to think that DD1 should be allowed to read whatever book she likes while on her break at work?

(187 Posts)
wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 19:47:58

DD1 (21) has just told me she was asked into the office at work today as a complaint had been made against her.

She initially assumed that it had been to do with her work but learned that two women had actually complained that they were offended by the book she had been seen reading while on her lunch break.

The book was 'Porno' by Irvine Welsh - I have not read the book myself therefore cannot judge whether it is offensive or not.

DD said that she was really into the book at the moment and offered to put a cover over the book so that no one could see what she was reading.

She was told no and must show more sensitivity to the womens' religion and must not bring the book into work again.

She is a little shaken up by this incident as nothing like this has ever happened to anyone else and people actually read The Sun and The Mail during their breaks with no problem.

I have told her that she should be allowed to read whatever she wants on her unpaid break but AIBU?

Haggischucker Sat 22-Feb-14 20:36:26

I can't read Irvine welsh, far too vivid and shocking for me but husband likes his books. If I didn't know of him and saw someone reading a book called porno with the cover I would raise concerns with manager and this is why kindles are great! People are free to do whatever they want but in a public/ work place you need to consider effect on others, religion or not. I remember when I read shades of grey on kindle, was sooo glad it was secret, partly because of the lady porn aspect but mainly as I was so embarrassed to be reading such pap!! ;)

From my experience of hr the offer of a plain book jacket is sufficient. I'd def second a kindle. Far easier.

The religion aspect is a smoke screen. Anyone can be insulted at work by something they see on a screen. (Including instant msging say in a gossipy fashion) Discipline can result from this but this is entirely dependant on the IT policy, which must be clear and freely available. I would expect no more than a friendly non recorded chat not more as a first thing.

An apology should be the end of it. It should never be re brought up. Tbh I would have angled the conversation around is it professional to have this in a professional office rather than "religion". An office is starkly sterile. I'd say it isn't professional because it leads others to suppose your attitudes, stereotype you and limit you. Yes that's about them not you but this is an office. Image I'm afraid is key. (A bland image.....I didn't fit in that well)

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 22-Feb-14 19:59:31

Limited - Indeed we don't what was said or if religion was directly stated or not.

Some thoughts:

Contrary to popular myth, many Muslims feel extremely uncomfortable about bringing up their religion for fear of being seen as one "Those Muslims". We know lots of people don't like Islam and/or Muslims and don't want to give them the opportunity for further grievances. The pressure to "walk small" is real.

On the other hand, as has already been stated, many people would find the cover of Porno inappropriate for the workplace for numerous reasons.

I am wondering if the boss in question would have ignored objections on taste/sexism grounds and it's only when/if religious reasons enter the picture that the objections are taken seriously. Far too often people objecting to sexualized images are waved away and accused of being prudish or "humourless feminists".

Jean - All those things do indeed appear in Marabou Stork Nightmares.

limitedperiodonly Sat 22-Feb-14 17:58:37

I wonder whether the line manager accurately conveyed the complaint or used the catch-all 'they're muslims' to shut down all argument and debate and so has contributed to another festering sore.

Or is it true at all?

I still think the women should have raised it with OP's daughter first.

I hate the cover of Porno too but I've never complained about it. I find images of sex dolls annoying to enraging, depending on my mood. But I'm prepared to see the argument for using the image.

Now I've heard that the book is poor I think it, plus the title and the plot, is a cynical marketing exercise. That would spark an earnest debate with the reader about all the issues which may have left her wishing she'd stuck to an iPod. Because that's the kind of person I am grin

Incidentally, copies of Nuts, Zoo, Front etc left on my shared desk which were images of women offering their arses and casting moronic open-gobbed glances over their shoulders, used to annoy me too.

Images of women who look like they're going to enjoy sex don't upset me at all. But maybe they upset inadequate men.

I'm sure it wasn't to provoke me. Perhaps my job-share partner thought I might like a read or a wank because girl-on-girl action is quite a big feature in those magazines, but only featuring big-titty, spready-cheeky vacantly pretty girls who are just marking time until they can have a big cock up them.

Or maybe he thought I liked tidying up. I am a woman, after all, and I did always put them in the recycling bin.

OwlCapone Sat 22-Feb-14 16:20:27

No one is being "bullied"

LaGuardia Sat 22-Feb-14 14:46:24

The Muslim lady I work with has told me that she would not be offended in the least by someone reading that book in her company. But then, she is never one to use the religion card to bully a younger member of staff.

AngelaDaviesHair Sat 22-Feb-14 14:34:19

GoshAnne, it's a fascinating insight into the Loyalist mindset. I recommend it.

JeanSeberg Sat 22-Feb-14 12:52:58

I've not read that one but let me take a wild stab in the dark that it contains a council estate, paedophilia, fucked up parents, drugs, sexual violence, someone trying to better himself that gets sucked back in etc etc....

Like I said, one story in him.

ComposHat Sat 22-Feb-14 12:48:19

Jean I agree but that one book was the maribou stalk nightmares not trainspotting.

tobiasfunke Sat 22-Feb-14 11:06:59

JeanSeberg speaks the truth.

