Mixed signals…

While walking around work today, I noticed something that just really had not struck me before.  It is the way that there is one set of rules for one group of people, yet an entirely different set for others.

What do I mean?

If I were to put pictures up in my work area of women wearing bikinis or underwear, it would not be long before one of two things would happen.  First, I would probably be written up for something along the lines of sexual harassment.  Second, I would probably be looking for work elsewhere, since most companies have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to things like this.

All this being said, why is it that when I walk through my work, there are several people that have pictures of people like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp with their shirts off or similar?  How is a guy with his shirt off or just wearing a towel any less of an offense to the company policies on things like this than if I put a scantily clad picture of, for example, Gigi Edgeley or Tyra Banks?

Am I supposed to accept that it is right for the ladies in my office to enjoy the sight of their favorite actor in a semi-clothed state, yet if I put up a picture of an actress, model or any other picture of a lady with the same amount of clothing on, it is considered wrong?  Are the rules really that skewed in favor of women that they are exempt, or are people just afraid to stand up and say anything about it to someone?

To be fair… it is not just my current job, but this is something that I have seen at a couple of my other jobs too.  There was one office that I worked at where a woman had her desk littered with pictures of various men, not only in various states of undress, but in some provocative positions as well.  Yet I would be willing to BET you that should one of her male counterparts put up a picture of Jessica Alba in a bikini, SHE would be one of the first ones to raise a stink about it, and HR would be all over him, say little or nothing about her desk.

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice these little contradictions in life?  I am sure that I cannot be the only one out there that sees things like this.

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12 thoughts on “Mixed signals…”

  1. This is a great question, one I had a conversation about some months back. It's along the same lines of a woman in the office wearing short skirts/what have you but no one says anything. In a past life there was someone who would walk around the office I worked at, flaunting it, but HR wouldn't do anything.

    It made me feel uncomfortable, as it did other men. Women just found it to be trashy. In the end, isn't that a form of sexual harassment? Had it been a man highlighting certain body parts, I can say that it would have been addressed right away.

  2. Only time I ever mentioned something like this to my HR is about ten years ago, at a previous job, we had a gal that took to coming to work with no bra… and I can attest to the fact that she did not need one… but she also had nipple piercings. VERY obvious ones. HR basically told her to dress appropriately or leave. She filed a Harassment suit against the HR director stating that if he had not been "ogling" her breasts, he would have never noticed the piercings.

    That did not fly and she lost… both the case and her job.

  3. The whole sexual harassment thing has me scared to say anything anymore. I think I told you this, but when I worked at Harris' department store, YEARS ago, I complemented a fellow female employee on her appearance one morning as she came in. A couple hours later I was in the store manager's office facing a Sexual Harassment complaint. Since then I pretend that all people I work with are neuter. Completely asexual.

  4. You know… I am a quite normal male… if a woman is attractive, I will not lie and say I am not looking. However after the issue at Harris', they are all just bodies… nothing else. In fact, I have gotten so good at this that it was not until someone mentioned it to me that I realized that a few of the ladies at work were pregnant.

  5. So a simple "I like your shirt…" or whatever… got you into the managers office? Jesus. I'm with you on the whole neutered aspect there.

  6. The HR department wouldn't even touch the situation. In your case, I'm glad that HR did the job they were there for AND I'm glad it didn't fly.

  7. Oddly enough, while I pride myself on my memory, I cannot recall that he said anything, though I do recall meeting with him about it. The HR manager did most of the talking.

    I do remember that it was downhill from there. Within six months I was let go.


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