I think I can say with some certainty that I never thought my interests in law and feminism would collide to defend a woman who proclaimed, “I want to be tits on a stick.” But then, I also never thought we’d ever have to live in a world without Gary Coleman.
But today, Elie Mystal’s post at Above the Law on Debrahlee Lorenzana, the former Citibank employee suing for being terminated because she was “too hot,” surprised me. In light of a video circulating of Lorenzana, in which she states her desire to have breast augmentation surgery in order to attract professional men, Mystal declares Lorenzana made herself an “attractive nuisance.”
“Ha! Attractive nuisance!” you might say if you vaguely remember the term from torts class, and then also remember that Lorenzana was fired for being a smoking hot liability. But if Mystal’s goal was to make a funny legal pun, he does so at the expense of accuracy. The attractive nuisance doctrine basically says that if you have something attractive to kids on your land — let’s say, a big rusty swing-set in the middle of your yard — it’s up to you to put a fence up to keep kids from playing on it. If you don’t, and a kid sneaks onto your land, plays on the swing-set, and breaks his arm — it’s your fault.
That’s right, the attractive nuisance doctrine relates only to children not grown-ass men. The doctrine was created specifically because we think that children can’t fully appreciate the risks and dangers associated with playing on things rusty broken down swing-sets or understand the concept of property boundaries.
So it would seem to me that Mystal is really arguing that all men are children. Or maybe, more generously, that men revert to a child-like decision making state when shown giant breasts and shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. I could get behind this new theory of Mystal’s — but only if it means we can send all the men to daycare with a library of Hustler magazines and commence our female take-over of the world.
Clever, misleading puns aside — Mystal goes even further, calling it Lorenzana’s “fault” that men were distracted by her looks: “[S]urely when a woman places objects in her boobs for the specific purpose of attracting a ‘professional’ man, she’s got to assume some responsibility when men stare.”
Is it just me, or do “attract men” and “get fired,” seem like two totally different things? If Lorenzana made a video about how she wanted to get fired from a bank for having breasts in the size and shape of regulation soccer balls, I can understand how her statement of intent might be relevant here. But seeing as Lorenzana’s suit is about getting fired for being attractive, not about whether or not she knows she’s attractive, it just seems like one more excuse for Mystal to go on a bizarre blame rampage.
Even overlooking the legal word-play inaccuracies, Mystal just gets it fundamentally wrong, ignoring the actual issue of the suit (wrongful termination) and talking about it like it’s a sexual harassment claim. In doing so, he also manages to make callous demeaning comments about Lorenzana while simultaneously stomping all over any kind of notions of gender-fairness.
But maybe after looking at pictures of Lorenzana all day, Mystal just needs a nap. Or better yet — a time out.