Can Scandal Help a Woman's Career?

Here's a new gender-driven double standard: Can notoriety help, rather than hurt, a woman's career?

In scandals surrounding Citigroup in the past year, two of three main players were male (the chairman and the chief of global investment) both of whom were forced to resign amidst allegations of impropriety and disastrous financial results. The third character, Maria Bartiromo, the host of CNBC's two-hour daily show The Closing Bell, has seen her career soar following the scandal. She's landed a slew of interviews with major political and business figures and has hit record ratings for CNBC, according to the New York Times As Citigroup Chief Totters, CNBC Reporter is Having a Great Year. Even her sexist moniker, The Money Honey, is a plus for her career -- so much so that Bartiromo has trademarked the nickname for herself.

There are other noteworthy recent examples. Think Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, and Vanessa Hudgens. Their careers have been helped, not hurt, by nude photos, accidental pregnancy, sex videos and nights of alcohol and drug-fueled debauchery. The men involved in the sex videos and nightclub escapades certainly didn't benefit from the exposure -- name one.

So maybe if your career depends upon being beautiful and appearing frequently on television, TMZ and People Magazine, scandal is a good thing. But what about a more serious profession, such as the law?

Take author Elizabeth Wurtzel. After detailing personal psychological and addiction problems in best-selling books such as Prozac Nation and Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, Wurtzel decided to try law school at age 40. With an LSAT score 13 points under the median, Yale Law School accepted her, according to Coming Soon: 'Law School Nation'?, a recent profile in the New York Times. Only a few months into her studies, Wurtzel has a job offer from a prestigious firm, WilmerHale, that she herself admits she's not qualified to take.

Now think of men touched by scandal. President Bill Clinton. Writer James Frey. Sportscaster Marv Alpert. Singer Michael Jackson. Across industries, men whose careers survive notoriety do so despite scandal's tarnish -- certainly not because of it.

Do we have a cultural double standard when it comes to women today? There hasn't been a national survey yet into whether the small number of examples cited here represent a trend. So tell us what you think: How can the very scandal that hurts a man help a woman? Do certain careers reward a high profile for women, even if it's a negative one? Are we easier on women than men in our society? Do mistakes make women seem more human, and therefore forgivable and make men appear weak, inept, and untrustworthy? What has your experience at work and at home been? Do we forgive women more easily than men today?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  November 12, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Workplaces
Previous: Marathon Moms | Next: View from the Front Lines


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Wow! First Again!

Posted by: nonamehere | November 12, 2007 8:11 AM

And what about that Jessica whoever - wrote the book Washingtonianne (sp?). She blogged about her "dates" with various powerful men in D.C. - lost her low-paying job as a Congressional aide, but got a huge book contract - and she can't even write very well!!!!

Posted by: jdavoli | November 12, 2007 8:37 AM

Monica Lewinsky, Fawn Hall, and a slew of other women caught under the bright lights of sex scandals have definitely not been able to rise above the negativity.

Posted by: sweetswinggrrl | November 12, 2007 8:37 AM

As a general note: "That which doesn't kill me only makes me stronger." Meaning in the long term, a scandal that doesn't kill your career makes you stronger/more noteworthy in the long term. It doesn't matter if it's male or female.

A few specifics from what Leslie mentioned:

Maria Bartiromo: one thing she DIDN'T do is lose 8 - 11 billion dollars in one fiscal quarter, and possibly illegally delay releasing material information about it. That would have been Charles Prince, who was fired as CEO for losing money, not because of letting a reporter fly in a company jet to speak to company customers. The other man involved, Todd Thompson, was fired by Prince himself for unknown reasons - the NYT article quotes Bartiromo as saying there were other things going on, and the corporate jet issue was a pretext for Prince's getting rid of him.

Re: the other examples - Hilton, Ritchie, Lohan, Hudgens - ugh, can you mention somebody who has actually accomplished something I'd like any of my 3 daughters to emulate? Yuck. But in response to Leslie's challenge to name some of the men involved, let's see - Paris Hilton's partner was Rick Salomon, who's now married to Pamela Anderson; you could make a very good argument that he profited very much from the scandal - he sold the video for a bundle and got even more widely known in the sleaze community than he was.

