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?

capsium Wed 19-Feb-14 19:49:21

If I was her I'd start going out for lunch...

JohnnyUtah Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:57

She shouldn't be allowed to read things in public that the manager thinks are inappropriate or offensive. But the offer of adding a plain cover should have sufficed, I think.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:14

Nope, YANBU unless she is in a customer facing role and was reading in view of customers.

StrawberryCheese Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:20

Yanbu. It's her time to do/read whatever she likes. I'm assuming she's not reading out loud so don't understand why anyone could be offended.

On her unpaid lunch break she should be able to read whatever she likes

gordyslovesheep Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:31

ah some one complained, she was informed, end of - no one died - she will be fine

I have one member of staff who complains constantly about my every move - it gets quiet amusing after a while grin

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:43

We had a colleague complain about us even talking about the Da Vinci Code as it attacked her faith. The amusing thing was we were talking about how rubbish it was! Some people are just weird.

scarffiend Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:58

They probably assumed it was an actual porno. Which would be inappropriate.

Jolleigh Wed 19-Feb-14 19:52:07

Paid break or not, she can't expect it to be ok to display the word 'porno' in any way in the workplace. (She has good taste in authors at least!)

That said, if she chucks a cover on the book next time, who precisely is going to come and check what she's reading?

Oubliette0292 Wed 19-Feb-14 19:52:10

YANBU
You could solve the problem by getting her a kindle so no one can tell what she is reading.

joanofarchitrave Wed 19-Feb-14 19:52:20

I am horrified by this but Dr Google tells me that the circulation of offensive material at work can be considered misconduct. I suppose if your DD were relaxing with 'Ku Klux Klan News' or 'Penthouse' I would support something being done about that.

In her case I would get a new job as fast as possible get a Kindle.

theimposter Wed 19-Feb-14 19:53:00

From what I remember it's not too bad a book but the cover is quite loud on my copy with a sex doll face and bright colours. It depends where she works as to whether putting a cover over it would be polite if she is public facing but they ABU to tell her she can't read what she wants if she offered to cover it!

Luciferbox Wed 19-Feb-14 19:53:11

I agree, she should be able to read whatever she wants in her break. I'd look to invest in a kindle so they won't know what's she's reading in the future.

capsium Wed 19-Feb-14 19:53:28

She could have some fun thinking of a suitable cover!!! grin

BigOrange Wed 19-Feb-14 19:53:44

I know we hate The Fail and all but I'm not sure it falls under the same bracket as an offensive title... What was said about the women's religion sorry?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 19-Feb-14 19:54:13

Is it the versi and with the blow up doll on the cover? I'd just put a different cover over the it, they'll never know.

She should get a kindle, then she can read actual porn the in break room and her pearl clutching colleagues wont have a clue.

innisglas Wed 19-Feb-14 19:56:30

Unbelievable! I would look for another job and ignore the order. I'm all for sensible rules, but that is nothing to do with the work, and the management shouldn't be catering to the most unreasonable wishes of its staff.

MissSingerbrains Wed 19-Feb-14 19:58:03

So these women are not offended by people reading The Sun with its Page 3 and sensationalist headlines?

YANBU

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 19:58:43

The women are muslim and DD was horrified that she had inadvertently offended them.

But surely the cover and content of newspapers such as the Sun and Daily Mail would cause offence enough to be banned from the workplace also?

Maybe DD could start complaining about what colleagues are reading during their break time!

HadABadDay2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 19:58:47

Is it a paid break.

When I was forced to work 1/2 hour longer that 1/2 hour became my break. I am not paid for it so I can do what ever I choose to do.

If she is paid for her breaks then the company can say what she can't do

capsium Wed 19-Feb-14 19:59:11
gordyslovesheep Wed 19-Feb-14 20:01:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

IHaveSeenMyHat Wed 19-Feb-14 20:03:23

From the thread title alone: OF FUCKING COURSE.

I think it's outrageous that these women are (inadvertently or not) playing the religion card here. They have no right to be offended by the title of a novel.

Your DD should make a point of shielding the covers of her books in future. Or start reading The Satanic Verses next grin

Floggingmolly Wed 19-Feb-14 20:06:36

Why would it be offensive to muslims in particular?

CromeYellow Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:09

The only thing she's being unresonable about is being 'horrified' that she 'offended' them. She's the one who should be offended. They have no right to be offended, the world doesn't revolve around their religious beliefs. If they don't want to see anything that 'offends' their religious sensibilities, there are plenty of countries which ban everything in the name of religion, they're free to choose one.

