Ed Driscoll

What's Wrong With Being Sexy?

Sorry, sexist, not sexy, as the old Spinal Tap riff went. And speaking of an entirely different kind of Tap altogether (oh wait, I’m veering dangerously close into an Airplane gag), as Jonathan Last quips, in his newly redesigned Galley Slaves blog, “The American Prospect is a fun place to work!”

From an American Prospect piece on Mad Men:

I can cite a dozen examples in my corner of the professional world alone. Lecherous men in this business don’t tend to hit on or harass women directly. Instead, they bond with other men in the profession by talking about women behind their backs — wink-nudging male co-workers about the appearances, behavior, and perceived intentions of their female peers. (Women do this, too, although — in my experience — to a far lesser degree.)

A few thoughts:

(1) If “sexist” behavior is being partaken of by both sexes, then can it actually be “sexist”? Maybe it’s just “bad” behavior? The charge of “sexism” in the workplace often seems to be used like “hate crime” in the criminal world, to add a layer of moral disapprobation on top of what was already bad behavior.

(2) If the offices of the American Prospect (or, more generally, the world of liberal magazines) is full of depraved sexism, then really, feminists might as well give up.

(3) I’m sure Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss are wonderful people and very, very smart, but relying on them for descriptions about workplace sexism in the modern world is more than ridiculous. They’re actors. Acting is work, but the creative side of the film/TV industry  resembles the typical American workplace about as much as chimps resemble homo sapiens. Ham and Moss have no idea what the world looks inside a typical workplace.

Given that Hollywood’s interoffice and extracurricular activities include everything from the Fatty Arbuckle and Roman Polanski scandals to Bombshell McGee, the hypocrisy of a puritanical Hollywood lecturing the rest of America (err, whoops, the one percent of America that actually watches the show) on sexual relations is pretty staggering. Though to be fair, with Mad Men, it does make for great TV.

Well, that and the Eero Saarinen furniture.

Related: Though it’s staggeringly tenuous connection: A GOP Bikini Scandal?