How much does appearance matter?

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PKSebben
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby PKSebben » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:53 pm

rynabrius wrote:It is amazing how consistently bad The Ethicist's advice is.


Yeah, Randy Cohen sucks but at least he came out right on the e-book/hardcover question.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/magaz ... .html?_r=1

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Aeroplane
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Aeroplane » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:55 pm

rynabrius wrote:It is amazing how consistently bad The Ethicist's advice is.

:lol: Don't get me started on that... I don't have time for a 5000 word meticulously footnoted rant.

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Duralex
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Duralex » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:02 pm

Pretty lazy of Cohen not to see the obvious inversion. In the letter, the woman buying the property wants to force the observant man to let her touch him to consummate the deal. Reverse the genders (religious female agent, Gentile male buyer insisting on touching her) and the advice might have been different.

Cohen, by the way, is from a (Reform) Jewish background. One wonders if personal frustration with Orthodox customs (which I, of the same denomination, share) figures into his advice.

d34d9823
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby d34d9823 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:21 pm

TBF, I would be offended if someone refused my hand based on ancient superstitions. Not trying to offend anyone, but that's how I see it.

awesomepossum
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby awesomepossum » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:28 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:TBF, I would be offended if someone refused my hand based on ancient superstitions. Not trying to offend anyone, but that's how I see it.




WOW

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20160810
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby 20160810 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:29 pm

I have a religious background which prevents me from washing my hands after I use the restroom, ergo I'm pretty understanding when people refuse to shake.

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Veyron
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Veyron » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:35 pm

ITT: Pointless speculation. Coming from BLS, op is not going to get a job UNLESS it is because she can play some niche roll (or is top 5% or something - in which case she could probably torture puppies and still get a job).

P.S. I used to work with a ton of chicks that wore abayas. I was never offended, it just induced some awkwardness. I eventually got used to a smile, a slight bow, and a nice to meet you. This is still America after all. However, the liberals in NYC may get all offended over your perceived distain for women (even though you are one) so who knows (I was working in a city/state generally more respectful of extreme religiosity of all stripes). Good luck.

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Bangalmafia
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Bangalmafia » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:10 pm

TBF, I would be offended if someone refused my hand based on ancient superstitions. Not trying to offend anyone, but that's how I see it.


It isn't so simple as "ancient supersition"... The idea of the refusal to shake hands is meant as a way to set a standard for how non-married sexes interact in public/private areas. From a different lens it isn't much different from someone refusing to peck a friend on the cheek each time you met him.

It's somewhat frustrating... because I'll be honest I don't see what's the big deal is if I shake your hand or not. I can smile at you, work cooperatively with you, etc... but because someone doesn't follow a few social norms that really serve as anything more than decoration you'd be offended?

I don't think you realize just how harmful this attitude really is. It's not even just about isolating people of different cultures (which is bad enough).... But you're really liable to isolate a lot of people in general who just have different views/experiences/outlooks.

(*shrug* an unnecessary appeal perhaps.... )

d34d9823
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:43 pm

Bangalmafia wrote:It isn't so simple as "ancient supersition"... The idea of the refusal to shake hands is meant as a way to set a standard for how non-married sexes interact in public/private areas. From a different lens it isn't much different from someone refusing to peck a friend on the cheek each time you met him.

It's somewhat frustrating... because I'll be honest I don't see what's the big deal is if I shake your hand or not. I can smile at you, work cooperatively with you, etc... but because someone doesn't follow a few social norms that really serve as anything more than decoration you'd be offended?

I don't think you realize just how harmful this attitude really is. It's not even just about isolating people of different cultures (which is bad enough).... But you're really liable to isolate a lot of people in general who just have different views/experiences/outlooks.

(*shrug* an unnecessary appeal perhaps.... )

Well, I'm not trying to pick on religion in particular. People absolutely have the right to flout whatever social norms they wish based on whatever nebulous reasons they choose. That said, they shouldn't expect to avoid offending people by violating those norms. It bothers me that people expect a free pass for religious reasons when it wouldn't be given for other, equally inexplicable reasons.

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Aeroplane
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Aeroplane » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:59 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
Bangalmafia wrote:It isn't so simple as "ancient supersition"... The idea of the refusal to shake hands is meant as a way to set a standard for how non-married sexes interact in public/private areas. From a different lens it isn't much different from someone refusing to peck a friend on the cheek each time you met him.