The father of Nicole Ritchie's baby is Joel Madden, one of the brothers from Waldorf, MD who founded Good Charlotte (my kids used to be huge Good Charlotte fanatics and know all about Joel and Benjie); Lohan - don't think there was ever a specific man involved; Hudgens - don't think it's been disclosed who took/circulated the pictures, although she was rumored to be dating High School Musical co-star Zac Efron for a while. (And I'm truly ashamed of myself for knowing that, but my defense is that I have three teenageers and an 11 year old.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 12, 2007 8:43 AM

My answer to this question would be: Maybe. But at what cost to your self-respect and sense of dignity and pride? Not worth it, in my opinion. I'd rather be known in a quiet way for my accomplishments.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | November 12, 2007 8:43 AM

Re: Elizabeth Wurtzel:

First, re: the LSAT score: according to the NYT article, her score was 160; YLS' median is 173 so she was 13 points below the median. Now let's have a quick math/statistics refresher. The 'median' of a data sample is the number for which 50% had that number or higher and 50% had that number or lower.

In other words, 50% of the students admitted to YLS had LSAT scores lower than 173, so it's not unusual that they admitted Wurtzel, particularly when she had other qualities that helped her - much like, say, George W. Bush and Albert V. Gore Jr. had other qualities besides their grades/SAT/GMAT scores that got them into Harvard and Yale. Test scores aren't the only factor. (Geez, I never thought I'd say this, but where's hillary when you need her?)

Re: the job offer from the powerful law firm - again, bad publicity beats no publicity at all - she'll get them some publicity based on her name (actually she already has by this article) and that's worth the relatively small investment they have to make.

(Heck, even when I was working as a Fed the informal rule of thumb was "the difference between fame and infamy is one promotion cycle." Meaning that the people who succeeded spectacularly get promoted first; then the people who failed spectacularly, because at least they were willing to give it a shot; then the people who aren't noteworthy one way or the other come last.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 12, 2007 8:51 AM

On one hand, there's notoriety, fame, and name-recognition. On the other hand, there's accomplishment, acheivement, and a solid career. I think these two sets are completely different but can influence each other.

The women mentioned here all have the first type of "success" but have not earned the second type. Mistakes like the ones mentioned here (drug use, sex tape, etc.) lead to the first type but not the second. I don't believe that notoriety will ever lead to the second type of success for people of either gender because that comes from hard work.

That being said, I do think that our society is more likely to forgive celebrities than people with "serious" careers because actors and musicians are seen as a wild artsy bunch that is unpredictable. I think we expect more stability from our politicians and lawyers.

Posted by: Meesh | November 12, 2007 9:01 AM

I'm not sure Wurtzel's books - well, I didn't read the last one, and the one on women was boring, but Prozac Nation at least - was exactly scandalous in the way your other examples might be.

I think her self-absorption and capacity to expose her neurosis and addiction were unusual. But I think the experience she captured - the messed up undergrad, partly at least messed up due to the way marriages were all collapsing during the 70s in that particular wave of social change - was pretty common, and that's why the book sold. Maybe the scandal is that it isn't a scandal that Harvard has lots of messed up drug-taking undergrads.

What I do think though is that her use of urban-class drugs - prescription drugs, cocaine - makes her story vaguely more acceptable to corporations (run by people who've possibly done the same) than someone poor or say, black, doing crank.

So I guess I see it as more of an example of how someone from a particular class (not wealth-based in her case) continues to be given the benefit of the doubt, rather than by sex.

Reframing it that way - yes I think certain scandalous behaviour is way more acceptable than other types.

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | November 12, 2007 9:39 AM

Speaking from my perspective in the financial industry, Maria is seen as a joke now. Just a gold digger who gives out sexual favors in her mile high club. The snickers every time she comes on our screen are not indicative of someone who has increased her respect.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 9:42 AM

BTW only Leslie would think that bettering your career through drug use, nudity and scandal would be an acceptable means and worthy of consideration.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 9:44 AM

There are a few things at work here that some have already touched on:

I think men and women are, to some degree, treated differently, and that the root of this difference is more perception than favoritism. When some high profile woman publicly cuts loose and does stupid things for the world to see, that's a scandal. When a man does the same thing, it's usually not. Why the difference? Society is still operating with the perception that such behavior is unusual for women while being pretty typical for men. While we can debate the fairness or accuracy of such perceptions, the result is that such women tend to fascinate us more precisely because what they've done is thought to be out of the ordinary. The result is that men who do stuff like this are written off as typical, while the women become intriguing objects of interest that are treated differently. I'm hard pressed to see how anyone can look at the difference both in perception and legal consequence involving teacher-student sex scandals and argue that both are totally gender neutral.

