Au-delà des apparences

NEW YORK – Les femmes sont-elles toujours victimes de deux poids, deux mesures, dès lors qu’il s’agit de juger leur apparence sur le lieu de travail ? Avons-nous surmonté cette subtile (et parfois pas subtile du tout) tendance au sexisme lors de l’embauche et de la promotion – qui pèse de manière disproportionnée sur les femmes – et que j’ai qualifiée en 1991 de « quotient de beauté professionnel » ?

Il est assez incroyable que nous parlions toujours de ces questions vingt ans plus tard – c’est pourtant nécessaire. Lorsque les antiféministes affirment que les femmes bénéficient aujourd’hui de chances égales, et que toute différence de carrière et de rémunération ne reflète que le choix individuel d’une femme, ils devraient réfléchir à ce qui était auparavant appelé « lookisme », ou la tyrannie des apparences.

Dans un récent commentaire, le sociologue Michael Kimmel a décrit un cas où une assistante dentaire de 33 ans de l’État de l’Iowa, Melissa Nelson, a été licenciée par son employeur, non pour faute professionnelle, mais parce qu’il la jugeait trop attirante sexuellement pour travailler à ses côtés sans compromettre son mariage. Lorsqu’elle a porté plainte pour discrimination, les tribunaux ont rendu un jugement odieux – confirmé par la Cour Suprême de l’État – disant que son licenciement ne constituait pas une discrimination interdite par la loi.

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