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Employment Law Tip of the Day: Want to create a company policy that will ensure all your personnel decisions are fraught with racism, sexism, ablism, ageism, gender normativity, and size discrimination? Try rating your employee’s looks on a scale of zero to five, and put the ones who don’t conform to an “all-American, clean, wholesome, or the girl or boy next door” look in the back room folding clothes where they are unable to disgust customers and dilute your brand image with their nonconforming presentations.

Just like Abercrombie & Fitch did!

Make sure that you claim, loudly and often, that you are working on diversity, by providing managers with a “look book” of appropriate faces that include Black, white, and Latino/as. You know, all the races! When somebody points out that you have no Asian faces in your look book or in your marketing campaigns, just point out that for some reason, Asians just don’t like A&F so hiring and marketing to that demographic just doesn’t make good business sense.

You know those days when you wake up and think, “I just can’t do this today. I can’t take one more day as a walking, talking fat-bodied political statement and I can’t cope with the misogyny and racism and ablism and homophobia and transphobia and capitalism and hate and greed and pollution and noise and assholes because it’s hopeless and we can never change anything ever”? I have those days sometimes. But from now on, instead of despairing,* I will call those times Teaspoon Days:


KNEEL BEFORE THE POWER CARDIGAN

Thanks to Melissa for the concept and Faith for the execution. And how pants-wettingly great is it going to be the first time I’m out and about and run into some other awesome person wearing a teaspoon? Because I’ll know that whatever I’m feeling, be it despair or the will to keep on fighting, I am not alone.

*Okay, I will probably despair some, too, but whatever this jewelry can’t fix, I will treat with beer.

UAW is on strike. Fucking awesome.

Once again via Lifehacker (or so I thought, although now I can’t find the original link), obnoxiously male-oriented tech mag Wired offers advice on it’s wiki on how to “Make Friends at the Office Who Really Count.” The advice is characteristically entitled and self-important, basically boiling down to “Don’t be an asshole, but don’t get too friendly with the help, either.”

As someone who has worked as a receptionist, a secretary, an ad-hoc IT support person, and the “gal in the next cube,” I would like to offer some advice that does not assume that the value of non-team members or bosses is mainly as pawns in a pitiful little game of “My personal life is devoid of real meaning so I like to manufacture drama in the workplace to make myself feel important.”

Do: Be nice to people, regardless of who they are or what you perceive they can do to help you. Look people in the eye, smile, and use words like “please” and “thank you.” Don’t yell or snap at people. Don’t assume that the receptionist, secretary, mail room employee, maintenance person (or anybody else, for that matter) is stupid; that person might very well be not only smarter than you, but more well educated than you. And therefore, don’t talk to that person with a tone that assumes your intellectual superiority because you might end up looking like not just an asshole, but a very stupid asshole.* Ask people about their weekends. Notice when people are ill or have been absent. Ask people about their families (if they provide you with an opening to do so, obviously). Remember their names. And if, as the Wired piece warns, somebody gets chatty with you (because, of course, that receptionist has just been eagerly waiting for you to say hello to her so she can talk to you, that patronizing jackass in QA who never speaks to her unless he wants something, about the minutia of her day), then chat back! You might learn something, like how to treat your coworkers like equal human beings.

Don’t: Be a sanctimonious, condescending prick.

In potentially related business news, “Trust issues can creep up in the workplace.”

* Here’s a story: I once worked as a receptionist for an executive career counseling service (which led directly into my becoming an ardent labor activist for a living, but that’s another story) where a male coworker repeated insisted that Delaware is a New England state,§ even after I told him that, being originally from Delaware, I probably had a better idea of its geographical regional classification than he did.

§ It’s Mid-Atlantic.

Via Jezebel via Wired, comes news of a platform shoe designed for sex workers* that contains a gps device that can contact the police or a sex worker advocacy group in the event of trouble. The shoe is part of an art exhibit from The Aphrodite Project, and is described as “a social sculpture: an interactive, wearable device that is a conceptual homage to the cult of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, a practical object for contemporary sex workers, and a vehicle for public dialogue.”

I’m extremely skeptical of anybody who romanticizes modern prostitution, and frankly I would bet that in deeply misogynist ancient Greece it was no picnic for women either, no matter how hard we may wish it to be otherwise. Although the artist claims that these shoes are “designed to meet the needs of today’s sex workers,” I’m thinking that maybe if they put this technology in a nondescript sneaker (because I’d bet most johns bent on harming a prostituted woman are going to find a way to part her from her fancy high-tech shoes before they can do anything useful, and I’d bet a sneaker is a more common and practical footwear choice for women trapped in street prostitution. I notice that “comfort” was not a concern here, either) and handed it out for free (because most prostituted women don’t have their own disposable income to spend on their own safety needs), or better yet put their energy into creating a society in which it’s not okay to brutalize and murder women based on patriarchal assumptions of ownership and dominion of women’s bodies, their efforts might be a little more useful. And given the level of control that pimps exert over prostituted women, what’s to stop them from using this ridiculous shoe as yet another way to limit their movement and prevent them from escaping him?

Ah well. I don’t suppose I should be surprised that something created and designed by a prostitution apologist as an art project should be ultimately impractical for prostituted women.

*I intentionally use “sex workers” instead of “prostituted women” (which is my term of choice because 1) advocates for prostituted women, many of whom have escaped from prostitution themselves, prefer that term and I respect their experience; and 2) I believe it to be more accurate (you’re not a worker if somebody else gets your wages – you’re a slave)) here because the woman who embodies the conception of “sex worker,” whether realistic or representative or not, is the designer’s intended end-user for this item.