It's somewhat frustrating... because I'll be honest I don't see what's the big deal is if I shake your hand or not. I can smile at you, work cooperatively with you, etc... but because someone doesn't follow a few social norms that really serve as anything more than decoration you'd be offended?

I don't think you realize just how harmful this attitude really is. It's not even just about isolating people of different cultures (which is bad enough).... But you're really liable to isolate a lot of people in general who just have different views/experiences/outlooks.

(*shrug* an unnecessary appeal perhaps.... )

Well, I'm not trying to pick on religion in particular. People absolutely have the right to flout whatever social norms they wish based on whatever nebulous reasons they choose. That said, they shouldn't expect to avoid offending people by violating those norms. It bothers me that people expect a free pass for religious reasons when it wouldn't be given for other, equally inexplicable reasons.
I think it's fair to say that the bolded IS a social norm in most of the US and that, as a matter of probability, the "free pass for religious reasons" should be expected in most cases, even where offense would be taken otherwise.

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jks289
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby jks289 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:03 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
Bangalmafia wrote:It isn't so simple as "ancient supersition"... The idea of the refusal to shake hands is meant as a way to set a standard for how non-married sexes interact in public/private areas. From a different lens it isn't much different from someone refusing to peck a friend on the cheek each time you met him.

It's somewhat frustrating... because I'll be honest I don't see what's the big deal is if I shake your hand or not. I can smile at you, work cooperatively with you, etc... but because someone doesn't follow a few social norms that really serve as anything more than decoration you'd be offended?

I don't think you realize just how harmful this attitude really is. It's not even just about isolating people of different cultures (which is bad enough).... But you're really liable to isolate a lot of people in general who just have different views/experiences/outlooks.

(*shrug* an unnecessary appeal perhaps.... )

Well, I'm not trying to pick on religion in particular. People absolutely have the right to flout whatever social norms they wish based on whatever nebulous reasons they choose. That said, they shouldn't expect to avoid offending people by violating those norms. It bothers me that people expect a free pass for religious reasons when it wouldn't be given for other, equally inexplicable reasons.


Read Liberty of Conscience by Martha Nussbaum. She makes a undeniable case for accommodation of religious belief and freedom in particular as being the cornerstone of our Constitution and society.

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Bangalmafia
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Bangalmafia » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:10 pm

Well, I'm not trying to pick on religion in particular. People absolutely have the right to flout whatever social norms they wish based on whatever nebulous reasons they choose. That said, they shouldn't expect to avoid offending people by violating those norms. It bothers me that people expect a free pass for religious reasons when it wouldn't be given for other, equally inexplicable reasons.


I'd agree with you if the social norm served some necessary function... then the religious person should just expect to take on the consequences of going against the grain. But I think particularly amongst certain communities, people "create" social punishments" for harmless issues like these, to get people to change their outside views (on something like religion in general for example).

In and of itself, I may not be convinced that "XXX" social norm serves any function and you may not be convinced that "XXX" social norm serves any function. But I (because I like how things are) am going to isolate you/not hire you/whatever because you don't.

That's the situation that somewhat surprises me....
Last edited by Bangalmafia on Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:16 pm

Bangalmafia wrote:I'd agree with you if the social norm served some necessary function... then the religious person should just expect to take on the consequences of going against the grain. But I think particularly amongst certain communities, people "create" social punishments" for harmless issues like these, to get people to change their views.

In and of itself, I may not be convinced that "XXX" social norm serves any function and you may not be convinced that "XXX" social norm serves any function. But I (because I like how things are) am going to isolate you/not hire you/whatever because you don't.

That's the situation that somewhat surprises me....


Decorum is important. It doesn't matter why it is important or whether it is justified, it just is.

Not shaking hands is a sort of rejection, no matter the reason. Because it is a first impression, it is going to harm someone, not because the interviewer is closed-minded, but rather because it is rare to against this norm and the interviewer may not be that familiar with it. It's this instinctual response that will hurt someone who refuses to shake hands and it is a bias that the interviewer may not be able to consciously overcome. They are not trying to isolate the applicant, it is merely a byproduct of the situation, not any sort of conscious discrimination.

