sexism or clever self-promotion?

posted by missmsian

My old feminist self wants to kick my newly non-feminist self a little for thinking this. But this week’s Kardashianesque scandal about a former Citibank worker who was allegedly fired for being too hot to handle is, well, a little hard to handle.

Debrahlee Lorenzana says her male managers told her to stop wearing turtlenecks, fitted suits and heels because they were “easily distracted” by her figure.That’s completely inappropriate. It’s their own problem if they can’t keep their eyes in check. That part’s easy.

The harder part (it usually is) is understanding the media coverage. Lorenzana has announced she wants to sue Citibank because they essentially stopped her from wearing business outfits. However, most of the news articles have accompanying photos of Lorenzana posing in completely unrelated outfits, baring cleavage.


Whether or not she was subjected to sexism at work, she’s definitely being subject to it in the media now.

“Before she was bounced by Citygroup, busty banker Debrahlee Lorenzana sent the interest rate soaring – among male fans eager to catch a glimpse of her assets.” — a New York Daily News article, June 4, 2010

Entering murky waters; cue Jaws theme.

I can’t decide if she’s been doubly victimized (by her managers and the media) or if she’s a marketing genius. I mean, she agreed to the sexy photos, right?

It’s also disappointing so few people have brought up the fact that this entire debacle has reinforced traditional Western beauty standards. Every story I found described Lorenzana’s 5’6, 125-lb frame. Her wavy brown hair. Her perfectly tanned (note: but not dark!) skin. Her bodacious bod. We get it.

Some sites are actually polling readers on whether she’s too hot to handle. The implication is obvious: okay, she’s hot, but how hot?

I post up almost the same measurements as Lorenzana, although I’m about 1″ shorter, 15 lbs lighter and have a smaller frame. I would be considered non-traditional or “exotic”. Would Lorenzana’s issue ever come up for me?


1 Comment

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One response to “sexism or clever self-promotion?

  1. fiercefab

    “I can’t decide if she’s been doubly victimized (by her managers and the media) or if she’s a marketing genius.”

    Hmm. Are the two mutually exclusive?

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