But it's also true that such perceptions are not universal. Charlie Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and many other men who have lit up the headlines with out of control comments and behavior are still humming right along in their careers. On the flip side, the women who were involved in the Abu Ghraib thing, while being considered martyrs by some, aren't exactly living the high life any more than their male colleagues.

So it's not a simple thing to diagnose. But neither is it a simple thing to dismiss either.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | November 12, 2007 9:46 AM

Well, if you are trying to imply scandal is the way to get ahead, well, that is just awful and a major step backward for all woman. Scandals come in two forms: fiscal and physical. Fiscal scandals are gender-free. Steal millions and get caught: you're doing time. So let's look at physical scandals..Physical scandals (which cover Leslie's examples) should not be even suggested as a way to get ahead. Women spent years trying to prove themselves worthy in and of themselves without the need to get on your knees or back. And now Leslie's title suggests scandals are indeed a way to get ahead...Bah!

how about this as an alternative: welcome to the noughties, we don't have to be naughty anymore!

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 10:16 AM

mbcnewspaper, I'm not sure what your point is.

You first assert that "When some high profile woman publicly cuts loose and does stupid things for the world to see, that's a scandal. When a man does the same thing, it's usually not." Okay, maybe. Yes, for whatever reason there's more publicity over the antics of a Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton than over the antics of a Charlie Sheen. I'm not sure why that is, but I'll give you that one for now.

But you then assert that "I'm hard pressed to see how anyone can look at the difference both in perception and legal consequence involving teacher-student sex scandals and argue that both are totally gender neutral." and while I agree with you, I think that the "bias" goes the other way. In other words, an adult male teacher found to be involved with an underage female student is generally punished much, much worse than an adult female teacher involved with an underage male student. That may be changing, but there are numerous examples of male teachers sentenced to long prison terms for involvement with female students, while female teachers generally get probation/suspended sentence. Even Mary Kay LeTourneau originally only got 6 months and a suspended sentence (she didn't even serve the full six months); the longer prison term came from violating her release conditions by seeing the student again.

So yes, there may be a difference in how men and women are treated in your examples, but the differences may sometimes tend to benefit men and sometimes benefit women.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 12, 2007 10:22 AM

dotted_1: "how about this as an alternative: welcome to the noughties, we don't have to be naughty anymore!"

Love it - as I noted in my first post this morning, how about referencing somebody who's accomplished something I'd actually want my three daughters to emulate?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 12, 2007 10:24 AM

"Do we forgive women more easily than men today?"

No. Next question?

Seriously, who cares about celebrities and how do their career paths reflect either greater societal trends or raise issues of balance?

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 10:25 AM

ArmyBrat - exactly...I loved your first post.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 10:29 AM

HELLO!!

Fawn Hall was NOT involved in a sex scandal. She shredded a ton of papers, Folks, but was not accused of having sex. Sheesh!

Now, Donna Rice............

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 10:36 AM

"Do we forgive women more easily than men today?"

Not so much as we reward women for being public train wrecks, much like frat boys at a party cheer on the drunk party girls making out with one another.

Posted by: JEGS | November 12, 2007 10:38 AM

HELLO!!

Fawn Hall was NOT involved in a sex scandal. She shredded a ton of papers, Folks, but was not accused of having sex. Sheesh!

Well there was that crack cocaine addiction she had, but at least she wears panties......

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 10:46 AM

not advocating it. just think it is worth discussing.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 10:48 AM

And what about that Jessica whoever - wrote the book Washingtonianne (sp?). She blogged about her "dates" with various powerful men in D.C. - lost her low-paying job as a Congressional aide, but got a huge book contract - and she can't even write very well!!!!

