Today I was informed by the 85-year-old chairman of the board via our CFO (because who needs Human Resources when you have an accounting department, amirite?) that I was (have been) “showing too much cleavage.” It was extremely embarrassing and it made me incredibly uncomfortable to discuss this with someone so distinctly outside of my generational cohort. I’m a 36C, I try to keep ‘em in line but it’s not always possible. Ever since I perused a book by the British What Not To Wear a couple of years ago ladies I realized that high-cut tops make my boobs look bigger than they actually are instead of making me look like a nice modest young lady. Thus, I wear what I consider medium-ish cut tops (around 1 inch of cleavage, if only because most clothes aren’t designed with C-cups in mind) because that is what I feel comfortable wearing and I find that to be important to me, feeling comfortable in my clothes in all circumstances.
Not anymore, though. I have some ways to get around this without blowing money on more clothes for work; scarves to cover ‘em up and a handful of higher-cut tops that don’t make me feel like I’ve been hanging giant water balloons around my neck. I’m pretty sure that I will ever again feel really comfortable in my current workplace knowing #1 that I have been objectified and #2 that this certainly came from a place of judgement.
I talked to my boyfriend about it when we got home from work and his first response at my being skeeved out because an old man checked me out (to the extent that he had to be checking me out to determine that I was showing too much cleavage) was, “You honestly don’t think old dudes check you out?” Which I guess I just didn’t think about it. I’m sure it happens, but if no one brings it up, I’m not thinking about how the old men in the office will look at me when I get dressed in the morning (I certainly don’t think it’s even my responsibility to be thinking about that in the morning; shouldn’t I dress to please myself and feel comfortable in my skin?). And I don’t think I dress particularly provocatively; I try to look nice for work, just to make a good impression and hopefully hold on to some semblance of a personal style. I don’t do that whole “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” in my current field because this is what I’m doing for now, not something I want to do for more than a few years. I’m just trying to get through the day because I need a paycheck and this job provides me with one.
I guess I didn’t realize that not only do my boobs prevent me from wearing clothes that I want, they also necessarily prevent me from wearing what I do without causing issues in the workplace. So now, on top of the anxiety of an in-between-ish wardrobe that I need to lose a few pounds to feel comfortable in because I don’t want to go out and spend money on all-new clothes, I also need to worry about whether or not my breasts are under control. Because the 85-year-old man who walks through our department when he’s hungry or in need of shitty coffee has a problem with what I wear.
The judgmental implication, I think, comes whenever a man with paternalistic posturing (that’s the attitude the older men in out office tend to have) says something like this. One of my (female) coworkers that the whole thing is bullshit, but as soon as I got back to my desk and contemplated asking for a nearby opinion on the matter, I felt ashamed of potentially being That Girl who goes around showing too much cleavage and is putting some kind of impression out there because of said cleavage. I’m just trying to get through the day at a job that I feel moderately OK with (and sometimes morally repulsed by) because I can’t seem to find anything better and now I also have to worry about making sure that the old dudes I work with don’t think I’m a slut (which is the implication of needing to be told that you’re showing too much cleavage).
I know this is not my best writing and I know that it doesn’t necessarily make sense, but I’m really upset about this and needed to get that out somehow.
This is me trying to have a positive attitude about the absurdity of this situation.
So I recently said this, discussing a decision by congress to triple the budget to defend DOMA. I referenced abortion and the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal taxpayer money from being used to fund abortion. I discussed that since people like you look at abortion as a moral issue and people like me look at DOMA as a moral issue (both of which are legal), that if federal money can be barred from use for abortions (because a portion of the population is morally against it) that federal money should also be barred from use supporting DOMA (because a portion of the population is morally against it).
You responded with this. Which, yay! I feel passionately about something so I contact my congressman and he responded! That’s awesome! Except for the part where what you had to say did not respond to the topic I was commenting on.
Nathan Fillion. I don’t hold illusions that he is like his character on Castle, though I kind of wish he was. This one is almost entirely based on how awesome his twitter account is.
Mindy Kaling. And her blog is awesome. And I just read an undisclosed amount of her book at Barnes and Noble and sincerely thought about buying it for a friend but also because the I could read it before I gave it to her (I’m kind of poor, or at least poor enough that the only way I could justify buying it was by buying it for someone else, but I ultimately decided that it would have been not as heartfelt and indicative of our friendship so I’m continuing my search for a better birthday present and will either go back to B&N to finish it or buy it for my kindle). I actually did that with I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. It turned out he already owned it so now I just have it. It sits among things like The Things They Carried and Eat Pray Love because I felt it went with those memoir-y kind of books but this is definitely a, “One of these things is not like the other!” situation. Don’t worry, I’m suitably ashamed of owning that book.
Jason Segal: because we went to go see “The Muppets” this afternoon and he co-wrote it and it’s adorable and awesome! And now we’re going to have a Muppets marathon sometime soon. And I secretly hope that he is kind of like his character in, “I Love You, Man.”
