Last week, at a panel session during the Seventh Circuit Bar Association in Indianapolis, a couple of judges aired a grievance regarding women in the courtroom. Their complaint? Lady lawyers are dressing too damn sexy!
Discussion of this all-important issue included the thought by Chief Judge Michael McCluskey that some women come to court wearing "skirts so short that there's no way they can sit down and blouses so short there's no way the judges wouldn't look," and Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar's belief that female lawyers' clothing is "a huge problem." He said sometimes he wishes he could tell the female lawyer before him, "I'd really like to pay attention to your argument." But he can't, you know, because her boobs are too distracting.
What's next? Keeping women out of the courtroom entirely because some of the male judges can't handle their pretty hair or nice eyes?
I understand wanting both men and women to dress professionally in the courtroom (one of the judges complained that a woman lawyer wore a velour tracksuit to court, which is obviously not all that appropriate) but singling women out for wearing short skirts or blouses is not only ridiculous, it's also sexist (and just gross). Can't the judges keep it in their robes and think about baseball or something? And what about women judges? Would it be okay for them to say that they didn't want men lawyers to wear pants that showed their bulge, because they are unable to pay attention to their arguments when all they can think of is hot lawyer sex?
Oh, and if it weren't annoying enough, the ABA titled their article "Male Judges Advise Women Lawyers to Lose the Distracting 'Ally McBeal' Look." Not only is that completely condescending, but it is also a decade-old cultural reference. If these judges are going to be such creepy pervs, can't they at least compare their women colleagues to a present-day sexy television lawyer?
At any rate, if this discussion is worth having at all it should be extended to include both men and women, and should be about appropriate courtroom attire and not women's skirt lengths. As my lawyer friend who emailed me the article so eloquently stated,
To me, the Judge's comments are more inappropriate than the attire. Super-creepy. From my experience, I have never seen a female lawyer dressed inappropriately in this court. [in Portland] And for such a casual city, I've never seen anything remotely track-suity. 99% of the men and women just wear business suits. And, of course, MY big beef are these judgmental oldies who are swimming in suits two sizes too big with inane ties from the 90s
What do you think? Should sexiness in the courtroom be addressed in this manner? Should it be applied to both sexes, or should women be held to a different standard? Have any of you encountered sentiments like these at your workplace?