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Bangalmafia
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Bangalmafia » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:32 pm

Not shaking hands is a sort of rejection, no matter the reason.


Yes according to how people see things now. But there's nothing inherently "rejecting" about it.... Perhaps the person just "accepts" the person with or without the gesture.

not because the interviewer is closed-minded, but rather because it is rare to against this norm and the interviewer may not be that familiar with it.


I guess I'd like to see us get to a point where we as people just "expect" others to be different, to express themselves differently, and to practice different social norms.

------------------------

I'm afraid this convo will get too focused on the handshake though. This isn't just about shaking hands.... this could be about any little personality quirk or affectation that throws us off guard.

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romothesavior
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:35 pm

Let me see if we can break this thing down...

First of all, she isn't sure she wants to practice law:

I am very, very unsure about what I'd like to do after law school--at times I've even thought about working a few years and then opening a bakery.


Second, she is looking to get an American JD to practice in the Middle East:

I dont want to live in saudi---I want to go to either doha or one of the emirates.


Third, she doesn't want to shake hands with people (the standard professional and personal greeting the Western world) in a profession that has a great of interpersonal contact.

Fourth, she has no plans to alter or sacrifice her religious practices for her career.

Fifth and most importantly, she is going to BLS.

_______

Conclusion: Don't go to law school.

09042014
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:47 pm

romothesavior wrote:she is going to BLS.

_______

Conclusion: Don't go to law school.


QFT

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:48 pm

Bangalmafia wrote:Yes according to how people see things now. But there's nothing inherently "rejecting" about it.... Perhaps the person just "accepts" the person with or without the gesture.


I disagree here. The interviewer is implying the command "Shake my hand." when he or she proffers his or her hand. By not shaking, this is tantamount to saying "No." to that command. I don't see how you cannot see this as a rejection, however soft. It is not a rejection of the person, it is a rejection of the command, but it will often implicitly feel like a rejection of the person. I am not saying that the intention is to reject the interviewer, I am saying that is how the interviewer is likely to feel.

Bangalmafia wrote:I guess I'd like to see us get to a point where we as people just "expect" others to be different, to express themselves differently, and to practice different social norms.

------------------------

I'm afraid this convo will get too focused on the handshake though. This isn't just about shaking hands.... this could be about any little personality quirk or affectation that throws us off guard.


It very well could be about any of those things. It would be nice if this were the case but it isn't. This person wants to work in law and the culture of firms in the U.S. is how it is. Go against the flow at your own peril. Either you accept the norms of the environment you are trying to enter or you don't and then accept the consequences of going against them.

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goosey
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby goosey » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:22 pm

romothesavior wrote:Let me see if we can break this thing down...

First of all, she isn't sure she wants to practice law:

I am very, very unsure about what I'd like to do after law school--at times I've even thought about working a few years and then opening a bakery.


Second, she is looking to get an American JD to practice in the Middle East:

I dont want to live in saudi---I want to go to either doha or one of the emirates.


Third, she doesn't want to shake hands with people (the standard professional and personal greeting the Western world) in a profession that has a great of interpersonal contact.

Fourth, she has no plans to alter or sacrifice her religious practices for her career.



I think there is a lack of understanding of what I said: I *do* want to practice the law, I am just unsure of what area, as are many 0Ls. I mentioned the bakery thing not because I dont want to practice law, but to express that there is a lot I'd like to do, one of those things being opening a bakery at some point.

Secondly, I do want to practice in the US, but in light of certain facts that may very well make this impossible (shaking hands, choice of dress, etc) I would love to live in the Middle East and practice there as this would fit pretty well with the kind of life Id like. Also, my fiance and I have longterm plans to move overseas, so in deciding what I'd like to do, that is always somewhere in the back of my mind.

I havent been individually responding to all posts, but thanks to everyone for their input. I got really good ideas on how to make the lack of handshaking less awkward. Its also nice to hear about other women that have managed to have a career without compromising their principles.


This may seem odd to some, but honestly, if I was told that if I want to be a lawyer I have to bend my values, I would rather not be a lawyer. Which also makes the decision to go to BLS more justified--I'm not spending anything on my law education, so if I cant get a job paying 160k, no biggie. I want to practice, I love the idea of being a lawyer, but its not my be all end all. Secondly, I think that going into a profession that is pretty much based on holding up principles and values and then sacrificing your own in order to get there is a bit hypocritical.

