Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why You're Never Going to See Pictures of Me on LinkedIn...& No, It's Not Because I'm Ugly

As you may know, it always disgusts me to see job ads posted on Craig's List where applicants are demanded to send in pictures of themselves. First off, if it's not an acting/modeling job or something where your looks are a part of it then you're announcing your intent to discriminate in ways that are against federal & state labor law. Second, what about actual SKILLS? Do you want some pretty little airhead or someone who's got some common sense? Since when did banks or law firms become fashion shows? I could point out plenty of people working in non-entertainment jobs who shouldn't be there if we're going to base employment on physical attractiveness. Anyone over a certain age would be out the door unless they'd had plastic surgery or a workout routine like that of the average celebrity. Third, whose standard are you using if you're basing job placement on looks? In entertainment, the answer is easy enough: the designer, production company, or whoever is producing the project.

The real world doesn't have producers & CEOs still have to obey labor laws.

Lastly, in the entertainment world there's artistic merit to hiring based on looks. What merit is there for doing it in a personal assistant job or a law firm associate or even a paralegal?

I read this article yesterday & it made me incensed.

Let me tell you that it's not just ugly people, minorities or old timers who don't want to display their pictures in job applications. No one would call me ugly (I'm industry pretty, remember?) & I won't do it. Here's why:

1. Unless it's a job where my looks actually matter, then WHY do you care? If they don't affect my abilities to perform the job at hand, it's not relevant. If it's icing on the cake, just think of it as some bonus in hiring me & not someone else. Just because someone is as pretty as me doesn't mean they can work as well as I can.

2. I have gotten through this life & earned opportunities without having to resort to my looks. I didn't use it to get through school or get my higher level entertainment positions. Again, they're a bonus to work with me specifically vs. "you must be a goddess to work here." I'd like to think I got my opportunities & grades because of my brain, not because anyone secretly lusted after me.

3. It's unprofessional. To me, using a picture is mixing business with pleasure & I'm happily married. Me using a picture for a non-looks based job is tantamount to me saying I'm sexually available. If I'm going to prostitute myself, I may as well just be a real prostitute & work on my own so I get to keep more of the money.

4. It perpetuates sexism in the workplace. One of my Twitter followers retweeted this story about a lawyer who was hiring a secretary to be a prostitute willing to engage in threesomes with his law firm partner.

Attorneys like this should be disbarred, no questions asked. Can we say "sexual predator?" If this guy is so hard up for sex, he should just hire a prostitute. Granted, this means legalizing prostitution (which I have no issue with as long as it's regulated, children aren't involved & we're talking about 100% consenting adults). Perhaps he ought to try dating, getting a mistress or doing something else that doesn't involve sexual harassment of some poor woman who's just trying to earn an honest living.

Saw this shit firsthand, as you may recall so I take serious offense to this kind of thing. Not to mention that whole higher standard of conduct for attorneys? If we toss out domestic abusers, guys like this should definitely have to go. It seems to me he's broken the law.

Another way it perpetuates sexism? If there are other females in the office, this guy has just told them (in so many words) that if they want a chance for advancement or to not get lost in the next round of layoffs, they're going to have to put out. Isn't the job market shitty enough for women (lower wages, history of discrimination & harassment) without allowing assholes like this to use their power position to rape them? If there are strip clubs that don't make their dancers have sex with people to keep working, why should anyone get to demand that of women not working in the adult industry (I don't know enough about the employment experience at strip clubs to determine whether anyone has to do that & we can save the ethics of requiring dancers to do it for another day)?

5. If you're that curious, you can find out for yourself what I look like. There's no duty on me to make it easier for anyone to find out what I look like.

6. I'm extremely wary of strangers so if you approach me in real life & I don't know you, I might hurt you thinking you're out to harm, harass or otherwise piss me off in some way. I have had stalkers before & that was long before working in this business. One can never be too careful.

I don't understand this trend of telling people to put pictures of themselves on social media profiles viewed by employers or adding these to resumes. Have we forgotten about racial discrimination? Age discrimination? Gender discrimination? Religious discrimination (you may be wearing religious attire in your picture)? As a potential employer, I don't want to know this stuff or open myself or my company up to being accused of it.

It would serve these jerks right to be sued for employment discrimination & have to pay a fortune to a person of color, old timer or some other discriminated person. That would teach a lesson & send a clear message to other companies. This Eve Tahmincioglu needs to remove her head from her butt & see the real world for what it is. Employers aren't your friends & certainly aren't above prejudice or bias. Let's save it for in-person meetings.

I don't mind posting a picture of some cartoon character that looks like me or a picture I took or something close to my heart since it does represent me in a sense. Real pics of me, though? Not on your life! You want one? Take my picture if you interview me.

However, realize that this is what casting companies do when trying to place actors (chiefly, extras) for work. If you're not a casting company, then you need to rethink asking applicants for pictures.

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