The whole Ines Sainz fiasco, incident, scandal, brouhaha has been taking up too much space in my head this week. It has moved off the sports page and is being debated by the mainstream press and blogs.
The Sports Dude and I “debated” the issue. We talked earlier this week about writing a “He Said/She Said” piece, but it’s more of a “He Said/She Agreed” piece … from different vantage points. His is from the field and the locker room, mine is from the administrative offices.
I get that Ines Sainz is beautiful and hot. How could anyone not. But, she’s completely out of line, and the reaction of the NFL, to force “sensitivity training” on the players is completely wrong.
“I believe this is the most constructive approach,” [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell said. “There is no debate about the longstanding equal access rule of our media policy. The issue for us, like all organizations, is proper conduct in the workplace, whether it is dealing with the media, co-workers, fans or others. It is our responsibility to provide a professional setting for members of the news media and other business associates that work with our teams and the league. We appreciate Woody Johnson stepping up promptly to properly manage the situation at his team and agreeing to underwrite this new initiative for all clubs.”
I’m going to argue that it is also the responsibility of the WORKERS to bring their professional selves to the workplace, whether your workplace is the football field on Sunday afternoons, or the 47th Floor of the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles.
This is not about a “blame the victim” scenario as I have seen mentioned (just Google that). SHE’S NOT A VICTIM. She knew what she was doing, and she is getting the press and attention she wants. She’s an entertainer, and not a professional journalist. She is an instigator, and not a victim. And, that’s the key point here that I believe is being downplayed. Is it no wonder that she wore a breast-exposing blouse while being interviewed on Fox News (video)?
As one who was sexually harassed and fired, pre-Anita Hill, for 1) not responding to my manager’s “flirtations;” and 2) not playing “hostess” (prostitute) to an NFL player, I am offended that this situation is being labeled “harassment.” As far as I can see, this was a publicity stunt conducted by Ms. Sainz.
And don’t give me that argument of a “difference in cultures.” She’s in America, covering an all-American sport, and she needs to adapt to American standards. I don’t care if she’s reporting for a Mexican television station.
Case in point: Angelina Jolie — the second HOTTEST woman in the world according to the Sports Dude — who recently visited Afghanistan, appropriately covered up and wearing a headscarf, and not in a skin-tight, Red Carpet gown that enhances all of her curves. Ms. Jolie adapted to the culture of the country she was visiting and not the Western culture she was representing.
So let’s bring the conversation off the field and direct it towards ourselves and our world.
We’ve come a long way baby since the early-1980s’ power suits. As we headed into the 1990s, Susan Dey and the “LA Law blouse” made it okay to be a woman and a lawyer.
In the years since, we got rid of pantyhose, and open-toed shoes are now acceptable business attire. Women lawyers are actually wearing PANTS to court. However, an Ally McBeal-length skirt is NEVER appropriate at work. I don’t care how incredible your legs are. And, let me just add, God bless the costumers for Mad Men who have inspired designers to create work-appropriate dresses.
Earlier this week, ForbesWoman asked this question on their Facebook page: Ines Sainz Isn’t Upset. So Why Is Everyone Else? Here’s Ms. Sainz’ take:
“I’m not trying to provoke anything,” she told Meredith Vieira. “I don’t think I need to change. They are going to change.”
WHAT?? She wasn’t PROVOKING?? And, WHY does the workforce – read MEN – have to change?? Men are naturally visual creatures. That’s why porn is geared more towards men than towards women. And, let’s admit it women, WE KNOW THIS!!!!
Women do not wear WonderBras for the comfort and support. We know how to turn a man’s head when we walk into a room. We know how to get attention. We’re not putting on a pair of skin tight jeans, fuck-me pumps (my blog, I can say that), a skin tight T-shirt and thinking, “Wow, I’m ready for Costco, where’s my list?”
A woman dresses provocatively around a bunch of men who are playing an incredibly adrenalin-generating game, and then people are offended when the men responded as men do? Yes, I said it. Men make cat-calls, hoot, and glare. And, yes, we women know it. Personally, if I dressed in skin-tight jeans and a blouse that was showing off the “girls” I’d be INSULTED if men DIDN’T glare.
As women we cannot have it both ways. If we want to be taken seriously in the workplace, we need to act, and dress seriously. Is there a double standard here?? You Betcha. But we, as women, are working and living in the REAL world. It is up to us to enter our places of business and act the role.
Ms. Sainz is more “personality” than journalist. Which is fine. HOWEVER, her recent stunt is affecting ALL women in her profession. And, I will argue, it is raising eyebrows around the water coolers of many law firms and other professional places of business as well.
Andrea Kremer, ESPN’s first woman reporter, who is currently reporting from the sidelines for NFL Sunday Night Football, weighed in on the controversy as well:
Kremer is reluctant to talk. The whole Ines Sainz-Jets controversy takes the conversation back to a border supposedly crossed many moons ago. “Sure I’m disappointed,” she said. “No matter what the issue, it ends up coming back to the same thing: People start talking about do women belong in locker rooms? Do they belong in sports?”
Covering football as a sports journalist is still a man’s world. Get over the “sexism” of it. Right or wrong, it’s the reality. So, if we, as women, want to be taken seriously we need to play the game and dress the part.
Same can be said for women’s “issues” in the law firm. I am so tired of the “women-aren’t-making-partner-at-the-same-rate-as-men” studies. I am so over of the “women-aren’t-being-paid-as-much-as-their-male-counterparts” articles. BORING.
In my experience, the women who are making partner are making the same sacrifices as the men who are making partner, which are usually their families and “work-life” balance. Women rainmakers are making the same amount of money as male rainmakers. Same sacrifices – families and “work-life” balance. But that is a topic for another blog post.
What it comes down to for me on this topic is that dressing in a skin-tight shirt and jeans, with the “girls” at full attention, is fine for hanging out at a bar watching the game with friends and flirting with the guys. It is completely inappropriate for work – no matter where your “office” is located.
For those of us who live in the real world the real lesson is this: Dress and act as a professional and you will be treated as a professional. Dress and act as a sexual provocateur if you so choose, but do not cry sexual harassment and discrimination when the men notice.
Emphasis throughout post added by me.