in the workforce, but this memo seems to suggest that men are inherently dignified, while women (who are naturally children) need to curb themselves in order to be taken seriously.



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  2. Did they really spell it "heals"? If so, you should have *sic'd* it!