Archive for February 18th, 2016

Lopsided Deal

What if a woman was offered a lucrative, plum position in a particular field – let’s say engineering – for which she was required and expected to perform said tasks and critiqued accordingly.  To finalize the mix, her supervisor expected an ongoing sexual relationship.  But the woman employee would be expected to perform the job requirement tasks and subjected to the same performance reviews as any other employee.  So, is this prostitution or is its removal from the direct exchange of sex for money take it out of that category?  The situation has a very murky feel to it IMO.

Yeah, it’s murky all right.  If the employee initiated the deal, it would certainly be a form of prostitution (though kind of a dumb one for reasons we’ll go over in a minute).  But if the employer initiated it – which is what I assume you’re proposing due to the phrase “expected an ongoing sexual relationship” – it would be sexual harassment in the purest form.  Such arrangements were at one time not at all uncommon; I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hollywood “casting couch”.  In the days when men pretty much ran everything and women were hard-pressed to break into decent jobs, many women felt as though they had little choice but to accept such lopsided deals when they were offered; it wasn’t until women as a group had gained enough clout in the marketplace that individual women felt secure enough to call attention to this kind of extortion when it happened.  But since the language you use seems to indicate that you don’t see the fundamentally coercive nature of these work conditions, let me spell it out for you:  the employee would be expected to perform two jobs for one paycheck, and as you describe it she wouldn’t be getting any kind of slack in the “official” job.  So not only would she have to put out for her sleazy boss without any guarantee of job security, she’d also have to labor under the Damoclean sword of the Coolidge Effect.  Sooner or later he’d get tired of her, and then what?  Would he let her keep the job and stop pestering her for sex, or (as seems much more likely) would he begin to find fault with her, sabotage her efforts so she gets bad performance reviews, write her up for bullshit infractions, and the like so he could fire her and bring in a new honey in her place?  Only a desperate woman would accept such a crappy arrangement, and because Western society now recognizes just how exploitative sex-for-job deals are, any man who would still propose one would have to be a total fool who deserved everything he got.

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