Your daughter should make a complaint about being expected to restrict her behaviour according to another's religion. That's religious harassment.

TrueToYou Wed 19-Feb-14 20:19:52

What a load of bollocks.
This would make me SO angry and possibly a little petty and mischievous
Perhaps the manager felt cornered by the religion card and felt he/she needed to be seen to be acting? Though the rejection of her reasonable suggestion to cover the book means perhaps he/she is on the side of the complainants?

Love the idea of the recommendations for reading material further upthread (but would stop short at paying money for those rags, I'm sure you can find a nice neighbour or colleague who "reads" that shite)

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."

BeetlebumShesAGun Wed 19-Feb-14 20:23:51

I'm with CromaYellow. If religious people are going to campaign and complain against everything that offends them they might as well stay at home with the curtains drawn and the television off in case they see something that offends them.

Everyone has a right to believe what they like, but not to inflict it upon others/punish others for not following their rules. Your daughter doesn't need to be horrified that she offended them unless she forced them to read the book.

NearTheWindmill Wed 19-Feb-14 20:26:22

I used to work very close to a mosque. It used to offend me on Fridays that three men would walk three abreast on the pavement and force me to detour into the road. I ne ver commented; I don't think they did it because they are muslim; rather that they are ignorant jerks. It irks that they hide their ignorance and misogyny behind their religion. A true follower of Islam woulkd not, I believe, be so rude or so pig ignorant.

badbride Wed 19-Feb-14 20:29:33

She substitute her book for a copy of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. But that would be naughty grin

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 19-Feb-14 20:29:34

Tbf, if you don't know the book, it would be easy to misinterpret it as actual porn. I'm assuming your DD's colleagues didn't ask to check to see whether there were pictures.

While it's not offensive material, it's going to be hard work for your daughter to convince her boss and colleagues of that and would probably create a lot of bad feeling. Better to give in gracefully and get a Kindle IMO.

badbride Wed 19-Feb-14 20:30:02

Sorry, meant "she could..."

CoffeeTea103 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:34:22

Yabu, seeing the words porno and daily mail have very different reactions. It is inappropriate.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 20:36:47

Thank you for all your understanding!

DD1 has never been a big reader but since DD2 (a bookworm) lent her a copy of 'Trainspotting' a few months ago she has really got into reading novels and I am happy about that.

I am afraid that this incident may knock her confidence and she will just go back to browsing through shit on Facebook, etc during her spare time.

louwn Wed 19-Feb-14 20:37:26

wow they'd hate me, am reading a book titled 'god is not great' at the moment : ) . Really can't abide the 'offended' card.

hellooctober01 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:42:25

My college was big on 'diversity' which basically meant nobody could do anything ever because it offended SOMEONE unless you could say it was religious/cultural, and I love books like American Psycho, Porno etc. and got told I wasn't allowed to read Trainspotting on campus because it offended some pupils, so I just took a dust jacket off of a really vanilla, classic book and carried it around like that. They must have thought I was the slowest reader ever, carrying the same book around for two years grin
I totally respect everyone else's beliefs, but I'm not asking them to read the book too or shouting paragraphs from the rooftops and I'm sure your DD wasn't either!
It offends ME to be told what I can and can't read. There are so many different religions and cultures and beliefs and it's impossible to please every last one.

BranchingOut Wed 19-Feb-14 20:50:23

Hmm, while I do agree that in principle everyone's choice of reading material is exactly that, there are some titles that I think it might be advisable to be circumspect about reading in a public place.

Off the top of my head I can think of:

Lolita
The satanic verses
Mein Kampf
Anything with a sexualised image on the cover, and I think that Porno fits into that category.

My husband got a bit nervous when i read Speer's 'Inside the third Reich' on holiday, for fear of offending any passing Germans...This was some years ago and I think that I would probably put a cover on it now.

NewtRipley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:17

Are there religion and offended cards? Where can I buy one?

BettyBotter Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:24

I can see both sides of this. The book isn't actually porn and an employer should have no right to police their employee's choice of reading material.

But , if I was in a workplace and saw a colleague openly reading something called for example Big Busty Sluts or How we Know the Holocaust Never Happened, I would be pretty offended and might well make a complaint. Even if the reader told me the title was ironic or not an indication of the contents I might still feel uncomfortable if less so.

I suggest she talks directly to the complainers and explain that the book is not actually a porn mag and apologise if she inadvertantly offended them.

Then get a Kindle.

