A new column over at Salon is offering advice on women and work, and this question — can I stare? — provoked 163 comments after the writer weighed in:
Look, is it cool that the woman you work with wears tight things that may or may not be appropriate for work, depending on what kind of office you work in, how the clothes fit her and other things that have to do with the context of her culture, general style and, frankly, body type (thank you, Lane Bryant for making an issue out of that banned ad and its reflective bias)? Maybe, I don’t know. What I know is definitely uncool is for you, a young, straight man in the workplace — not a minority unless it is Opposite Day — to take umbrage with a female colleague’s apparel choices. Because, frankly, what Perla in accounting wears to work so she can cover her bits and feed her family is really none of your business — even if your erection disagrees. If she’s violating a dress code rule that she’d been briefed on at the time of her hire, somebody in H.R. will talk to her, and she’ll probably be embarrassed and start wearing a scarf.
I don’t think so.
If you insist on displaying your cleavage, why wouldn’t men stare? Isn’t that the point? Why should women dress so provocatively yet whine when they — provoke — attention?
Your colleagues, let alone your customers or clients, don’t need to see your breasts.