According to Rush Limbaugh, there are 35 undeniable truths in life. Mr. Limbaugh discussed Bitter Lawyer on his radio program last Friday (see Story #5) for making a case in support of number 24 on that list. With regard to “The Real Story On Fake Boobs,” our article posted last Thursday addressing the impact breast implants might have on a female lawyer’s career, Mr. Limbaugh said the piece will “set feminism back 50 years.”
We had no idea we had that kind of power. In fact, we’re a little surprised that merely asking if implants could help a female lawyer’s career would reverse the feminism movement five decades. Mr. Limbaugh, however, seems to believe that by investigating the cosmetic surgery choices of women working in BigLaw, Bitter Lawyer somehow succeeded in proving Undeniable Truth No. 24: “Feminism was established as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”
It seems that he is suggesting that female lawyers are no longer getting what they need from the likes of Betty Friedan and are instead turning to silicone in their fight for gender equality.
On his show, Mr. Limbaugh said:
This is a five-page story at BitterLawyer.com. If you’re a woman, you want to be a successful attorney you better go get a boob job before you finish school ‘cause in this tight job market it might be the ticket to a job at a law firm. It will enhance your self-esteem, confidence in and out of the bedroom, in the boardroom.
That’s one conclusion from reading “The Real Story on Fake Boobs.” University of Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse simply linked to Bitter Lawyer with the text: “Breast implants. The career move.” None of Althouse’s comments (61 and counting) seemed to indicate Bitter Lawyer had undone a half-century of feminism—although one commenter, who accused us of “silly armchair psychologizing [sic],” suggested that most women with discretionary income likely consider implants.
Following that logic, perhaps Corporette.com, a “fashion and lifestyle blog for overachieving chicks,” might consider adding “boob job” to a post on things women can do with their tax refunds. Instead, the blog wrote: “Will fake breasts help you get a job in Big Law? Probably—but probably not the one you want.”
Curse those silly overachieving chicks and their nuanced answers. We were expecting charges of misogyny followed by a strongly worded letter from a gang of the most ugly feminists the movement could muster. Curiously, none of those charges came from any woman who responded to the story. And if Bitter Lawyer is due a letter from angry feminists, it must be lost in email cyberspace. In fact, no women were as alarmed by our article as Mr. Limbaugh was gleeful.
One female lawyer commented on Bitter Lawyer that her decision to have other kinds of cosmetic surgery, “immediately [gave her] more self-esteem and confidence, and that translated to every aspect of [her] life.”
Another female lawyer chastised the men on the site for using the article as a launching pad into the timeless debate of real vs. fake—a topic we didn’t even approach.
But those comments speak volumes about the larger point: In the end, we are simply talking about boobs. Just boobs!
Yes, boobs matter. But they aren’t magic. They can’t make an unattractive women pretty, as Mr. Limbaugh implies, nor are they the soft underbelly of the feminist argument or a guaranteed ticket to success.
Silicone, like so much else in life, is in the eye of the beholder. And it’s hard to see why a woman exploiting her femininity—or society’s preoccupation with boobs—to game the system would in any way rollback the feminist argument.
If women working at major law firms use their often unseen implants to boost their confidence and, as a result, gain access to the male-dominated halls of power (or, even crazier, make partner), that is a good thing for those interested in gender equality, right? But that is provided they’re afforded the opportunity to demonstrate merit. Sometimes that opportunity is there, and sometimes it is not.
Any firm that promotes a woman based solely on her looks won’t last long, not because such a firm will be sued into oblivion by the unattractive feminists of Mr. Limbaugh’s nightmares, but for a more simple reason: That firm will face a genuine shortage of qualified male and female lawyers.
And that is an undeniable truth.