I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention other situations where “Reverse Looksism” has reared its ugly head, pardon my pun. Besides the stories of Melissa Nelson and Katherine Jenkins which I related in prior blog posts, these have surfaced of late:
- According to the Irreverent Lawyer blog, bosses told Lauren Odes, 29, she was “too hot” and her figure too sexy for her job in New York City. Managers at Native Intimates—which is owned by Orthodox Jews—also told her to wear baggy clothes. They soon fired her from her data-entry job. Odes’ lawyer said, “She was simply fired for being too attractive and for not conforming to the religious strictures imposed by top management.”
- NYC banker Debrahlee Lorenzana, 35, who hired Gloria Allred for a similar case in 2010 sued Citigroup over claims she was canned over her killer curves. She may have turned down a settlement offer and changed lawyers in order to keep her options open going forward.
No matter how these situations play out, plain old Looksism will probably prevail in the near term in America. Case in point: the ongoing saga of Mike Jeffries, the CEO of teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, who had to change AF’s hiring practices after a racial discrimination suit a few years ago. Robin Lewis, a retail industry analyst and co-author of The New Rules of Retail, states in her book that Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”
Lewis goes on to assert that “Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard.” Apparently men’s clothes at the retailer still come in XL and XXL sizes. But there are no women’s sizes beyond Large. Allegedly, Jeffries stocks extra large sizes for men because football-sized guys are “cool,” but plus-sized gals aren’t.
Feel free to share your stories. . . or your outrage.