Friday, January 07, 2005

Thank goodness for the options that come with class privilege

Darlene Jespersen was a highly praised bartender at Harrah's in Reno for almost twenty years, until Harrah's instituted a policy that all women had to wear foundation, concealer, or powder, blush, mascara, and lip color at all times. Darlene demurred, was fired and is now working in retail while the case wends its way through the courts. I'm glad I've got more employment options than that. It makes me furious. The requirement is a legal way to fire butch lesbians. Sure, some straight women choose not to wear makeup too, but they get called lesbians for their trouble. Likewise, a non butch lesbian may also not wear makeup, and get called butch for her trouble. We all might as well come around to support the rights of butch lesbians.
...wearing makeup made her feel sick, degraded, exposed, and violated. Jespersen felt that wearing makeup “forced her to be feminine” and to become “dolled up” like a sexual object, and that wearing makeup actually interfered with her ability to be an effective bartender (which sometimes required her to deal with unruly, intoxicated guests) because it “took away [her] credibility as an individual and as a person.
The legal challenge to the policy is that it places undo burden on women, since maintaining their appearance for work takes more time and money than it does for men. I'm curious what the other people who work at the casino look like. I doubt they are all young "movie-quality" hotties. Does Harrah's think that there are no gay people in the area? Guess what the closest major city is? Gay ground zero, San Francisco.

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