Merrill Lynch Advises Female Employees To “Seduce” The Boys’ Club

I’m continually shocked by the amount of totally egregious sexist/racist/classist bullshit that people and companies are trying to pull. I understand that this is a tale as old as time, but it’s like come the fuck on already. Case in point, the baby geniuses at Merrill Lynch who felt it necessary to offer up a “Boys Club Seduction Guide” to new female hires. A new lawsuit accuses the financial firm of handing out copies of Seducing the Boys Club: Uncemsored Tactics From a Woman at the Top and requiring female employees to attend a seminar with the author.

Boys Club author Nina DiSesa (above) has a rather incendiary approach when it comes to women getting ahead — one that would probably make Sheryl Sandberg blush. On the topic of collaborating with male colleagues, DiSesa writes:

It was also important to reinforce his hunk status, assuring him that the small bald spot at the top of his head was hardly noticeable and that he hadn’t “lost it” when a woman would break up with him or refuse to date him (a rare event). He needed to know that he had my love unconditionally; it was the only way he could ever trust me with his fragile ego.

Want more?

How about her advice on (basically) how to get your stupid male coworkers to do your job for you:

I play on their masculine pride and natural instincts to protect the weaker sex.

“I can’t figure this out, and I’m exhausted,” I will say to one of the men at the office. “And if it’s not done by tomorrow, I’m dead.”

“I’ll do it,” he’ll invariably say. But his rescue mission won’t be truly satisfying to him unless I show my appreciation for the sacrifice he is making on my behalf. This is as crucial as saying thank you.

“No, no, you’re swamped, too,” I’ll say.

“I’ll make the time for it.”

“Thank you. I love you.”

“I know. You’re welcome.”

It’s like great sex. Everyone walks away feeling fulfilled.

And finally, DiSesa on negotiating:

If you know you are going to have a contentious meeting with a man, you can defuse his anger before he even opens his mouth. Unless he is morbidly obese, there is no man on earth who won’t puff up at this sentence: Wow, you look great. Been working out?

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. DiSesa reduces both men and women down to ridiculously idiotic stereotypes, which is offensive to everyone. She assumes that women have to ply men by acting weak, or flirting, or making them feel attractive. And she also assumes that men are really that dumb. Three female employees, Julia Kuo, Catherine Wharton and Sara Hunter Hudson, say they were fired from the firm because of Merrill Lynch’s “Old Boys’s Network” philosophy. They contend that in addition to being forced to attend seminars with DiSesa, they were also goaded into attending bizarre women-only events at the firm — sessions on “dressing for success” or “preparing healthy meals while working full time.” Did I wake up in 1957 or something?

The womens’ suit was tossed out of federal court in January, but they’ve just refiled in state court, and are suing for an unspecified sum.

[New York Magazine]
[New York Post]