You’re capable of more than ironing and blowjobs

by Lucas Witherspoon

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Meet Nina Siahkali Moradi. If you’ve never heard of her, you’re not alone. She’s an Iranian politician and activist who managed to score the 14th spot out of 163 candidates, making her an alternate member of the Qazvin city council in the case one of the other city council members either resigned or was disqualified. She was officially designated as what amounts to an understudy in the instance another member on the council resigned or was forced out. But, when a member of the city council stepped down, thus leaving room for Moradi to take his place, she was deemed by the remaining council as “too attractive” to serve, and the council promptly nullified the (rather impressive) 10,000 votes she received under the aforementioned guise. A senior Qazvian was actually quoted as saying, “We don’t want a catwalk model on the council.”

It’s easy to write this off as simply being a product of misogynistic Middle Eastern culture, but the fact of the matter is that this also happens more often than it should in the Western world.

Take for instance the case of Melissa Nelson, an Iowa dental assistant who was fired by her boss, James Knight, per the insistence of his wife (who also happened to work at the same dental office) and pastor, as he found her to be too “irresistible” to work with, which may in turn lead to the possibility he may cheat on his wife. He even alluded to the fact Nelson was dressing so provocatively–you know, in standards scrubs–that his “pants were bulging.” Eventually, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court upheld Knight’s decision to fire her, believing that he legitimately had reason to terminate her because she apparently posed a threat to Knight’s marriage.

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Above is a photo of James Knight. Total dreamboat, right? *eye roll*

When we think about blatant sexism and misogyny, the sad fact of the matter is that we in the Western world don’t seem to realize it’s happening right in front of us on a daily basis. Clearly women in the Western world enjoy many more basic civil and human rights than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, but just because we don’t stone a woman to death for giving an opinion doesn’t mean we’re in any way less oppressive. Oppression in itself is a detriment and penultimately the greatest form of punishment.

The “she’s too attractive” defense when a woman is denied a position or even fired is, in essence, a man’s way of saying, “I can’t stop sexualizing you long enough to see you as a qualified human being worthy of judgment based on more than just what my penis fancies.” What’s more unfortunate is that we expect men to act in this manner. A penis doesn’t automatically bestow upon a male the right to act as a neanderthal.

When a man says a woman is too attractive that he can’t control himself, it’s not an instance of the woman being too attractive, it’s the man in question being incapable of controlling his boner. Subliminally, society has taught us that this sort of thinking is okay: a man absolutely cannot control his insatiable boner without acting upon it because clearly men are the only gender who experience sexual attraction. The issue isn’t that a woman is attractive, it’s that you can’t stop sexualizing her long enough to see her as a qualified human being worthy of judgment based on more than just what your penis fancies.

This is my message to men: stop perpetuating the stereotype that you’re a hyper-masculine tool. This is my message to women: you’re capable of more than ironing and blowjobs.

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