Overly sexualised images such as the one on the front of porno are not apprpriate in the workplace whether you are shocked by them or not. The manager should've said it was fine to cover it up but then maybe it's just easier to tell her to bring in a different book- there are millions of them.

I used to work in a pub when I was a student where the pyschotic assistant manager used to have a subscription to 'True Crime ' magazine and used to show us pictures of the gory crime scenes. I often wonder if he ever ended up in jail.

JeanSeberg Sat 22-Feb-14 10:46:19

Irvine Welsh - basically only had one good story in him. Everything else is just about his overwhelming desire to shock.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 22-Feb-14 10:25:41

I'm Muslim, I've read Porno, it's crap.

As for the tedious comments on here suggesting books that would really "upset" Muslims (how pleasant), I cannot speak for all of Muslimdom, but my only concern if I saw a co-worker reading such a book, is that they would want to have some sort of discussion at me afterwards, little realising that I have no interests in their thoughts on religion whatsoever.


AngelaDaviesHair - Now that does sound an interesting book, was it any good?

ShadowOfTheDay Sat 22-Feb-14 10:13:18

I think you can read what you like and do what you like in YOUR lunch-break so long as it is not on MY property... your (employee) free time, my (employer) premises - which wins.....?

ProfessorSkullyMental Sat 22-Feb-14 10:08:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think that people should be able to read the KKK Manual and/or THe Best of the Marquis De Sade in their lunchbreaks as long as they do so on a Kindle or with a cover. Employers do not own staff and have no right to police their choice of reading material.

And I agree that your DD should email HR as suggested by CerealMom. THe manager sounds like an officious twat who's happy to use some people's idiot superstitions as an excuse to bully other staff - either that or a wuss who's terrified of 'offending' anyone.

CerealMom Sat 22-Feb-14 09:34:14

Raise a grievance

* Email to HR/line manager clarifying it wasn't pornography.
* Ask HR/line manager to state what is company policy.
* Blank cover on book is a perfectly reasonable compromise.

There will be some blah statement in her contract about behaviour bringing the company into disrepute. I don't think this would be applicable.

Someone raised a complaint (about a book, that although to some may have a tasteless title and front cover), which is not a graphic (pictures) novel.

You wouldn't want this going unchallenged on your work record. Everything on email/writing.

Outrageous, unwarrented censorship.

Martorana Sat 22-Feb-14 09:31:04

The person who screwed up here is the manager. Yes, I reckon that anyone has the right to eat their lunch without a picture of a sex doll in front of them. And they also have a perfect right to go directly to the manager of something upsets them rather than talking to the person concerned if they don't want to. And yes, anyone has a right to rad anything they want in their lunch break. These two rights could easily co exist with the judicious use of some brown paper.

daisychain01 Sat 22-Feb-14 09:04:20

I'd enlarge the front cover to A3 size on the colour photocopier and stick it on the notice board. Then they would have something to be offended about.

Unbelievable what people do to shit stir make trouble for colleagues at work. And use religion to validate.

Glad I work in an office with reasonably sensible people!

nooka Sat 22-Feb-14 08:41:16

I love to read, but I really really would not take a book with a cover like that to work and read it somewhere where the cover was on full view to people who might find it offensive. I'm not particularly prudish (and I enjoyed Trainspotting) but I find that cover disturbing, in the same way that I find sex dolls disturbing. I'd not expect to see one at work for example.

I don't think it was particularly wrong for the women who did find the cover offensive to ask their manager to say something, they might have been worried about confrontation and thought the manager would be able to sort the issue out without making a big deal about it, or they might have thought the dd wouldn't react very well. Who knows.

I think the manager handled it badly, it would have been easy enough just to tell the dd to be a bit more discrete, or not to read the book at work (not a really particularly big deal surely?). It didn't need to be managed as a complaint, and it was unhelpful to tell her who had complained and why, a simple that book is not terribly appropriate I don't want to see the cover again would have done the job.

The content of the book in this case is fairly irrelevant.

OwlCapone Sat 22-Feb-14 08:12:30

Stephen Fry is, on some occasions, a twat. The world would be a shittier place if we all went about saying "fuck you" to people and not trying to get along. Is it whining to complain about page 3? Is it whining to complain about the men's magazine covers?

The DD has done nothing wrong, the offer of a cover should have been perfectly acceptable and it would have been nice if the women had spoken to her rather than the managers. Perhaps they were worried she has the same opinion and manners as Stephen Fry.

50ShadesofGreyMatter Fri 21-Feb-14 23:40:43

As Stephen Fry said:
“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

Exactly that ^^. These people are choosing to be offended by this. Your dd has done nothing wrong.

HavantGuard Fri 21-Feb-14 12:29:56

Get her a copy of The God Delusion.

ComposHat Fri 21-Feb-14 12:24:26

Hope you enjoy it scone. I will feel rotten if you don't!

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 21-Feb-14 12:14:43

Compos No, I have not read Swing Hammer Swing, but just bought it for my kindle. Thanks for the recommendation.

Littleen Fri 21-Feb-14 11:47:38

Pff, what nonsense! She should be able to read whatever she wants! If someone feels it's offensive to their religion, she could say she feels offended by the bible/koran/whatnot and that any praying makes her very umcomfortable.

Her employers need to get a grip!

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