NewtRipley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:47

gordy

Quite

LizzieVereker Wed 19-Feb-14 20:55:08

Goodness me, I've heard it all now. If as you say, people in the same workplace are reading The Sun, then surely this complaint is ridiculous. I can understand someone misconstruing the title, but honestly!

Perhaps your daughter's employer would be happier if she burnt all her books, just in case.

helloctober, just out of curiosity - why/ who would find Trainspotting offensive. I mean I know it's not a pretty story, but I don't get that?

anothernumberone Wed 19-Feb-14 20:59:04

I was also thinking of the blow up doll on the cover with her blow job posing mouth. The content is less offensive but the cover is not great. I think I would be reading something else in the workplace and save Irving Welsh for the bus on the way home.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 21:00:00

This thread seems to have turned into a recommended reading list for DD1 - or rather what not to read in public!

I haven't read ANY of the books mentioned!

Eeek!

Caitlin17 Wed 19-Feb-14 21:00:24

I find Irvine Welsh unreadable but that's just me. If the 2 complainers are British born or have spent any time here then they and the manager are breathtakingly ignorant.

Welsh is one of the most successful and influential writers in the UK in the last 20 years. Trainspotting was a set text book in my son's 5th year (Scottish ages 16/17)

JeanSeberg Wed 19-Feb-14 21:02:27

The most pathetic thing about this is that the women didn't even have the manners to speak to your daughter directly.

Can't stand people who grass each other up at work over irrelevent shite. What did they want the outcome to be exactly?

JeanSeberg Wed 19-Feb-14 21:02:38

irrelevant

LizzieVereker Wed 19-Feb-14 21:03:34

I suppose the blow up doll cover is a bit much... (sulks). I personally find 90% of Daily Mail and Sun front pages far more offensive. But that's the thing I suppose, offence taken is personal. (sulks a bit more)

But imagine if she was publicly reading a book about child abduction, juvenile prostitution, graphic domestic violence and opium abuse. Like "Oliver Twist" for example.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 19-Feb-14 21:03:39

But it's mainstream literature.shock

Holocaust denial or KKK manuals would not be in the same category.

Has it truly come to this?

BettyBotter Wed 19-Feb-14 21:19:19

But Zero , those complainers and the employer can be forgiven for not knowing that it's mainstream literature. We can't expect everyone to have a mental list of what are seminal texts and what aren't.

Presumably they judged a book by its cover, literally. And this cover, this title, I think you can understand their affront.

theborrower Wed 19-Feb-14 21:28:35

YANBU. It's not like she was reading it aloud, or had the audio book blaring out.

If you censor what people are reading on the basis that others are offended by it (offended, how exactly??) where do you stop? It's ridiculous. I'd only be concerned if it was an actual porno mag, because that's not appropriate in the work place and people would see the photos. You can't read the words in someone else's book, if you see what I mean.

By the way, I wouldn't be offended by anyone reading Mein Kampf, isn't it a recommended text if you're doing History at school? I remember my friends reading it at high school for this reason.

And by the by, Irvine Welsh is a respected author, and Porno is a good book. I can only think they had no idea what she was reading.

NiceTabard Wed 19-Feb-14 21:28:40

Why aren't they affronted by people reading the Sun as well. Everyone knows it contains page 3 ie a soft porn image. Why don't they have a problem with that? Bizarre.

anothernumberone Wed 19-Feb-14 22:02:01

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porno_(novel)

To be fair though the cover is pretty nasty. I do love Irving Walsh though.

RiverTam Wed 19-Feb-14 22:08:08

if they had taken two minutes to google the book they would have found out sharpish that it wasn't actual porn. But presumably that was too much effort for either the women or the manager?

sheesh, what a bunch of dingbats.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:31

I think their religion is a red herring (unless that was cited as their reason for offence I suppose). Of course the book looks offensive. Its cover is designed to look pornographic and its title is Porno. I'm not surprised they complained, I would probably complain if I thought someone openly had porn in the workplace.

namechangesforthehardstuff Wed 19-Feb-14 22:14:38

That's just a tiny, almost throwaway, comment in the op isn'tit? About their 'religion'.

Hmmmmmm...

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 19-Feb-14 22:15:18

RiverTam, if you were squeamish about porn would you google the word Porno? They're not going to google to check, no one would do unless they already knew it wasn't actually porn!

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 19-Feb-14 22:16:33

Hmm, following the penguin bollard parking thread where posters started getting penguin bollard tailored ads, I wonder how many times I have to type the word porn before some internet cookie somewhere catches on...