Posted by: jdavoli | November 12, 2007 08:37 AM

Well, she filed for bankruptcy over the summer and is being sued by one of the guys (or THE guy). Someone didn't teach her to manage her money!

Posted by: DLC1220 | November 12, 2007 10:51 AM

accckkkkk..Wapo ate my submission.

Leslie - you may want to discuss, but discuss means back and forth. If even one person says physical scandal works, then that one person is also saying it is one viable path to success...especially to someone with ambition, someone trying to find a way to make it, to differentiate themselves. There is just so much wrong wrong wrong about discussing this in a meaningful way.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 11:12 AM

Leslie, I first off don't think Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie have a career except as tabloid fodder. Vanessa Hudgens SURVIVED her indiscretion, and Lindsay Lohan has ruined her career and has turned into tabloid fodder. So much for your thesis.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 11:13 AM

Leslie - by the way, back in the early 80s, my boss's boss started telling everyone he and I were...whatever... I hit the roof. He was the slimiest and I wouldn't be caught dead in the same room with him. In an engineering lab too, where I was one of only a few women (actually, I think there were 2..I was the only unmarried 20-something). Nothing ever written down, nothing to prove, so no case. Just residual anger this man tried to prove his manhood by verbally assaulting my womanhood.

noone should ever insinuate, or even discuss, physical scandal is a path to success for women (or men)

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 11:17 AM

Dotted, I ask you to treat me with the same respect I give you. Please don't read into my words something that is not there. I am NOT advocating this. I think it's gross and weird and I'm baffled by it. I've never known anyone, male or female, at the non-celeb level who made money off of being slimy. Hoewever, celeb women's success with this is worth discussing, back and forth, without insinuating that it's a solid path to success for us everyday people.

And one reason it is worth discussing is that Paris Hilton (who started with a fortune anyway) has made a fortune by being tabloid fodder. She is paid thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands, for pictures, to show up at clubs and fashion shows, to do interviews, to make records and clothing etc. In some way we as a culture legitimize her by paying her money for her "products." There is no way she could have pulled this off without that sex video. I'm not suggesting she made the video on purpose thinking she'd one day make hundreds of thousands of dollars off it. But I bet there are women who wonder if they could catapult themselves into the lucrative limelight by doing the same thing.

Somehow, this phenomenon tells us something about ourselves and what we value.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 11:29 AM

Ooh, dotted_1, you and I could have been working for the same guy. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 11:31 AM

C'mon, guys, clearly Leslie is not advocating this behavior. It's more "What's going on with THIS?"

The people mentioned in this blog--celebrities--live by different rules than the rest of us do. I spent several years in the '80s as a contributing writer and photographer for several rock music magazines. I was based out of Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, which in the '80s was a wild place to be. It really did seem like an alternate universe, especially back then. People got away with things they wouldn't get away with now (13-year-old groupies).

RE: Scandals and career projectory. How scandal affects a career depends on two things: the type of scandal and how good your publicist is. Kate Moss snorting coke in a recording studio with her boyfriend...hate to say it, but this was cliche, and certainly easy to rise above with an apology and a stint in rehab. Other scandals--hateful comments by Mel Gibson, Michael Richard, Don Imus and now Dog the Bounty Hunter--these are MUCH more difficult to overcome.

As for the rest of us mortals...scandal does not help. I would lose my job and would be unable to work again. My work is based on my credibility, and once I lose that, I have no ability to work. Then it's time to try to find a scandalous book deal!

Posted by: pepperjade | November 12, 2007 11:41 AM

Scandal might work for celebrities who consider fame and notoriety to be interchangeable terms. But Paris Hilton, et al. are 21 - 25. How many bars will pay Paris Hilton to show up when she's 30? Anyone? Anyone?

Now tell me how attractive a reputation for drug use and drunkenness is on Mickey O'Rourke, Vivica Fox or Whitney Houston? Their careers tanked over these issues which, while not scandalous per se, indicate a lack of self-control or any real interest in one's career prospects. The term, "has-been" comes to mind. No one wants a project to be anchored by old drunks or drug abusers.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 12:24 PM

MN -- Good point. Youth plays a role here. Maybe we forgive "youthful transgressions"? Or maybe there is a generation gap at play here.

