I came across this article Supermodel Lara Stone: I was fired for being 3 months pregnant yesterday and I almost burnt down the internet. First because of the alleged discrimination, but then because of the commentary.
The article is a bit disjointed, admittedly, leaving a wide open door for comments about how ‘spoiled’ the model is and how modeling is ‘not a job’.
And I thought to myself, why does everyone hate this woman so much? Is it because she is a model? She appears privileged? Or maybe because she is a model that decided to have a baby?
First of all, haters, modeling is a profession. No, it’s not the most altruistic of professions, but she does provide a skill set of sorts and is paid for her efforts. So that is a job or i.e. profession.
Secondly, I don’t think many of the people commenting bothered to read and comprehend what the article was saying, because she indicated that she let them know she was pregnant at the time of booking, and upon showing up for the gig they informed her she had been replaced. See the problem here?
They approved the contract with her even after she indicated she was pregnant. I imagine some time passed and they made assumptions about her size and condition, who knows. But the article indicates she was not let go until she showed up. THAT is why this is discrimination.
Why? because they should have had a policy in place prior to the finalization of the contract. I imagine that the modeling industry, unlike mine, is female dominated, so this seems like an issue that would have some fine print outlining a company’s policy on pregnant models.
Also, the article alludes to her feeling a need to tell them she was pregnant. This seems to implicate that if she hadn’t, they would not have even known she was pregnant.
You have to remember that this was in her first trimester, and usually the only major symptoms are fatigue and nausea. Those are also the symptoms of a hangover. Not exactly a reason to find someone unfit to do their job. If it was, there would be a lot more unemployed people out there.
On a personal note, I experienced a similar situation at my own place of employment. My situation is a bit more clean cut, but I am astonished at the number of people that seemed to agree with the actions of my employer.
This is what happened:
So I found out I was pregnant last May. I told my boss at 11 weeks because I wanted to be completely above board about it. We discussed how that might affect my work flow, such as appointments, and then further down the line, my maternity leave. Everything seemed fine and no issues or concerns were raised.
In December, we had our performance evaluations. I was eight months pregnant and still working. I intended to work up to my due date in February. During the evaluation my boss noted my years and growth with the company and offered me a raise. I was surprised but gladly accepted.
Then my first paycheck of the year came.
So I emailed the accountant. No response.
Then my boss came to my office. His exact words were ‘the Owner said you can’t have your raise until you return from maternity leave.’
This was January and I wasn’t due for another six weeks.
So I was denied my raise for a total of three and half months because I was pregnant.
Sure, you could argue that I wasn’t working eight of those weeks while I was on maternity leave, but what if I had been due later in the year? Would I have been denied it for say, six whole months while I was working? Seven? Eight?
Furthermore, what if I were an employee going on sabbatical? Or just taking a really long vacation? Would they have denied me my raise until I returned?
My guess is probably not.
Just like Lara, I was unpleasantly surprised by my employer’s actions because they had never made me aware that there was a policy about pregnancy.
Instead, they just dropped the grenade on us. Sounds a bit insensitive, doesn’t it?
I think that’s why I am most offended by this. If you feel that she can’t do her job because she is pregnant, fine. If you feel that I shouldn’t be ‘rewarded’ before going on maternity leave, ok, I understand the logic. Sort of.
But have the decency to inform us like we informed you. What if I had waited until I went into labor and then said, oh yeah, I’ll be gone for the next eight weeks! having a baby, see ya!’
Not too cool.
Because you know what it feels like to be punished at your place of work because you are pregnant? Terrible. It makes you feel guilty for having a child.
In a country that is violently opinionated about whether a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy or not, it sure doesn’t seem to care much about the women who do chose to keep them.
In fact, we seem to live in a culture that silently discourages a woman from having children.
Those who chose to have children must make huge sacrifices to have them.
And regardless of what she chooses, she is going to be criticized. A woman that stays at home to nurture her children is criticized because she doesn’t really ‘work’ and we make reentry into the workforce nearly impossible, but a woman that has children and chooses to continue working isn’t given adequate leave, pay and is criticized for either her lack of performance at work or poor parenting.
So what’s the deal America? Why do you hate pregnant women so much?
Because those little people we have to dump off at daycare everyday so we can race to work will grow up, and one day they will be the adults making the policies and having the babies.
Do we want our sons and daughters to face the same obstacles if and when they want to start families? Do we even WANT them to have families? Because from where I stand, the future seems a little dimmer for them than I had hoped.