More Reverse Looksism. Fired for being ‘Too Hot.’

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.
AF Sam Weber WikiCmns

AF Storefront  Sam Weber WikiCmns

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.


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    What about the comments made after a young girl or woman is raped? Ones like “She shouldn’t have dressed like that if she didn’t want it” and the cyberbullying from the community in the aftermath of the rape. I’ve often reflected upon the effect it would have had on my life if after I’d been brutalized in a rape, an abuse which would have been unbearable in and of itself, and how well I could have lived my life once I had been verbally ripped apart by students in my school and by citizens of my home town in front of the whole world. Would I have killed myself in my agony and despair?

    • Grace,
      You’ve nicely connected two concepts here–looksism and cyberbullying. Thanks for lifting the conversation to another plane.
      In old school rape cases, victims talked about being raped twice: first by the offender and secondly by sometimes intrusive, insensitive questioning by interrogating officers.
      Maybe now victims are raped a third time by cyberbullies- clearly an almost unbearable set of three circumstances.

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