Zooey Deschanel. Because I love the way she dresses. And it would irritate my boyfriend (he dislikes her because he vehemently dislikes her character in “(500) Days of Summer.” Also I like her new show, even if I have to watch it on my own because, “It’s too vadge-y.”
Edit: Also Amy Poehler. And Stephen Fry.
*Balanced Budget Amendment, for those not in the know.
I think this is a move for political posturing rather than an effort that would increase the well-being of all or most American citizens. It was disgusting that so much of the month of August was spent discussing the budget when so many Americans only want to put food on the table. I understand that those two things are related, but I do not believe that a BBA is the way to move America forward.
So I got a response to this letter. Here it is:
Thank you for contacting me with your support for Roe v. Wade. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
Under Roe V. Wade, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy as enumerated under the 9thand 14th Amendments extend to a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. In the 38 years since the Roe case was decided, numerous related judicial decisions have been rendered extending certain state judicial autonomy, while maintaining Roe’s affirmation that a woman may terminate until “viability” of the fetus.
I appreciate the range of beliefs that have been shared with me on privacy and related reproductive issues, including your unique perspective. I believe that life begins at conception and have supported pro-life policies during my tenure in Congress.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and opinion with me.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
* Please Note: If you wish to respond to this email, please visit my website and you will be directed how to reply.
That’s nice. Except that I was taking issue with the disparity that some people thing abortion is wrong and so it can’t be funded by federal dollars but some people think banning gay marriage is wrong but that can be funded by federal dollars.
It gives a vague sense that someone actually glanced at what I wrote, saw that I’m pro-choice and responded, but in reality there is no way the response I got would appropriately address what I was writing about. So I’m guessing no one really read it. I’ll have to try again.
I live a jerrymandered-to-death portion of Pennsylvania and my congressional representative is Tim Murphy. I’m going to continue to write to him until I get a response that tells me that democracy is working and that my opinion as a citizen of the United States can affect the choices my congressman makes.
Well, I don’t really expected him to do anything differently, but I would like to know that our representative democracy is working beyond the ballot box. I would like to know that my comments, so disagreeable as they probably are to Congressman Murphy, are perhaps read by someone who does more than just laugh at my ridiculous liberal ideals and delete them. Because if I get ignored by my Congressman and disagree with what he’s doing and cannot even have my voice heard, then what the fuck is his job?
So since I started sending him emails or submitting comments on his website, I get alerts and updates from his office about votes and things that are going on. Today he sent out the following alert regarding the recent actions of the administration relating to student loan debt and underwater mortgages. I said yes to both things at the bottom and included the following comment:
I don’t think that forgiveness of student loans or helping out individuals struggling to pay their mortgage is a lack of personal responsibility in our current economic times. As a former student in debt from college that I am struggling to pay back, I can say with absolute certainty that I was duped into believing the American dream that a college education was an investment being made in my that I would be able to ultimately turn around and pay back after leaving college because my degree would get me a better-paying job. While I have a job that pays decently, I know a lot of college students just out of or a few years out of college are struggling to find jobs. The situation created by congress where college loans cannot be defaulted on by any means has created a significant burden on young Americans that is not felt by, say, MF Global who lost $300 million dollars or by corporations like GE who didn’t pay any taxes last year.
So yeah, I think if struggling corporations and banks who can’t make good on their debts can be bailed out by the federal government so the economy doesn’t collapse, then individual Americans should also be at the very least helped out by the federal government so that maybe they, too, can survive the recession.
If you’re big on personal responsibility, then maybe someone involved in creating the recession or developing mortgage-backed securities should, oh, I don’t know, face jail time, instead of getting a bonus backed by a federal bailout.
(Inspired by reading this article.)
I am appalled and aghast at the idea that $1.5 million has just been contracted to Paul Clement to continue to defend DOMA.
I feel as strongly about DOMA as I imagine supporters of the Hyde Amendment feel about Roe v. Wade. If the act of engaging in a woman’s right to choose cannot be funded by federal tax dollars (which is fundamentally a question of morality), then I am perplexed by the idea that the Defense of Marriage Act, which I find to be fundamentally immoral, is being supported by federal tax dollars. Is your (or the general conservative) perspective on abortions morally superior to my belief that discriminating against homosexuals is wrong? I understand that the Hyde Amendment is what specifically prohibits federal dollars from being used to fund abortions and that there is no such amendment in relation to DOMA, but I think the disparity between the two is apparent. If a group of people can decide that one lawful activity that they oppose (abortions) cannot be supported by federal funds, why should another lawful activity that I oppose (discrimination against homosexuals) be supported so extensively?
I respect the idea that the things federal tax dollars are spent on is agreed upon by consensus of Congress as part of the larger social contract American society, but I think that if one group of people can impose their morals on society by deeming what can and cannot be supported by federal money, then all similarly morality-based perspectives should be given the same privilege.
Additionally, I think you and your fellow congressional representatives should keep in mind that cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security because of the current economic climate means that you are punishing the larger portions of the American people because of an economic recession that they did not create. I’ve always been taught that solutions to problems should focus on what caused the problem and not some nearby object that makes a good target.