September 23, 2004

Sexual Harrassment Law and You. Or Rather, Me.

I had something else entirely planned for today’s post, but then something came up.

So the girl who I’m covering for at this temp gig is pretty clearly the office cut-up, the instigator, the one who cajoles everyone into wearing team jerseys for jersey day (a charity event) and chipping in for gifts and whatnot. She sent a postcard in to the office today from her holidays which was addressed to “Boss’s Name, Dick head” (He just shook his head, chuckled, and said she must have been pissed.)

And, it would seem, her friends are like this as well. See, they didn’t give me my own email address or anything for the brief span I’ll be here, so I’ve just been using hers. And so I get all her emails, almost all of it work stuff, couple mailing lists for football tickets and such. But also the group forwards of this one chick—and everyone has someone like this in their address books—who sends about three random, lewd, semi-amusing, and/or incredibly cheesy forwards a day. This one in particular’s speciality is GIFs and JPEGs of things like puppies piddling on computer keyboards (“#1 REASON TO BUY WARRENTY!!!”) and nine-month old infants wearing T-shirts that say, “I shit my pants and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

Today, though, she’s outdone herself. Today, I got an email entitled “X-RATED ART WORK-CAUTIONXXX,” and whereas in all her past the pictures have been attached to the email, in this one they’re pasted in. Dude. These pictures. I ….oh, man. I thought for a moment of pasting these here since they have got to be seen to be properly boggled at, but I think a couple of my younger cousins read this blog, and besides, I’m really pretty sure I don’t want the kind of traffic they’d bring me. Specifically—and if any of my younger cousins are reading this, you should stop now, or a least you should tell you parents you stopped now—the pictures depict a bunch of naked people on whom latex body paint has been applied to high-larious effect. Like the first one is a woman in a field, leaning over a tin milk jug, wearing nothing but a peculiarly tense expression and a layer of white body paint with amorphous black blotches. Cow-patterned. Everywhere except for her face, hands, and nipples.


The next one is—you know the smiley face with its tongue stuck out that AOL IM inserts if you do this: ;P ? Ok, imagine one of those wrapped around a woman’s torso like a slinky tube top, with the edge of the circle ending a couple inches above her bellybutton but the tongue extending…further. A lot further.


The rest of them are more like exercises in portraiture or tattoo art, which try to incorporate various of the primary and secondary sex characteristics of an adult human into the art in a trompe l’oeil fashion. All of which is a fancy way of describing a series of pictures painted onto people right about where the top button of your fly hits on a pair of low-rise Levi’s. Two are on women: A mama bird sitting on a branch, extending a worm down to three baby birds hungrily poking their heads out of a nest; and a portrait of Generic Willie Nelson, complete with the bandana headband and the soulful brown eyes and the full, greying beard. Two were on men: Screaming devil head sticking his tongue out Gene-Simmons style (except not his tongue, if you know what I mean); and a rather Babar-esque charging elephant.


Now, I like to consider myself fairly unflappable, open-minded sort of a gal, so naturally my first thought when I looked at this was, “Huh.” But my second thought was, “Oh, my god. If someone did this in the States they would be so fired. Oh, my god. Lookit tha—So fired. Fired, fired, fired.” In fact, in one of the cases I worked on back at Partner, Partner and Ampersand, the C.E.O. of a company had chosen to “reward” his hard-working IT staff during a particular late night crisis with a “porn break” a fact which became highly embarrassing to him during the pre-trial hearing. Heck, when I absentmindedly sent a few of the pictures down to the copy center among the other exhibits we were preparing, I was rewarded not ten minutes later with a visit from a blushing night copy manager asking if I could please warn him the next time I needed something like that copied because people were a little ahem…er…uh…and he didn’t want to offend anybody and could I just give him a heads up for the next time?

I don’t really have a conclusion for this, I mean, insert your own “Blahbitty-blee-blah-bling, cultural differences, appropriate/inappropriate, where’s the line between prudishness and a righteous ‘Eeeeeew!’” ect.

Elephant one was kinda funny, though.

Posted by Diablevert at September 23, 2004 08:38 AM | TrackBack

See, I feel like I'd prefer the kinky stuff over what I get at my work-place: these strange Christian/Patriotic forwards... there was one that I have with (poorly) Photoshop-ed images of the Virgin Mary and Christ wrapping soldiers up in blanket-like American flags... and others with J.C. standing arm-in-arm with Dubya against an American flag backdrop... you get the idea. Below I've attached a more recent incarnation of this type of thing, with a conscious-consumer-like twist...

Pepsi has a new "patriotic" can coming out with pictures of the Empire State Bldg. and the Pledge of Allegiance on them. But Pepsi forgot two little words on the pledge, "Under God." Pepsi said they did not want to offend anyone. If this is true then we sure do not want to offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office. If we do not buy any Pepsi product then they will
not receive any of our money. Our money has the words "Under God" on it. Please pass this word to everyone you know. Tell your family, tell your neighbors--let your voices be heard. We want the words "under God" to continue to be a part of the Pledge of Allegiance. HOW FAST CAN YOU FORWARD THIS ONE?

Posted by: A-L at September 23, 2004 01:04 PM

This can be kind of obnoxious, so if it was your grandma sending you crap, I'd say probably just roll your eyes and delete, but if you want to get them to sending you stuff like this, then is your best friend. Check it:

I always check snopes when someone sends me crap like that. They usually have the real deal on any email forwards, and they back up their assertions with links to newspaper articles and such. A few "Um, that's complete crap, and here's why" emails usually cuts down on the inbox clutter pretty quick. Mostly becuase people seem to much prefer to stop forwarding stuff to you and retain their belief in whatever outrageous/heart-rending fluff people send to them.

Posted by: Diablevert at September 24, 2004 04:10 AM

I think sending stuff like that is inappropiate at the work place but I also think sending messages involving God is as well, especially the chain letters! Don't preach to me! Drives me crazy!! I have broken every one I have received and haven't had any catastrophies happen to me yet. Also hate those cutesie ones that want you to send them back if you "care about me" or if your their "friend" yuk! That being said, I have sent them back to avoid hurting anyone's feelings. Can't be too sure.

Posted by: mom at September 24, 2004 01:41 PM

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