cathrinerose (cathrinerose) wrote in feminist_101,

Price Waterhouse Cooper Sex Scandal

For those of you who don't know seventeen senior male employees at Price Waterhouse Cooper have become embroiled in a scandal which might be seen to parallel the opening of the movie The Social Network. The Irish Times covers it here, Gawker here and the Google news feed is here.

One male employee in PWC’s Dublin office sent an email to his colleagues with pictures, names and departments of new associates with the subject 'Here is my short list for the top ten.' So far, so stupid. These colleagues then forwarded the email on to other employees. As I said at the beginning seventeen men received and forwarded on this email with comments including 'Great work... Have reservations about the last one.'

This sort of thing should have been stopped as soon as the first message was sent. Instead it was sent around both within PWC and to other companies. It's horrible, juvenile behaviour which shouldn't exist in the 21st Century.

However it is not the email it's self which disgusted me the most about the whole situation, which is saying something. Here is a link to gather with details on the whole affair covering it in a manner which seems to be even more sexist than the e-mail if that is possible.

I'm including the text and analysing exactly what I found insulting about it as I really and truly need to vent about this.

It seems that the wealthy accountants over at behemoth accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are stealing a page out of Karen Owen's book.

An e-mail has been swirling around the internet containing a Top 10 list of the most attractive female office workers in PricewaterhouseCoopers Dublin office, according to Gawker.

Just as Owen created her list and rankings of guys that she's had sex with during her time at Duke, in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Top 10 email 17 PWC employees sent around a chain email listing who they thought the Top 10 most attractive females in the office were.

The email was leaked and forwarded all over Ireland, and has now reached the states.

So far, just a summery although I am a bit uncomfortable comparing the email to Owen's powerpoint. While both are disquieting and a horrible invasion for the subjects, the power imbalance between the subjects and creator in PWC is so much greater and pushes this out of unpleasant and ill-thought-out into sexual harassment. Also, by comparing this to Owen's email rather than to the scene in The Social Network where the protagonist does something similar attempts to lessen the gross misconduct here by implying a social connection which probably doesn't exist (although I am open to correction), and says 'women rate men's attractiveness too, it's not that big a deal.'

In almost yearbook style format, making it a lot more innocent and implying an immaturity that could be used to escape culpability the email contains photos of admittedly attractive women in the Dublin office. So because the women are attractive, it makes it ok to objectify them? The big winners were girls from "Advisory" and "Insurance," which contained three girls from each department. There are no words to describe how messed up that sentence is.

This is sure to be an ongoing story, as no doubt one or more of the women mentioned in the PWC Top 10 emails will file suit and find this to be sexist behaviour. Because having a bit of self-respect and objecting to objectification and sexism is over reacting and being a spoilsport.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has 2,000 employees in Ireland and over 160,000 employees worldwide. But judging by the Top 10 email, these guys are still college frat boys at heart. All light, innocent, college fun. Never mind that these men have left college years ago, or that if they were hired by such a prestigious firm they should have the pure cop-on not to do this kind of thing.

At the bottom of the PWC email, there's a line that states that PricewaterhouseCoopers is the "most popular graduate recruiter of 2010." With girls attractive as this working there, it's not hard to see why. Again, so many things wrong with that last sentence I don't know where to start. The fact that these are highly competent women who weren't hired based on their looks? The fact that it suggests that PWC's sole criteria for women employees is their attractiveness? The fact that it implies that rather than the prestige and cachet of working for an internationally renowned firm that employees were only interested in the best eye-candy?

Thoughts? Ideas? Con-crit?
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