Pepperjade -- Liked the thumbnail of your life in Miami. Bet you have a lot of good stories...

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 12:29 PM

I can think of 2 men who's careers were just fine after scandals.

1. Marion Barry!!
2. Tommy Lee- seems to have a just fine career after several scandals.

Posted by: karen_janos | November 12, 2007 12:58 PM

She steps up to the plate, swings, it's a long ball to centerfield, going, going GONE! Congrats MN, a homerun post!

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 1:08 PM

Thanks, pATRICK, LOL.

Tommy Lee? He's in a band. He's supposed to act like he was raised in a barn. Like rappers are supposed to have friends in prison, guys who purport to be rock stars are supposed to have lots of tats, tear up hotel rooms, behave poorly while abusing drugs and alcohol (so long as they don't harm anyone), and refuse to drive 55. The scandal would be if he was a respectable man with an intelligent wife, raising 2 kids in the burbs with a dog, and a Volvo wagon in the driveway, routinely reducing, reusing and recyclying, and attending the Methodist church down the street each and every Sunday.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 1:44 PM

MN always hits homeruns....!!

But Leslie you wrote "Can notoriety help, rather than hurt, a woman's career?" no no no...What you wrote hints at the very idea that it *could* help instead of saying "it just won't" (like Pepperjade does...someone help...like or as). I prefer Pepperjade's absolute negativity rather than discussion of whether it *could* help...

hey oldbam...I haven't thought about that guy in years. It isn't worth it to waste cycles on people like him.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 1:44 PM

MN - you just described my husband! well, Guitar Hero III says he's a rock star, and he's respectable, etc....ergo.....no volvo though...just an old passat that the 17year old is eyeing

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 1:46 PM

Glad I don't own a Volvo wagon!

Posted by: Fred | November 12, 2007 1:49 PM

Indeed, Leslie, some pretty good stories and a great scrap book. Fun place to grow up. Our best local-does-good success story: In the early '80s, a teenaged guitar player leaves his rather successful south Florida local band, The Kids, to head off to L.A. to become a rock star. He failed miserably as a rock star, but he got a small part in Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy's first victim). Then he got a lead part in a show (21 Jump Street) on the fledging FOX network. He gave up on the music thing and the acting thing took off. The guy we knew as the cute guitarist for The Kids back in the early '80s is the superstar we all know as Johnny Depp (I have a battle of the bands album that features The Kids...wonder what it would get on e-bay).

I also wrote for a small local rag called Tonight Today in the early '90s. Our best writer on staff was a rather weird guy named Brian Warner. He fronted a band as well. I didn't think much of the band, but I thought Brian would write for Rolling Stone someday.

Well, the writing thing and the music thing worked out for weird Brian. He had a NY Times best seller (his autobiography) and has sold millions of albums. Weird Brian=Marilyn Manson.

Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers drives a Volvo...or at least he did in the '90s.

Posted by: pepperjade | November 12, 2007 1:53 PM

But Leslie you wrote "Can notoriety help, rather than hurt, a woman's career?" no no no...What you wrote hints at the very idea that it *could* help instead of saying "it just won't"

Exactamundo! Using bimbos and losers as your examples is silly

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 2:02 PM

pATRICK, why must you always pick on Leslie?

Posted by: sharonw | November 12, 2007 2:28 PM

dotted, your husband certainly DOES have an intelligent wife, LOL. We may have to consider Guitar Hero for our family's gift to itself this Christmas.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 2:35 PM

wondering the same thing myself, sharon...

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 2:43 PM

"pATRICK, why must you always pick on Leslie?

Posted by: sharonw | November 12, 2007 02:28 PM "

Actually, I don't pick on Leslie too often. But lately she has been more elitist and silly than usual. Plus she cowardly pulled two of my posts that were NOT offensive but did it because she was trying to impress her bosses. Especially disgusting considering that she let the BABA roadshow go on for months and didn't lift a finger then.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 2:47 PM

MN - I heartily recommend Guitar Hero III (and one extra guitar if you can swing it). Saturday night a couple and their kids (10 and 13) came over to our house after a delicious dinner out at our local Singapore restaurant...we all guitar hero'd out. How many things can you do with kids and teens and have everyone enjoy? Big fun...