LCHammer Wed 19-Feb-14 22:19:02

What a ridiculous complaint. Ignorant people.

siratt Wed 19-Feb-14 22:20:30

I am a Muslim and wouldn't be offended if someone was reading a book called 'Porno' at work.

OP, would it have bothered you or daughter if the people complaining weren't Muslims? Genuine question.

MyPrettyToes Wed 19-Feb-14 22:24:17

namechangesforthehardstuff

my thoughts exactly.

Caitlin17 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:25:09

Even if the 2 women and the manager had really never heard of Irvine Welsh would it have been beyond them to ask what she was reading?

Really how likely is it a 21 year old female office worker would be reading real porn in her lunch hour?

ConferencePear Wed 19-Feb-14 22:28:36

I wouldn't have anyone dictating to me what I could and couldn't read in my lunch break; particularly not in an office where the Sun is read.

Why on earth did the complainers not complain to her directly ? In that office I'd be telling the ones who read the Sun what I thought.

WinterDrawsOff Wed 19-Feb-14 22:28:58

Get a Kindle.

CorusKate Wed 19-Feb-14 22:33:43

I actually don't mind people saying they're offended. The Stephen Fry quote has to be read knowing the context of a society where (especially religious) people try to use coercion and force and the law to impose behaviour that doesn't offend them. I'm happy for anyone to say they're offended by what I'm reading, but my boss telling me to stop reading it (presumably on pain of disciplinary proceedings) is not OK.

This reminds me of another thread on here today about a presenter on Loose Women calling someone schizophrenic, meaning multifaceted. When I say I'm offended by that, what I mean is that I'm telling people that when they use it, I feel hurt and I think worse of them. What some people think I'm saying is that I'd like it to be illegal for her to say that and for her to be punished.

The reason people think my saying I feel offended means that I think they should be punished is that many people, including the OP's daughter's colleagues, do mean that when they say they're offended.

namechangesforthehardstuff Wed 19-Feb-14 22:35:49

Caitlin silly you - Muslim women can't ask people what they're reading. They are just there to make people feel uncomfortable with their massive burkhas (which they all wear); get offended by stuff that's totally reasonable and ban Christmas. It's in their job descriptions.

Honestly OP I really feel for your DD. You couldn't make it up could you? except I'm fairly sure you did

Caitlin17 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:46:37

namechange er sorry,you've lost me.
I really don't know what point you're trying to make. What is odd about asking someone what they're reading during their lunch hour. I asked my secretary today.

MothratheMighty Wed 19-Feb-14 22:51:06

She should be able to read whatever she likes as long as it's not a banned text, but if she doesn't want a barney then she may prefer a kindle, or a cover for whatever she chooses to read next.
YANBU in that others are trying to censor your daughter's choices in their spare time. My daughter is a staunch atheist and feminist and would take that as a huge challenge that she would rise to.
I hope your DD realises that she has done nothing wrong whatsoever, and that it is the bigots she is working with who should be educated as to free choice.

MothratheMighty Wed 19-Feb-14 22:53:52

Namechange, the OP has been around for months/ hmm
Religious bigots come in many forms and faiths and sects and schisms, not just Muslims. They've been killing each other and random strangers for millenia about what is the right way to live, and what to do with people that don't comply.

Seems a bit ridiculous that she can't read what she wants. I don't see how someone can be offended by a book title.

Maybe she should read "Cunt" by Inga Muscio when she's finished that one. It's got a nice gerbera on the front. I read it on the tube, and at bus stops. Nobody said anything.

innisglas Wed 19-Feb-14 23:04:12

I have a lot of family and friends who are muslim and there is no reason why Muslim women in particular should be offended.
I am a tremendous prude myself, but I cannot understand how seeing the title of this book can cause annoyance?

MothratheMighty Wed 19-Feb-14 23:10:48
FoxesRevenge Wed 19-Feb-14 23:17:06

and got told I wasn't allowed to read Trainspotting on campus because it offended some pupils

WTF

I can understand how someone might see the front cover with 'porno' and perhaps be offended but Trainspotting? How the hell can anyone be offended by that. If they're familiar with the content and are basically saying 'I don't want to see someone reading that, I found it offensive' then bloody tough luck! You can't try and control what someone wants to read unless you're the Taliban

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 23:17:55

siratt
The answer to your genuine question is yes of course it would have bothered me and my dd just the same if the complainants were not Muslims. And I would have still posted on here asking if I was unreasonable to think she should be able to read whatever book she wants. But with a cover on!grin

ComposHat Wed 19-Feb-14 23:20:48

I say she needs to get a copy of the Satanic Verses.

