The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 March 2005

The case of the gorgeous librarian

Desiree Goodwin's discrimination suit against Harvard, last mentioned here, has gotten as far as jury selection.

Goodwin, who says that her appearance has kept her from advancing in the Harvard library system — in 2001, she claims, her supervisor told her she was considered "merely ... a pretty girl who wore sexy outfits, low cut blouses, and tight pants" — asserts that she's lost out on $150,000 in potential earnings and has suffered emotional distress.

Opening statements will be issued tomorrow, assuming no last-minute settlement is reached.

Harvard President Lawrence Summers was not overheard suggesting that beautiful women might be better suited for research work.

Update, 22 March, 10 am: A posting at Sarah's feuilletons, by someone who knows the situation:

I'm not surprised, given my own experiences in the work world. The reality is that she is 40, exceptionally well educated and from my personal experience a fabulous resource at Harvard. That she looks easily 15 years younger, dresses well, not inappropriately, and is of African descent are things that don't mesh well often in the work world's opinions of appropriate behavior for women and minorities. Looking youthful, including being in healthy shape and in good spirits, are often declaimers for promotion of women; until they're then "old" and then they're too old for promotion. I've found the people at Loeb Library to be nothing but kind and helpful to students, so please don't take my sympathy for Desiree as displeasure with the library as a whole. But I recognize that there is a deep antipathy that runs counter to even so-called liberal ideals when a person of color is a good team player.

Also, the Boston Herald managed to come up with an unflattering photo of Ms Goodwin; those of you who seek a better photograph are directed here.

Posted at 8:26 PM to Dyssynergy

"Sexy librarian"

Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Posted by: Matt at 8:46 PM on 21 March 2005

Oops, just looked at the picture. I hereby retract my earlier statement.

Posted by: Matt at 8:46 PM on 21 March 2005

While you're in retraction mode, go rent The Music Man. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:53 PM on 21 March 2005

I've got a copy if you need one.

Posted by: claretoothloose at 5:15 PM on 22 March 2005

Got one, thanks. And an autographed copy of Eggs I Have Laid, the autobiography of composer Meredith Willson, to boot.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:18 PM on 22 March 2005

Really? I've never heard of that. I do, however, have the album cover that has a lot of helpful information on it.

I suppose, to be fair, that you're going to start
critiquing all the really sexy men who are librarians?

Posted by: claretoothloose at 5:35 PM on 22 March 2005

If they file lawsuits charging discrimination, they're fair game.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:13 PM on 22 March 2005

Why would they file lawsuits when no one has discriminated against them for wearing miniskirts?

Posted by: claretoothloose at 6:32 PM on 22 March 2005