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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby jdhonest » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:33 pm

goosey wrote: Secondly, I think that going into a profession that is pretty much based on holding up principles and values and then sacrificing your own in order to get there is a bit hypocritical.


If this is your impression of practicing law, you should speak with more lawyers and do more research before wasting time and money in law school. I'm by no means a cynic, but what you describe is NOT the basis of the legal profession.

09042014
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:39 pm

You should just open the bakery now.

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bwv812
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bwv812 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:01 pm

.

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romothesavior
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:04 pm

bwv812 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:You should just open the bakery now.

Bakers probably don't make enough in the arab world to be able to afford personal servants (not that that they get paid much, and abuse of such [foreign] servants is rampant), which is "the kind of life" OP would like.


Where are you getting this from?

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Bosque
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Bosque » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:05 pm

romothesavior wrote:
bwv812 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:You should just open the bakery now.

Bakers probably don't make enough in the arab world to be able to afford personal servants (not that that they get paid much, and abuse of such [foreign] servants is rampant), which is "the kind of life" OP would like.


Where are you getting this from?


Page 5 or so (somewhere around there), where she talks about getting washing machines replaced and the prevalence of live in nannies in the Arabic world.

Found it:

goosey wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:For what its worth, the idea that a smart and ambitious young person would need to move across the world to find more acceptance and career opportunities depresses me. I think you might have mentioned that you'd personally be happier there, though, so I guess its not that big of a deal.

HOWEVER, have you ever spent a significant amount of time in the middle east? Seems like a big jump to say, I'm going to an American law school with as risky career footing as BLS (that usually centers completely in New York City), but would be happier practicing/living in the Middle East even though I've only started learning Arabic and Islamic law. Makes me (perhaps totally unfairly) think that career path hasn't been completely thought out and perhaps borders on a little idealistic.

If you're this wary about working in the US and adapting to things such as handshakes, have you thought about postponing law school for a year and maybe try to get a masters or at least live abroad to get a sense of where you'd be happiest? I mean, this is your life we're talking about.


I am very, very unsure about what I'd like to do after law school--at times I've even thought about working a few years and then opening a bakery. I would have loved to go into academia but coming from bls, that is not at all possible. I've thought about working for women's rights in the middle east, studying islamic finance in detail and doing something along those lines---I am all over the place. If I stay here, Ive also considered Trusts & Estates, which I will have to do more research on.

I am pretty comfortable living there. My brother lives in Dubai and I have spent a very good amount of time there as well as in Pakistan (which, though not technically the Middle East, is a Muslim country nonetheless)--I actually prefer life there overall because it makes live-in maids/nannies a much bigger possibility. I want a family *and* a career--I know women do that all the time in the states, but I'd like to have a live in nanny and maid to make it a bit easier (laugh if u must). My fiance also wants to move overseas because the salary and benefits for American educated professionals is amazing (90k tax free starting, plus stipends for car/driver/villa is pretty standard). My uncle lived/worked in Saudi Arabia for nearly a decade---the company paid for everything from their children's schooling (private schools in America) to their car. When their dishwasher broke, they would make a phone call and instead of a repair man, and entire new dishwasher would be brought in. Its a pretty good deal. Plus, I am more comfortable with the culture and stuff. Certain things annoy the hell out of me over there, but there will be issues any where I live.
Last edited by Bosque on Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bosque
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Bosque » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:08 pm

goosey wrote:This may seem odd to some, but honestly, if I was told that if I want to be a lawyer I have to bend my values, I would rather not be a lawyer. Which also makes the decision to go to BLS more justified--I'm not spending anything on my law education, so if I cant get a job paying 160k, no biggie. I want to practice, I love the idea of being a lawyer, but its not my be all end all. Secondly, I think that going into a profession that is pretty much based on holding up principles and values and then sacrificing your own in order to get there is a bit hypocritical.


But you are still losing 3 years of your life. Even if it is costing you nothing upfront, you are losing the opportunities you could have been exploring in the mean time. I really would think long and hard about this.

09042014
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:09 pm

Well she ain't getting that lifestyle in the USA from BLS. Are women even allowed to practice in teh Middle East. I know in Saudi Arabia they are not.




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