Coolcadbury Wed 19-Feb-14 23:35:41

Just saw the cover. Totally inappropriate for a workplace. I would be uncomfortable seeing that at work. Call me a prude.

OP, why mention the religion at all? hmm

Martorana Wed 19-Feb-14 23:43:47

Stick to your guns or they'll be banning Christmas next........

Did you know that it it actually illegal to have a piggy bank in your house now in case your house catches fire and a firefighter who happens to be Muslim sees it while rescuing you? It's true, honestly.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 23:45:32

Exactly, coolcadbury. Why mention the religion at all?

The religion was given by dd's employer as the reason she should not bring the book into work.

But it still doesn't make any sense does it?

MarmaladeShatkins Wed 19-Feb-14 23:50:20

Probably because it was Tue offendees religious sensibilities that were offended?

It is relevant.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 23:50:54

I have just seen the offending book cover!
AIBU to have laughed out loud at it?

CorusKate Thu 20-Feb-14 00:32:27

Martorana, this is hardly "OMFG Muslims want to ban Christmas!" - it's actually a perfectly plausible story about somebody having their freedom curtailed because the person in charge is afraid to offend someone's religious sensibilities. It's quite common. And for all we know, the women who talked to the supervisor didn't mean to officially complain, as such, but saw it as a workplace harmony issue that they felt would be better dealt with by the boss, who then went completely over the top in his response. I bet the thread would've been identical if the women were Christian.

BelleOfTheBorstal Thu 20-Feb-14 00:46:58

I third the suggestion of The Satanic Verses being her next book. It is quite heavy but an excellent piece of literature.

CorusKate Thu 20-Feb-14 00:57:02

Well, identical apart from the Satanic Verses suggestions, but I can't think at the moment of a mainstream author who had to spend years hiding because of death threats from Christian organisations.

Thumbwitch Thu 20-Feb-14 02:03:11

I don't see any point in trying to inflame the situation - the girl has been effectively given a verbal warning, so taking in a deliberately-attempting-to-offend book would be a bad idea.

However, her offer to put a cover on the book was eminently reasonable and should have been accepted, since the offendees would then have not been able to see the cover, word or picture, and would no longer be able to be offended by it.

I agree though that she should be able to read what she likes within reason - so anything that is obviously anti-Islamic would now be seen as NOT within reason and she should avoid it.

BranchingOut Thu 20-Feb-14 08:06:37

Corus Kate - maybe Martin Luther?

Kittymalinky Thu 20-Feb-14 08:14:24

I would make a separate complaint about the reading of the Daily Mail and The Sun as both are offensive to women.

But then I'm petty and would be so angry about being told what I can and can't read in my own time.

I read and discussed The God Delusion whilst working in a CofE school, no one was offended because they were comfortable in their faith and were happy to work with an atheist as long as I was good at my job.

TinyTear Thu 20-Feb-14 08:19:48

I enjoyed reading the same book on a train up to Scotland quite a few years ago... loved seeing the offended looks
grin
i was younger and more of a rebel then...

halfwildlingwoman Thu 20-Feb-14 08:24:14

This pisses me off. If something offends me in my workplace I talk to the person that has offended me about it. If I had been reading Irving Welsh and a colleague said, what are you reading, it's got an offensive cover, I would have explained to them and offered to cover it if they wanted. Perhaps led into a discussion about their religion and why they didn't object to the boobs in The Sun.
Why go to the manager and create an issue around it? Why can't we just talk?

BTW, I lived in East London for 15 years, worked with, hung out with, slept with Muslim people and I never knew anyone complain about anything like this. The only complaint I was involved with was when a Muslim pupil ate a sandwich labelled as chicken that was actually ham and that was absolutely fair enough. If she'd been from a pushier more confident family we could have gone to town on that one.

nennypops Thu 20-Feb-14 08:26:42

Just saw the cover. Totally inappropriate for a workplace. I would be uncomfortable seeing that at work.

But you don't have a right to insist on never for one moment feeling "uncomfortable" at work. Think how many jobs would be impossible if that were a legal requirement.

I must say, this does seem hypocritical given the amount of overt soft porn there is in the Mail and Sun.

OwlCapone Thu 20-Feb-14 08:27:34

I would put a plain cover on it and continue to read it.

ComposHat Thu 20-Feb-14 08:29:09

I agree though that she should be able to read what she likes within reason - so anything that is obviously anti-Islamic would now be seen as NOT within reason and she should avoid it.

