Thursday, 11 November 2010

A warm welcome

What a wonderful way to welcome new women employees to your office. Circulate pictures of them to the male employees and ask for a rating of the top ten most attractive recruits.

Wouldn't that make you feel good? It wouldn't? What's the matter, lost your sense of humour, love?

Unluckily for the 17 men who did exactly that at an Irish branch of Price Waterhouse Coopers, a journalist discovered their jolly jape and alerted their managers. But only after the pictures were forwarded to other firms and then flooded the internet.

The company is now promising a full investigation and say they will "take all necessary steps and actions."

Apart from wondering how the 17 men had the time for such concentrated ogling, it baffles me how they could possibly see such an exercise as a welcoming gesture. The answer presumably is that their intention was never to be welcoming but to put the women in their places as bits of totty whose specialist skills are of no importance.

I can only imagine what the 13 women felt, as none of them has had the courage to speak out. Shock, horror and embarrassment probably don't begin to describe their feelings at being turned into a global public spectacle for the amusement and sexual frisson of countless horny males.

They joined the company expecting to be seen as productive and valued employees, only to be relegated to pin-up status in a leering beauty contest.

They rapidly discovered that their male colleagues may look polished and professional in their crisp little suits, but underneath lurks the same old swamp of misogynist crudity.

PS: Incredibly, many of the media stories include all 13 pictures, which only encourages further circulation. My link is now to the story in the Irish Times, which doesn't include the pictures.

PPS: And when are we going to see pictures of all the 17 men, with their names and personal details? Somehow I think their identities will be carefully hushed up....

Pic: Fiona and Sharon check out the Top Ten Ugliest Male Employees at Soddit and Halfwit Ltd

24 comments:

Aidan said...

After the Rutger University scandal last month (the powerpoint about the lacrosse players) I am amazed that people would be so stupid as to communicate this stuff via mail. As my dad used to sa, some things are only for for the rugby club lockerroom. Boys will be boys but there is a time and a place (like down the pub on a Friday after work lifting a few jars).

Grannymar said...

If the 'ladies' were all short haired, Fair Fat and Forty, I wonder would these overgrown adolesents give them a second glance?

Nick said...

Aidan - Personally I shudder even at such goings-on in the rugby club locker room, but I suppose women can be just as scathing and contemptuous about men in the privacy of the women's toilet or the hair salon.

Grannymar - They'd only give them a glance if they wanted a cup of tea made or a sandwich fetched.

Macy said...

Ha! The point of the e-mail wasn't to make the women feel welcome.... it was to reinforce the pecking order.
And yeah, if the recruits were all fat and forty, there would have been a "Don't fancy yours much" e-mail."

Nick said...

Macy - Absolutely, to confirm the pecking order. And not having been a middle-aged woman, I'll take your word for it on the emails they might receive!

kylie said...

pwc hits the news for this crap AGAIN?

a close relative of mine works for pwc and he has found it impossible to get recognition for his contribution because, as a family man, he is less comitted to the job than the singles or the dinks.it seems to me that the culture is not just misogynistic but totally unbalanced.

having said all that the guys involved in this one dont have to follow the prevailing culture and they need a boot up their bums

kylie said...

ps, love your photo caption :)

Nick said...

Kylie - That's interesting because I think in the UK parents are treated very favourably, to the extent that singles and childless couples feel resentful when X leaves work early yet again to pick up his little darlings from school.

Re the pic: I saw the women laughing and the caption just popped into my head!

kylie said...

oh, nick,
i think it all depends on the company culture because there is a lot of that stuff happens in australia , too. just not at pwc.

i work as a casual, only paid for the time i work, no holiday, sick leave etc and can be put off at a moments notice. to some extent i have chosen that because i know that my family come first and i am concerned that i couldnt be totally comitted to a permanent position, only i'm now finding that i am more comitted than some permanent staff and paid at half the rate. i do resent it

this is a long way from ogling men, eh?

Nick said...

Kylie - Parents who need to have flexible working hours often tend to get a raw deal because like you they're forced to accept poor working conditions in return for the flexibility. Just another employment bummer.

Baino said...

Just when you think it's safe to go back to 'corporate'. I work with three ex Deloittes Accountants who left because of the soulless culture there.

Brighid said...

Who raised or didn't, these boys to be such sorry excuses for Men. I'm wondering if parenting has totally gone by the wayside.
Why not have the co do the same thing to the boys & publish it around, and let the women decide who, if any, get to keep their jobs.

Nick said...

Baino - Perhaps the totty tables are a warped attempt to liven up the soulless atmosphere?

Brighid - Sorry excuses for men indeed. The sensitivity and common sense of a lampshade. It's not just bad parenting of course, also peer pressure and the rampantly sexist culture. Good idea, let the men be rated by the women for a change.

secret agent woman said...

Not only should those men lose their jobs, but so should whoever decided to publish their photos in the paper. Jackasses.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Absolutely, not only was their behaviour thoroughly offensive but they must have known it was because this sort of thing has happened so often. And yes, the journalists were irresponsible also.

Wisewebwoman said...

Sorry Nick, I don't agree with turning the tables and having women rate the men. It just reinforces the stereotyping. Valuing by appearance and not by quality of character and ability.
Was it ever thus though on this type of misogyny? we only hear about it when some eejit pushes the send button to the wrong receiver.
Whether overt or covert it exists. When women are truly equal and truly represented in government positions (and free workplace childcare embedded in our constitutions)will this even begin to cease.
I've seen this kind of thing posted on company notice boards (granted in the 70s)
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Oh, tongue firmly in cheek when I joke about women rating the men. That would of course be just as offensive. Indeed, this sort of thing will only be obsolete when women have full equality. Let me see now, 1000 years' time?

Liz said...

I misread your piece first and thought they'd circulated photos of the men to the new recruits. That sounded like a good idea ...

Nick said...

Liz - I wish! But seriously, circulating the men's photos would be just as crass as circulating the women's. How does that contribute to building good working relationships?

Val said...

Are you sure you're not female?
;)

Wisewebwoman said...

To everyone:

Nick is a highly evolved specimen of homo sapiens. I know about five.

They are very rare indeed and need to be classified as "protected" before they become completely extinct.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

Val - Now there's a can of worms. I was born as a male of the species but I've never ever felt masculine. I feel much closer to women.

www - Goodness, you'll give me a very swollen head. That's very flattering of you. I just do my best to be a civilised and considerate person. Especially to those in our society who constantly get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

Liz said...

No, of course it doesn't and isn't a good idea. Just me being flippant!

Nick said...

Liz - I don't see how anybody could see such belittling behaviour as acceptable.