Have we stumbled into an episode of Mad Men?
Later this month, Republican State Sen. Marty Golden’s office is holding a career-development event for women in his southern Brooklyn district teaching them “Posture, Deportment and the Feminine Presence.”
That’s according to a taxpayer-funded mailing being sent out in Golden’s district, which an offended reader passed along. The taxpayer-funded event – presented by a “certified protocol consultant” – is part of a series teaching women in Brooklyn “what’s new in the 21st century as it relates to business etiquette and social protocol.” More details are also available on Golden’s Senate website, including the fact that women in attendance will be taught to, “Sit, stand and walk like a model,” how to, “Walk up and down a stair elegantly” and “Differences in American and Continental rules governing handshakes and introductions.”
The event is being held in Bay Ridge Manor, the catering hall formerly owned by Golden, which is now owned by Golden’s brother and run by his wife.
A spokesman for Golden said the goal of the event was simply to help young women land jobs.
“In these economic times, when so many people are out of work, and graduating with advanced degrees to set themselves apart in the workplace, events such as these are also important,” said the spokesman, John Quaglione. ” Senator Golden hosts a multitude of events annually, and this is our first event of this kind, and we hope it to be successful and benefit those who attend.”
I reached out to Jill Filipovic, who writes for the blog Feministe, an influential feminist website. She said that lawmakers such as Golden should instead focus on passing equal pay legislation and combating rising child care costs.
“The actual issues women face aren’t addressed by special classes on ‘the art of feminine presence’ and how to ‘walk up and down a stair elegantly,’” Filipovic said via email. “Our political leaders should be focusing on necessary policy changes to make sure that all women are paid fairly and are able to succeed professionally, regardless of their ability to walk with a book on their head. A 1950s-style etiquette class focusing on feminine charms rather than actual business acumen is insulting, regressive and wasteful.”
Democratic State Sen. Liz Krueger, whose conference is looking to take by the Senate majority from Golden’s this fall, also said she found the event to be offensive.
“Rather than passing legislation such as the Fair Pay Act to assist women in the workplace, the Senate Republicans appear to be offering career advice on posture and how to act feminine,” said Krueger, who hosted the Senate Democrats’ forum on issues affecting women in the workplace in May. “Perhaps this would be appropriate on Mad Men, but not in New York in the 21st century.”
UPDATE: Golden has now removed references to the event teaching how to “Sit, Stand and Walk Like a Model” and how to “Walk up and down a stair elegantly” from his Senate website.
UPDATE X2: The event has now been canceled.
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