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Why Firing A Sexy Employee Reflects Implicit Sexism

By now, the news that an Iowa court upheld a (male) dentist firing his (female) assistant for being too sexy has made the rounds. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the employee has been flirtatious or dressed inappropriately; the employer’s comfort level was the main factor in the decision. Other bloggers have tackled why this is a problem, pointing out, for instance, that this ruling sends a negative message by objectifying women (which is not technically illegal) – so maybe the law should change. Perhaps a new law preventing employers not just from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender, but also discrimination based on the employer’s feelings of sexual attraction (or lack thereof) would help. However, I believe that this case reflects an unconscious level of sexism that many Americans don’t even question, which is what we really need to be discussing in order to change things for the better. Continue Reading →

The Gender Gap In Pay… Still There

According to a new study from Indiana University, working long hours is slowing the closing of the gender gap in pay. It is often easier for men to commit to overworking and spending more time at their jobs, while women are still burdened with traditional “feminine” tasks such as domestic labor and childcare. The bottom line is that women are only earning 81 cents to the dollar of what men make. And somehow people aren’t up in arms over this?! Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →