The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 December 2005

Everything returns again

Remind me to send a Christmas gift to Desiree Goodwin: the woman, quite unintentionally, spins my SiteMeter faster than anyone else on earth, including both Olsen twins, separately or in tandem.

CNN.com reprints this CareerBuilder piece titled "Are you too sexy for your job?" and jumps right into the stuff of urban legend:

Harvard librarian Desiree Goodwin, who holds two advanced degrees from Cornell University, charged that she was passed over for promotion 16 times because of her attire and physical attractiveness. Goodwin claimed the jobs she sought were given to women with less experience and education and that a supervisor told her she was perceived as a "pretty girl" who wore "sexy outfits."

There's one factor CNN isn't telling you, but she will:

"Did you feel that it was your looks, or [your] race that were more of an impediment to your being promoted?"

I think it was my race that was more of an impediment, and that closely ties in to my appearance. It is because there are very strong cultural biases against black people, and the higher we rise in the socio-economic ranks the more visible we become, and the more we will be judged for our appearance and expression of gender. Race is a concept that is based on appearance, and tied to how rewards will be distributed in our society. Black people feel more pressure to appear conformist, which we can interpret as conservative, in order to rise in the corporate world, and white people, especially in academia are not subject to the same restrictions to the same degree that we are.

It's impossible to determine whether Goodwin's case would have come out differently had she been a beautiful white woman instead of a beautiful black woman, but it's clear that she considered race and appearance separate but interconnected issues: for CNN (and CareerBuilder) to characterize her case as a simple matter of "too sexy" strikes me as a bit disingenuous.

(If you must have a picture, go here.)

Posted at 9:00 AM to Dyssynergy


TrackBack: 12:29 PM, 17 December 2005
» Sexy versus conservative? from Classical Values
Via Charles G. Hill, I have learned that women who dress in a sexy manner face workplace discrimination: Harvard librarian Desiree Goodwin, who holds two advanced degrees from Cornell University, charged that she was passed over for promotion 16 times......[read more]