The Satanic Verses isn't gratuitously offensive and doesn't incite hatred towards Muslims, it is merely a stark illustration that religious bigots (be they Jesus or Abraham or Muhammed freaks) feel as Stephen Fry illustrated in his statement that the mere fact that they are offended by the idea of a book, one they've probably never read, is sufficient to have it excluded from the workplace.

sashh Thu 20-Feb-14 08:29:56

The offer of a cover is perfectly reasonable.

I read somewhere that people with ereaders are buying more books that people might think twice about reading in public with a cover on, mein kampf is one.

I would be tempted to buy a bible and swap the covers so start reading the bible, be told it is offensive and then either ask why the bible is offensive or swap for 'porno' with a bible cover.

Assuming they had only seen the cover and not actually read any of it I don't really see how they can be offended if she changes the cover.

In fact if she swapped the cover how would they even know?

Trapper Thu 20-Feb-14 08:50:51

One of my colleagues is offended by swearing and anything that could be construed as negative about God and Christianity (even things like 'for Gods sake!).
Because I know it offends him, I don't do it. Isn't that what grown ups do at work and in polite society in general?
It is a shame that it ended up being a formal issue as it could probably have been dealt with perfectly informally. I would be more cross with the management team who appear to have made a mountain out of a molehill rather than dealing with the issue informally and discreetly. I do not believe it is the organisation's place to ban reading the book. I do believe the organisation should have helped the complainant understand that the book is not actually porn (dispute the title and cover) and ask your daughter if she would mind being more sensitive and tactful with her colleagues.

Jinsei Thu 20-Feb-14 08:54:59

She should have exercised better judgement and put a cover on before taking the book into work. Given the title and the cover, I don't think it's surprising that some of her colleagues were a bit hmm. Regardless of their religion.

I don't understand why her boss felt the need to bring their religion into it. Perhaps he/she is islamophobic. Having said that, I don't really know why the OP felt the need to slip this in either. And then managed to slip it into her next post that they weren't just religious, they were muslim.

Buy her a kindle.

whossauhnafuffafwayay Thu 20-Feb-14 09:03:30

In two minds. Totally understand it isn't necessarily sending out the right message, but a little outraged by the message that other people would be expected to adhere to one's own faith.

Pornography is offensive to my religion, too - I just don't go around commanding other people to do things because failing to obey my religion is some sort of honorary racism or something.

If it offends you fine, I can see why it would and think it is legitimate in the interests of a professional workplace to say "could you keep that on the down-low please" about personal leisure activities with sexual references but ffs... don't tell other people what your religious rules are as part of it as if everyone should be ashamed of not submitting to your faith.

whossauhnafuffafwayay Thu 20-Feb-14 09:09:19

^ ffs I've just seen the ensuing posts which have hammered home that it's a muslim thing. I thought it was Christians or something.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 20-Feb-14 09:14:23

She should go in with a copy of 50 Shades of shite Grey.

vvviola Thu 20-Feb-14 09:33:09

Totally off on a tangent....

When I lived in Japan, all the bookshops offered to cover your book when you bought it, with a kind of brown paper with the bookshop logo on it. Almost everyone seemed to accept.

I used to feel like such a rebel when I read my extremely innocent books on the train without any cover.

RiverTam Thu 20-Feb-14 09:35:04

sorry, only just come back to this, but Giraffes they could have googled the author and they would have found out it isn't porn. Or, =guess what, they could have actually spoken to their colleague. But no. They sound like trouble makers and the manager sounds rubbish - she could easily have checked the book out and gone back to the complainers and said 'it isn't porn, and she (OP's DD) has said she'll cover the book so that's the end of it'. She sounds very spineless and they sound like people who use their religion to get what they want.

Honestly, I think I'd start looking for a new job!

Heathcliff27 Thu 20-Feb-14 09:41:21

Helluva good book that I need to read again. Oh and she should read whatever she wants. I suggest a copy of the joy of sex next time, love to see the reaction then.

Pigeonhouse Thu 20-Feb-14 09:42:34

When it seemed like the entire Piccadilly line was reading The Da Vinci Code on their commute, I used to fantasise about standing up, saying their perusal of such rubbish was offensive to me, and running up and down the carriage plucking the offending tome from their hands and replacing it with a copy of an actual novel.

But I didn't.