Mine want to know if it counts as practice time on their string instruments...he he he

okay...in an effort to divert the unhappy talk going on here...how about those 'skins? Let's all moan together now!

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 3:03 PM

pATRICK, why must you always pick on Leslie?

Posted by: sharonw | November 12, 2007 02:28 PM

What is this: 7th grade? "Mom, He's always picking on me", LOL??

dotted, note to self: extra guitar. I think we'd have a blast with it, and agree that being able to do things with our pre-teen and his friends bodes well for the future.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 3:11 PM

What is this: 7th grade? "Mom, He's always picking on me", LOL?? "


I may give Leslie a wedgie in social studies today........;)

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 3:16 PM

paTRICK, I will give you a wedgie during English class today.

Posted by: sharonw | November 12, 2007 3:22 PM

"paTRICK, I will give you a wedgie during English class today"

that was my clever retort, get your own. ;0

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 3:26 PM

Leslie -- today's column sinks to a new low of irrelevancy and bimbodumb. No wonder there are so few comments. What do these self-indulgent, self-destructive, high-maintenance pampered bimbos have to do with balance in any part of their lives? I submit -- nothing.

Posted by: gottabeanon | November 12, 2007 3:31 PM

Leslie seems to have a fascination with bimbos. Some of you may recall that after Anna Nicole Smith's death, she tried to draw some sort of far-fetched comparison between ANS and her fellow Texan the estimable former governor, Ann Richards (I was surprised she didn't throw in their sister-Texan Molly Ivins, too). Sometimes Leslie just has no sense of proportion.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 12, 2007 3:43 PM

Leslie seems to have a fascination with bimbos

Next column will be whether porn stars represent a step toward BALANCE and higher levels of feminism........

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 3:48 PM

pATRICK - I admit it...you got a giggle out of me on that one

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 3:54 PM

Does Candy Canyons choice to do hardcore porn represent a shift for sexual independence for women and how does she balance her career choice with her motherhood duties for her 5 kids? Stay tuned here on ON BALANCE with Leslie Morgan Steiner

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 4:03 PM

how about this post-halloween question:

who makes the best most chocolatey halloween goodie?

my vote is tootsie roll (hershey's is too sugary...not enough chocolatey imho)

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 4:33 PM

dotted, I was in the Marines in the late 70's and worked as an electronics technician in the 80's--and was usually the only woman around. I don't waste a lot of cycles on those weirdos anymore, either, but I do love to tell some of my tales to some of the kids today. They just don't believe what those men used to get away with.

Like when the engineers used to take the secretary wearing the shortest skirt to lunch and the secretaries would compete for the "honor". Sheesh!

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 4:50 PM

oldbam - I hear you.

I remember telling my oldest these stories as part of a college project he was assigned a few years ago. He was shocked and quite beside himself.

I also remember having to present my hands every day at home ec class for a grooming grade. Nails had to be perfectly filed, no hang nails, nice ovals, pink or clear polish only. It is all part and parcel of the same thing

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 4:54 PM

"They just don't believe what those men used to get away with..."

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 04:50 PM

Then, why do you refer to yourself as a BAM (much less an old one)? There are some of us who know what a BAM is.

Posted by: Fred | November 12, 2007 4:56 PM

Fred and oldbam - enlighten me...I'm clueless here

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 5:02 PM

They just don't believe what those men used to get away with.

Like when the engineers used to take the secretary wearing the shortest skirt to lunch and the secretaries would compete for the "honor". Sheesh!

I don't know, part of me thinks those must have been fun days without PC running amok and everyone threatening to sue someone on a moment's notice if their feelings were hurt. Of course we are better off now, yada yada yawn. Just a musing.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 5:02 PM

pATRICK wrote: "I don't know, part of me thinks those must have been fun days without PC running amok..."

pATRICK, I doubt you'd like for your wife or daughter to be treated in such a demeaning manner in the workplace.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 12, 2007 5:06 PM

there's a double standard -- and it works both ways . . . women are treated better by the criminal justice system and are often given a "pass" because of their gender . . . when women kill, they are "excused" because, "women don't kill unless there is something wrong with them, so don't blame them" -- men are considered to be killers by genetics . . . and any woman having sex with a minor child -- even when she is the child's teacher -- is given a pass because "they were in love", while men are just predators . . .

