Skip to main content

It's not just librarians who suffer from stereotyping

Unfortunately, lawyers get it too...and one of the best (for best, read "irritating and patronising") ones is the Legally Blonde female lawyer.

Y'know - that attractive yet dumb blonde girl who floats through life, until an major event makes her re-evaluate everything, and then she works her socks off to show everyone how smart she really is?

Seems like the BBC have been watching a few too many repeats of that film recently, judging from their reporting of this story (although Legally Blonde isn't specifically mentioned in the report).

Look: she's blonde!
Look: she's pretty!
Look: she used to work in a beauty-based job! That means she must be stupid!
Look: she went to court to battle on her Mum's behalf! Isn't that an unexpected event!
Look: she's studied to become a lawyer! And excelled at her studies!
Look: she's actually really, really smart! Who could have imagined?

Dear god - all it needs is her bust size, and a hint that she'll be sleeping with powerful people in law firms in order to get a job, and it could be a Daily Mail report.

Really, BBC, is this the best way you could report this? The undertone of surprise that someone female, blonde and pretty could also actually be really rather intelligent, and able to make full use of an amazing opportunity when it's presented to her, is quite disturbing. For a profession that's working its socks off to try and address inequalities in the representation of women, this sort of patronising reporting undermines everything that women in law have worked so hard to get...you know, that small thing called "recognition of their equal skills"?

Comments

absolvitor said…
I don't see the problem, replace the protagonist with a male joiner or mechanic who represented his old day in court against some cowboy builders, and it reads just the same. Sure, it's a frothy piece which isn't going to win a Pulitzer, but as an old fashioned human interest David v. Goliath tale, I thought it kinda worked?
Michael said…
What else do you expect from the beeb? ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

Relaunching a library service

What do you do when you decide to do what is verging on library-based insanity, and basically scrap your current library service, and relaunch everything - physical layout, LMS, and classification system? In my case, spend a year, planning, developing, preparing….and then a frantic few weeks hauling stock!
The background to this apparent madness is this: when I took on this role I inherited a library using a layout that didn’t seem to make sense, a classification system I wasn’t familiar with, and an LMS that had been in place for 20 years but didn’t seem suited to our needs. As I was new to the library, a major part of the time I had available while settling in during my initial few months was dedicated to exploring how well these things were working, both for users, and library staff. I had the benefit of my colleague also being new to the library, only a few months after me, so together we looked at these issues with fresh eyes.We came to the following conclusions: The physical layou…

Impressive shelving technique

I have a new role model: the shelving technique demonstrated between 12 and 18 seconds by the librarian in this Lucozade video is something to aspire to! :D


Too close to the problem to see the achievements

Sometimes, you have so much to do, that you can't see what you've actually done. I'm feeling very much that way at the moment, so I thought I'd make a public list for myself of all the work and professional things I've done since taking up my role in mid January. Then maybe I'll feel less like I'm just not very good at anything. It's worth a try. Although for obvious reasons, I can't publicly say much about the baddest/hardest stuff, but...it's in there. Maybe it's not explicit about how hard it's been, but it's there.

So: what have I done?


Service management and development

Replaced someone who ran the library for 21 years, who retired 3 months before I started, and gave me no handover information.Got 6 weeks of company/training on the library from an assistant, who then retired, leaving me as the only person in the organisation who knew anything about how the library actually worked.Done the assistant librarian and librarian job simu…