I fully grasp the compromises and general mutual politeness necessary for workplaces to function, but it irks me slightly that a young woman is complained about for reading a novel (you may not like the cover or the title, but it is obviously a novel, not a porn magazine) whereas other colleagues (might they perchance be men?) are not censured for regularly reading newspapers with Page Three images that objectify women's semi-naked bodies.

Pigeonhouse Thu 20-Feb-14 09:44:27

Vviola, I was a bit taken aback at Japanese commuters casually reading sexually graphic manga involving rape, bestiality etc - presumably that is part of why covers are offered by book shops?

Next time I see someone with a bible I shall complain and they will be stopped yes?

hackmum Thu 20-Feb-14 09:46:56

The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" seems pertinent here.

Seems an odd thing to be offended by. After all, she was just reading a book. She wasn't asking anyone else to read it.

vvviola Thu 20-Feb-14 09:51:56

I guess so Pigeonhouse. I was living in pretty conservative countryside, so most people did cover up - but my trips to the cities were quite an eye opener grin

Destinysdaughter Thu 20-Feb-14 09:53:23

Ooh I want to read Porno now!

Not working so only one who could be offended by it would be the cat. smile

Quangle Thu 20-Feb-14 09:54:14

I thought this was going to be about Fifty Shades of Grey which I have seen people reading in all sorts of inappropriate places including in our office kitchen and, hilariously but weirdly, in the Princess Diana Playground which is one of those right-on, no adults unless accompanied by kids, sensory play zones. And it was a man reading it while ignoring his children

Of course the complainers were being ridiculous - they obviously don't know the author or the book or realise that pornography is not normally labelled "Porno". It makes them look a bit daft although I agree that the cover is quite edgy. I don't feel a need to show sensitivity to anyone's religion if their religion requires them to judge a book they know nothing about. That's the equivalent of showing sensitivity to people who don't know what they are talking about which is not generally a good idea. But you are not going to have a reasonable discussion with people who object to seeing books so probably best just to get a kindle.

limitedperiodonly Thu 20-Feb-14 10:04:51

When I was 14 my mother worriedly asked me about about a book I was reading called Sex Tips For Girls.

She thought I was seriously going off the rails. I explained it was a feminist primer for teenagers.

A bit like How To Be A Woman but not nearly as fucking irritating.

Leonas Thu 20-Feb-14 10:19:33

It seems very childish of her colleague to have reported it rather than speak to her directly. I personally wouldn't be offended by it but I can see why (due to the cover and title) other people might be. She obviously wasn't trying to offend/ be controversial but it maybe isn't the most appropriate book to take into work?

Dawndonnaagain Thu 20-Feb-14 10:25:17

She shouldn't be allowed to read things in public that the manager thinks are inappropriate or offensive.

We do not (fortunately) have censorship over what we are allowed or not allowed to read yet.

MothratheMighty Thu 20-Feb-14 10:27:20

Leonas, in certain working environments perhaps. If she was working with children or vulnerable adults for examle. I wouldn't have chosen that book for 20 minutes silent reading in class for example.
But in an adult work environment? Her solution of putting a cover on it was the mature and reasonable response. It's a shame that others inher workplace didn't respond in kind.
As a staunch vegetarian, should I have the right to veto the contents of other people's lunchboxes?

NancyJones Thu 20-Feb-14 10:47:26

Ok, I think in all seriousness your dd needs to put in writing her willingness to remove the cover. In her letter she needs to state that the book is not actually porn or offensive material and as such she feels she should not be banned from reading mainstream literature in the workplace.

Such a letter pref by email will cover her should it go any further. She should also ask for clarification on workplace policy in this matter. ie why is The Sun which is a publication known to contain a mildly pornographic image allowed but not a piece of literature?

There's no point in anyone getting uppity about the Muslim thing. Either the women or the manager or both have decided that this is justification for the request. I don't see where the op has made a 'thing' about them being Muslim. It's irrelevant to the issue insomuch that it doesn't really matter why they felt the need to complain. If the op hadn't mentioned the reasons given to her dd then rveyone would have asked what reasons her dd was given.

OP, what has your dd decided to do?

Unless she is very strong and secure in her job I would advise dropping it, even though I hate saying it.

However she does need to deal with it if there's any chance that next time she is in trouble they say "this is her second offense. Last time was forcing porn onto her colleagues"

NancyJones Thu 20-Feb-14 11:13:19

Which is why she needs to email stating clearly what the book was and that it is not pornographic material. She also needs to state clearly that she has offered to remove the cover of the book.

