Ask a Mormon Girl Joanna Brooks posted her thoughts yesterday on the BYU-Idaho skinny jeans controversy. She asked if this was "Sexism, sizeism or standards"? For those not in the loop, the BYU Testing Center is notorious for being more puritanical than temple standards. This latest gaffe started when a "curvier" girl walked in wearing skinny jeans. She was told to go home and change because her outfit was too tight. This reminded me of my own, personal encounter with BYU leadership and dress standards. So I messaged Brooks my experience. Here is the letter:
Thank you for posting about this issue with BYU. I subscribe to your Facebook updates and wanted to message you privately. I used to work for BYU. I worked at Classical 89 as the morning newscaster there for a year. I left shortly after being told I was dressed too provocatively and a man I worked with had complained it was giving him impure thoughts. I cried. The HR gal told me she didn't even want to bring it up with me but she was being forced to by the "men" above her. The thing is I'm busty. I cover up but I'm busty. I was wearing garment covering clothing. I wore garments at the time. I was told it was my problem. [Must I don a burka?]
When I asked who this person was that had complained and was having "thoughts" I was told they weren't allowed to tell me. Talk about creating a hostile work environment.
So I left. I thought of suing. I thought of going to the papers. But at the time I was a faithful member and didn't want to cause problems for the church's image. I didn't want to stand out and risk being labeled something or further harassed.
The problem is really a systemic belief hat men are not in charge of their own behavior. It's appalling and insulting (to both men and women). And places women in a humiliating position where they have to apologize for having a body. I was young and vulnerable (26 at the time) and felt the hostility in the position I was in. I knew if I complained my career would be over, I would bring bad press to an organization I believed in and I was not in a winning position.
No woman (or man), curvy or not should be subject to that sort of hostility in the workplace or otherwise simply for the way they look.
We live in a place and time where women are afforded a great many more opportunities than they used to have. We can work side by side with men and hold leadership positions, even be CEO and have people take us seriously. It is time we ask men with weak and wandering minds to take their heads out of the gutter and not discriminate against women for existing. This skinny jeans incident is just another lamentable example of the "Church" asking women to feel bad about themselves.