Is This Woman Too Pretty To Work?
Lately a steady number of women have come forward claiming their bosses and co-workers punished them for being "too hot," and are swiftly skewered by a skeptical public. Introducing the latest hate-bait: Laura Fernee, a 33-year-old academic, who claims that she hasn't worked for two years because the harassment that her looks provoked at her last office left her "quite traumatized."
Fernee, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, told the British network ITV that for two years at her research job men would make her feel uncomfortable, and women would ostracize her. The cumulative effect of it all left her "afraid" to go to work in the morning. So she quit.
women in science and how crummy it can be.
Cue Britain's media hounds! The Daily Mail and The Mirror had little sympathy for Fernee's plight, quoting her in a way that makes her sound like an insane delusional monster, itemizing the monthly expenses her parents pick up, with a maniacal photo shoot to boot.
The witty and insightful comments quickly rolled in (over 3,000 and counting). "YOU ARE JOKING??????!!!!!!" "a good bra wouldn't go amiss," "43 more like it!" "33??????????? HAHAHAHHAAAHAHAHAHA."
Did Fernee know that the tabloids were going to make her seem deranged? Was she looking for tabloid fame? Did she just want to publicize her new book?
Whether or not this is real life, it is true that a woman's looks can genuinely hurt her in the workplace. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court voted 7-0 that a male dentist was completely within his rights to fire his assistant because, he said, he found her irresistibly attractive and was afraid that he was going to have an affair with her.
But disfiguring your face isn't a winning strategy either. Many studies have found that more attractive people are liked more in interviews, are hired and promoted faster, and earn more money than their less-cute colleagues.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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