'Pretty' Discrimination: Desiree Goodwin, Harvard Librarian


The last few days we've read about reference librarian Desiree Goodwin, and her fight against her employers at Harvard University for failure to promote {see earlier LIS News article ).

MSN has just published a photo of the accuser; does her suit have validity and is her appearance the issue?


...but the picture on MSN is inconclusive. She's buttoned up in a winter parka and hunched over talking on a cell phone. Her expression suggests she's either unhappy or perhaps just cold.

There is no way for us to determine if her dress is provocative.

unbound hair... provacative? thats almost as bad as peoples saying sex is the work of the devil. down right ridiculus, who is responsible for teaching poeple to be embarassed of their bodies.... next they'll be tryin to say that wearin sandels is a Sin.... The Harvard Lady should get get what she deserves...It aint easy workin in a library. Hit the Kind And Be Blessed.

What I want to know is:A. What is the age and gender of her supervisor?B. Was the super V just being honest or feeling that "pretty" discrimination was accepted (and protected) practice in that environment so why bother to hide it?A study from that esteemed rag the Journal of Irreproducible Results (if they'd do one) would no doubt prove based on an exhaustive study of families with multiple female siblings, all-female teams from "The Apprentice" and female library adminstrators, that "THE BABE"(female) always gets thoroughly and enthusiastically trashed, whereas in families with a powerful "daddy", all-male teams from "The Apprentice" (who gotta pick a new female team mate) and male dominated organizations, "THE BABE"(female) always gets thoroughly and enthusiastically promoted.Yes, I know someone will re-join "and sexually harrassed!" But there's always a big strong lawyer out there ready to take care of that.

I've always thought the good looking people have things much easier than us, uh, normal people, but maybe some times it works against them? A good example for that is (American) public high schools with young teachers. High school aged students are at a point in emotional development where they are not sure of things. If they see a young, attractive teacher (of either gender) they will favor that teacher a lot (in some cases go out of their way to get their attention) and basically act as a hindrance to the teacher getting their job done. If a young attractive teacher constantly has to bat away the interest of students, that necessarily takes away time that could otherwise be spent teaching or carrying out classroom administrative tasks. Although our resident Curmudgeon Christopher might have something to say, I have been told (back when I was a working journalist competing against The Star Beacon) that I have a face for radio, a voice for print, and otherwise should stick to telecommuting rather than being in the office. Such could explain why it is so hard to get work with conservative think tanks. Some days I make the worst-looking trolls look like supermodels it seems.

I forget what anthropology study I read about this but seemingly one of the biggest matters of attraction noticed by human males of human females is hair. Long hair. Apparently there is good cause for buying those hair care products that claim they will provide you with long, luscious hair. And yet I see few dress code restrictions as to the length of female hair (male facial hair is another story, of course). As to the relativism of defining "provocative" in This Post-Modern Life, I think some would be surprised as to how I would personally define provocative. I am not at the point of where unbound hair is verboten and dancing prohibited. I personally just find modesty to be something more attractive on the part of a young lady rather than the reckless flaunting perceived physical attributes considered "beauty".

As a guy I concur the picture is inconclusive. Is there no sort of official photography/action shots, like the kind used in viewbooks and such, from Harvard that would have depicted this librarian?

Don't go on "Extreme Makeover" Blake. Rest assured, your job here at LIS News is completely secure.

If you note, when her supervisor told her that her clothes were inappropriate (although, I assume she was following the dress code, or she would've been talked to earlier), she modified her dress to be more conservative, and was still denied promotion.I think as long as you're following the dress-code, or are in clean, non-tattered/non-holey, covered-genital clothing for places without dress codes, then you should be fine.What's more troubling is that the EEOC and MA commission declined to take the case. I assume there's a lot more we're not reading from the reporter's slant.And yeah, she does have a nice face.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

I was thinking about how much our looks determine our course in life when I was in DC last week. We were in the Cannon Building (that's where The House has offices) and I was struck by the lack of ugly or even average looking people on staff. It's like a fashion show in there where everyone wearing a name badge was way right side of the bell curve of pretty faces. Clearly many of these people are working there for reasons that are skin deep.I've always thought the good looking people have things much easier than us, uh, normal people, but maybe some times it works against them?Maybe I'll go on "Exteme Make Over" and find out.

Provactive is purely objective. To an Apostolic Christian or any other number of folks, having unbound hair is provocative. I think that any given definition of "provacative" tells a lot more about the definer, rather than the subject.

Hey, as an angry white guy pushing 40 with two masters degrees, one of which is in the so-called Library Science, I know I dont fit the clique either. Im not a bitter old woman or a gay or lesbian youngster and Im not yet an old gray professionally spineless politically correct guy with tenure. But like this black woman people consider a "joke" I have all the ability and more than many who make such bad hiring decisions. You liberal librarians say you wanted diversity but it has been in your midst all along and you scorn it!!!!!!

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