Posted by: RBCrook | November 12, 2007 5:08 PM

Fred, it never was all that broad, but nowadays I embrace the epithet with pride, even though it STILL isn't all that broad. :-D

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 5:14 PM

dotted, BAM stands for broad a$$ed marine. I USED to be sensitive about that.

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 5:15 PM

oldbam - thanks bunches. I just discovered this online USMC dictionary from Vietnam days The fact it is labeled derogatory says it all.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 5:19 PM

And pATRICK, some of those idiots maybe SHOULD have been sued, like the one that grabbed my a$$ and told me I shouldn't wear such tight jeans, or the Warrant Officer who told my friend that the only place for a woman in the Marine Corps is under the desk.

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 5:23 PM

I don't know, part of me thinks those must have been fun days without PC running amok and everyone threatening to sue someone on a moment's notice if their feelings were hurt. Of course we are better off now, yada yada yawn. Just a musing.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 05:02 PM

I can see why you might think so, pATRICK, but there are bad things that go along with those good old days about which you might not be aware. Like the boss I had not even 5 years ago who never let a pedicure go without comment. He would ask me the color name, whatever. Every time. Other men (over 50) heard it and knew it was demeaning. I never had to say a word. He gave me top review but never referred any business my way. Instead, he referred business to a male colleague in whom he expressed less than top confidence. The message was clear that he didn't take me seriously and thought Idjit Boy had more staying power. Idjit Boy is, of course, long gone. If all it were about was letting your hair down at the office, without the correlating behaviors that have negative business impact, I'd be right there with you.

dotted, Ugh, about the grooming grade. What more can I say.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 5:27 PM

MN, i know full well things are for the better and I also knew i would get slammed. I was just musing that in some instances, life may have been a little more fun back then.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 5:32 PM

an insecure elitist who is obsessed with porn stars. gotta love this job.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 5:34 PM

Now for my next trick i will be shot out of a cannon, which has to be safer for me than my previous posts......

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 5:34 PM

an insecure elitist who is obsessed with porn stars. gotta love this job

actually it is bimbos, but hey bimbo, porn star, tomato, tomatoe

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 5:36 PM

pATRICK, if you want "slammed", I can take a harsher approach, LOL. I thought that was the kinder, gentler response.

Please remember to wear a jumpsuit with extra-good flame retardant.

Posted by: MN | November 12, 2007 5:37 PM

leslie - i hope you do love this job! I mean, why else do it? See MN's suggested holiday attire (wouldn't extra-good flame retardant be in holiday gold or silver?)

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 5:39 PM

Actually, MN you're right. you and I BOTH know what slamming someone REALLY means....

Posted by: pATRICK | November 12, 2007 5:40 PM

the best job going. and from my kitchen with kids howling in the background...a nice counterpoint to the howling online...

Posted by: leslie4 | November 12, 2007 5:46 PM

Leslie - I raise your kitchen kids with teenagers screaming in the same room playing Guitar Hero (again...all day off and on actually...no school)

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 12, 2007 5:50 PM

no, pATRICK, I'm not slamming you either. I've been lurking here long enough to recognize a chain-yanker when I see one. And you definitely enjoy yanking on chains just to see what kind of reaction you'll get. It's always fun to watch. ;-)

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 5:57 PM

Now, Now, Oldbam, Sainted Mother always used to say she was a Beautiful American Marine!

Not too many female corporals back in 1945-46.

Posted by: Fred | November 12, 2007 7:00 PM

Ooh, Fred, your Mum's service predated mine by 30 years! And I know hers was even more trying than mine.

I had the luck to be a member during the only decade of the whole 20th century in which we were NOT at war! Well, not with foreign powers, anyway.

The war between the sexes was still going strong, however. Sigh, I had NO sense of humor back then. Too bad. The Marine Corps would have been a LOT more fun.

Posted by: oldbam | November 12, 2007 11:14 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company