Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Culture of Me, Myself and Mine

According to Breitbart.com, a Muslim woman is suing Disneyland because they won’t let her work a customer-oriented position in a headscarf.

In my ever-humble opinion, the 26-year old person in question, Imane Boudal, is a symbol of what is wrong with America. And no, not because she’s Muslim or even because she wants to cover her head.

Believe it or not, I am a firm believer in women’s right to wear a headscarf should they so choose. As a big supporter of small government, I believe that the political powers that be should butt out of what we wear and what we don’t. Sorry Sarkozy.

Though I can’t ever see myself willingly donning a veil, I can even make a pretty decent feminist argument both ways on the topic. And from a legal standpoint, she has the right to wear that on her own time.

The reason why she represents the bad side of America is her apparent obsession with herself, her viewpoint and her needs over anybody else’s… because she deserves it and because life should be fair, at least for her.

Yet what about Disney’s rights? As its own private business with its own customers to keep happy and aura to maintain, it has the right to discriminate, at least to some degree.

Workplace Discrimination

Think about it…

When I worked in the food service, I had to wear a uniform, whether it was at Bob Evans (oh the stories I could tell), Ruby Tuesdays or Panera Bread. There was some kind of dress code for each.

But what if my particular religion dictated that I not wear, let’s say, the straight-leg, medium-hued jeans I had to don at Ruby Tuesdays for a short while? Adhering to my fundamental beliefs, I showed up to work wearing a black skirt instead.

Would they have the right to let me go? I think so.

I’m actually not trying to mock Ms. Boudal with that admittedly odd hypothetical, but it still fits.

I might have personally thought that my then employer’s mandate was stupidly precise – if you want your staff to dress so specifically than fashion an actual uniform for heaven’s sake – but all the same, they had the right to enforce that rule. It was their company and they were paying me to uphold an image.

More Frivolous Lawsuits

The same goes for other frivolous lawsuits, such as the ones directed at Hooters. As much as I dislike the establishment as a classless and chauvinistic dive, because this is a free country, it has the right to ban men or “unattractive” people from taking waitress positions there.

Is that ethically right? No, but then again, neither is Hooters to begin with.

Or the case of Abercrombie & Fitch, which has been sued more than once for its own forms of discrimination. Ever notice how all of its employees are blond little babes or jocks with vacant stares and even less personality?

That’s primarily because that’s who they target, the silly, mindless pre-teens and teens who want nothing more than to conform to supposed peers’ expectations. So that’s who they want to hire: more of the same.

Last year, a girl with a prosthetic arm sued them for discrimination because management sent her to work in the back after she refused to take off her cardigan and wear the more standard tops they had all employees wear.

Or how about modeling companies? Should they be sued for only choosing people who fit their exceedingly narrow version of beauty? The NFL for only drafting guys who can handle a football? Fed Ex and UPS for demanding a certain physical requirement for their drivers? Or the U.S. Air Force for enforcing even stricter standards?

Now, some of those examples are more reasonable than others, admittedly. But they all center around discrimination in one form or another all the same, as well as the right of the employer to dictate certain rules, even unreasonable ones when it comes to personal appearance.

The Difference Between What is Right and Legal Rights

Was it right what Abercrombie did? I think that any reasonable person should be able to answer a quick no to that. But the ridiculously shallow company still had the legal right to make their silly demands all the same.

And there are other ways of handling such idiotic workplace issues than suing. The employee in question could have written to a paper, or stand outside of A&F stores telling potential customers what they did.

Hey, it’s not their property there outside of the store and she wouldn’t be on their dime. They have the right to be stupid, and she has the right to tell everybody else that they’re stupid.

More than likely, the end result would be that Abercrombie – or any other institution with the exception of Hooters and the modeling agencies – would more than likely give in to her demands in order to maintain their precious public image.

(Incidentally, I hope that is exactly what happens with the Ground Zero mosque, though it doesn’t look likely at the moment. Apparently that particular imam doesn’t care about any detrimental affects on his organization or fellow believers.)

But legally and reasonably speaking, there are more parties to consider than just her.

The same actually applies even further to such cases as Geico firing Lance Baxter after he called up the Tea Party affiliate Freedom Works and left them an insulting message. And, if this blog ever takes off and my current company let me go because of it… guess what? I wouldn’t sue them. They have an image to maintain and can choose whether or not I do that or not in this case.

Please Get Your Facts Straight Ma’am

For that matter, it wasn’t a matter of religion either, as Imane Boudal is claiming. She says that “their offer to put me in the back is humiliating. They’re saying because I’m Arab, because I’m Moroccan, because I’m Muslim, they don’t want to see me in the front.”

Actually, Ms. Boudal, you’re so obsessed with your self that you got it completely wrong. They hired you for a hostess position in the first place, which means they have no problem with your ethnicity. And they probably didn’t ask – or care – about your religious preferences either.

All they asked was that you not wear a headscarf in a particular position. So please Ms. Boudal, you and your fellow egocentric thinkers out there of all stripes, get over yourself.

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