I’ve been through this before, but the idea that we can assume fully “rational” employers who will infer nothing from this kind of shaming other than “these women are hot!” is living in some alternate universe. As Jill says, “[f]or women who aren’t as public as I am, whose names don’t bring up almost 2,000 Google hits, this could very well be the first thing an employer comes across. And middle-aged Big Law attorneys may not be the most savvy people in the world when it comes to internet communities. They see a thread talking about the promiscuity of a woman they’re considering hiring, and that raises red flags. They see a link to a contest, where that woman’s smiling pictures are on first glance it appears that she fully consented to participate, and it might be a deal-breaker. While, from a feminist perspective, I think it’s silly that participation in a beauty contest can make or break your job prospects, the reality is that it can.” Of course. Many professional people read profound significance into the most superficial characteristics (see the works of Ann Althouse, passim.) The involuntary beauty contests on the boards in question are extremely creepy, and for law firms to look at them in making hiring decisions is disgraceful but to pretend that it won’t happen is crazy.
…Lindsay: “What rational employer would care what anonymous twerps on a message board said about a woman’s body? No rational employer would.* However, as the entire history of civilization illustrates, people are sometimes, uh, less than rational when it comes to human sexuality and gossip pertaining thereto. If this story is any indication, law firms don’t make their hiring decisions rationally.” Indeed.
…Julia (in comments):
I think maybe I’m confused. This is the same Ann Althouse who started a raging blog war over a woman wearing a sweater that fit in an online picture because by having a picture posted in which she was wearing a sweater that fit she was sexualizing her image and causing herself not to be taken seriously to the point where Ann Althouse and her commenters were totally justified in making blowjob jokes?
She can’t figure out what the problem is with having bathing suit pictures explicitly linked to your professional career in an online contest?
I wonder how her law students deal with her working backwards from the results she prefers approach. Must make case law awfully complicated.
Yeah, it’s shocking that she would defend Bush v. Gore.