Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tarts and the Law

The ABA Journal reports that some US judges are asking women lawyers to stop wearing short skirts and low-cut blouses to work because the judges find it distracting.

You have to respect the dilemma of the judges, being forced to work with women who want to be treated like professionals but dress like sluts. However, fixing the problem is not trivial.

The ABA Journal provides a fashion web site called Corporette that provides dress code advice for female lawyers. Recent headlines include "Can Oxford Shoes Be Worn to Work?" and "Ponytails at the Office: Yay or Nay?"

But there's still a problem. Even if all female lawyers always wear conservative, unrevealing clothing, what will the judge do if an attractive witness appears? Or a provocativley clad accused? What about tarty looking spectators?

And even if all women in the court room don burkas, what if the judge is the kind of guy who likes to imagine an attractive body beneath clothing? Should we prohibit all fit, young, or big-breasted women from court rooms? What if the judge has a foot fetish? ...Force all women to wear boots?

All females in a court room could be made to sit behind a screen so that the judge isn't apt to get a hard-on looking at them, but then there's still the problem of that tempting female voice... It's just too much for a judge to listen to. We could try a voice-alteration device, or perhaps just prohibit women altogether.

Of course, another solution would be to decide that men who are unable to do their jobs around attractive women are unfit to do their jobs. Maybe only women are fit to be judges. And managers. And teachers. And counsellors. And people with any responsibility or authority.



Fresh Meat said...

I totally disagree with you.

Even professional dress has a code of decency. People should follow it, especially those in a court of law. It's just common decency.

You're taking an incident and throwing it to the extreme.

Yappa said...

Well, of course I was taking it to the extreme as a way of making a point in what I thought was an amusing way...

But the turth is it's an appalling revelation. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar said that when female lawyers in his court room dress provocatively he can't pay attention to their arguments and said that this is "a huge problem." It's fair to ask whether he is doing his job impartially when ANY female in his court room is dressed provocatively, since there are lots of other women there besides the lawyers. If he really can't pay attention with a babe in the room, he shouldn't be a judge. End. Of. Story.

Bert said...

Speaking as a guy, I can relate to this. I'm happily married, and have been for 24 years. However, when someone at work wears a low cut, revealing blouse, it's REALLY hard not to look. I mean, things are pretty obvious. There ought to be some kind of a dress code. AND we as guys ought to be able to point something like this out without being accused of being a prude or a sexist pig.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert,

I don't like it when my female colleagues wear revealing clothing to work and I personally find it tacky as well as inappropriate. I used to work in a company where a woman in the HR department regularly wore skimpy tops and a male manager I knew said it was frustrating because he wanted to talk to someone in HR about it but didn't feel he could. That's wrong.

But we can't accept a world in which judges say they can't listen to a woman's arguments when she wears revealing clothing. And that goes for any other man in authority: manager, teacher, etc. Men just have to learn to control themselves: keep the eyes looking above the neck, or something.

Ferd said...

Hey, c'mon guys & gals. There are some real issues out there worth discussing. But this ain't one of them.

Yappa said...

Hi Ferd,

I have to disagree. It's an interesting topic and one that crosses traditional male-female lines. It strays into an uncomfortable area for sure. But it perhaps foresees changes that are coming in male-female relationships in the workplace and in law. It's good to talk about these things.

Marie said...

I found the analysis very amusing and relevant.

I've heard similar complaints from male teachers working with female high school students. When the temperature rises, the men stay behind their podiums. And perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to teach if they can't see these lovely young girls, dressed within the school dress code, without getting all hot and bothered.

@ Bert - It's like looking at the sun - you just can't stare too long.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, another solution would be to decide that men who are unable to do their jobs around attractive women are unfit to do their jobs. Maybe only women are fit to be judges. And managers. And teachers. And counsellors. And people with any responsibility or authority."

The other alternative of course is to only allow unattractive women to hold jobs with any responsibility or authority.

Yappa said...

Hi anonymous -

Good try but I think you miss the point. For example... If you ban all attractive women from driving, that doesn't help situations where male drivers bang into other cars when an attractive woman is walking on the sidewalk. Or slim-hipped long haired young men...

Anonymous said...

This is too obvious. Just as we need to keep attractive females off the bench and out from behind the driving wheel, so must they be kept off the sidewalk. And the continuation of your last sentence should make the point that attractive males must likewise be kept out of view. Where these people are to go, though, is not so obvious.

Geekwad said...

I think a courtroom is a pretty different situation than a classroom. It's nice if a classroom is presided over fairly, but it is essential that a courtroom is. The judges complaining that they "can't concentrate"... well that's a bit much. There are exercises a man can perform over a brief recess to take care of that sort of problem. However, concentration isn't the only issue. All else being equal, who thinks a drop dead gorgeous lawyer in revealing clothes doesn't get more favourable judgments than her plain and concealingly dressed sister? Even among female judges, I am sure she does. I think a responsible judge attempts to be neutral and unbiased, but recognizes that we are not conscious of our own psychologies, and would take steps to eliminate or reduce unfair advantages in his or her courtroom.

syaf said...

im sory im my statement is quite into religious..
but,i have to say this..
im a muslim.
i dont know wether u awared of this or not,in our religion,Islam,God have given us a dress code..
its differentiates man n woman..
for man,our cloths must be covered from the belly-button to our knees..
while for woman,their clothes must covered all over their body except their face n palm.
i hate to say this,woman r truly not far from just a tools..
if u r a woman,u hardly of this,but man could be harrased by just from a woman's eye..
dont mention the other part of the body yet..
God know this,He creates us.
He know what is the best to us..
i hope we can discuss this maturely.
i will b here again in other time.
thanks for reading,feel free to ask.

Anonymous said...