MothratheMighty Thu 20-Feb-14 11:17:53

Back is right, your DD needs to cover herself by formally and politely writing down exactly what happened, and her response. It isn't as if management have shown themselves capable of managing effectively.

drspouse Thu 20-Feb-14 11:28:39

Have they also complained about The Sun (as it is actually pornographic)? (The Mail is just politically offensive).

I think she should respond politely, state that she is happy to cover up the book, and (if you can persuade her that she is!) state that she's offended as a woman by people reading actual pornography (The Sun) at work but she hasn't complained as she thought people had the right to read what they wanted on their break.

BranchingOut Thu 20-Feb-14 12:37:14

I agree that it is probably a good idea to write a response.

The manager is so going to regret raising this, now that s/he has to come up with a policy for what is actually appropriate literature for the staffroom...hmm

But I do think that sensitivity towards others may be sensible. This reminds me that a friend at school wore a German army coat with a swastika on it for a while, because it was 'vintage'. I suggested that displaying that emblem might not be a great idea.

The problem is that while you might know the attitude with which you are reading/wearing/displaying something, other people do not and might fly off the handle to your own detriment....

tomverlaine Thu 20-Feb-14 13:00:55

The impression I get is that either the manager or the women in question are using their religion as an excuse to act - people are more nervous at offending someone on religious grounds that on general prudishness grounds. I suspect OP's daugher is not really in aposition/confident enough to argue back -particularly as she isn't of the religion in question so can't say point blank that its not offensive.
In her place I would have just asked for specifics - eg what was offensive. But i think its weak management- the manager should have pushed back on the two women and asked them to clarify and also to speak to OP's dd directly first.

Caitlin17 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:01:12

The book was on display openly in bookshops when it was published and will be on the shelf of most bookshops.

specialsubject Thu 20-Feb-14 14:04:08

make it clear that it is not a pornographic book, then ignore.

people who get 'offended' by words clearly don't have much of a faith. Because if they did, they would know they are right and their beardy-weirdie will look after them in the after life.

How ridiculous! Banning books is bad enough but banning people from reading? Someone needs to remind the manager this is a Western democracy, not Nazi Germany or Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Agree she should put her response in writing. IMO She should point out this is mainstream literature available in any bookshop and that she is disappointed the complainants didn't speak to her or make any attempt to find out about the book, merely jumped to erroneous conclusions. She should ask whether there is a workplace policy on approved reading material during breaks, and whether there is a list of banned books.

and if there is a list of banned books, she should leak it...

FrenchJunebug Thu 20-Feb-14 14:22:07

what Edam says!

wongadotmom Thu 20-Feb-14 15:20:14

I am personally offended by porn, soft porn, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Star, etc, etc.

Having seen the cover of this novel I do not see it as offensive think it is quite an amusing picture, and not pornographic. It is a picture of the FACE of a plastic DOLL!

I have told some people in RL about this incident and everyone I spoke to is shocked and appalled about it. Thanks to posting on mumsnet first I omitted to mention the religious reasons that dd was given. I really can't be doing with RL bigots coming along saying 'what next they'll be trying to ban Christmas, they're all wearing burkas blah blah boring blah' as some have on this thread hmm

DD (the rebel) has taken the book to work with her and she said she is going to take her 1 hour lunch break off the premises. I hope she is ok.

MothratheMighty Thu 20-Feb-14 15:22:05

smile Let us know how she gets on.

joven Thu 20-Feb-14 15:24:02

Regardless of the content, bringing a book with the name "porno" into a professional setting is pretty poor judgement. Just because you are on an unpaid break doesn't mean you don't have to abide by certain standards.

JeanSeberg Thu 20-Feb-14 15:27:13

I think you need to look at the picture a bit closer wonga and imagine what the mouth part of the doll is intended to be used for. wink

ComposHat Thu 20-Feb-14 15:35:53

If she likes Irvine Welsh she may well enjoy James Kelman's How late it was, how late. Kelman is the writer Irvine Welsh wants to be.

joven - you could also argue that anyone who is unfamiliar with literary fiction is betraying a lack of education that is problematic in a professional environment. I'm not saying that is the case, just pointing out your claim it's 'unprofessional' is rather leaping to conclusions.

OwlCapone Thu 20-Feb-14 16:06:20

It is a picture of the FACE of a plastic DOLL!

Actually, it is a picture of a sex toy.

Not Baby Annabel.

There is a difference.

MothratheMighty Thu 20-Feb-14 16:14:00

Oh Wonga, didn't you realise that it's a blow up sex toy? grin
Still not illegal, so I still think that the plain cover was a perfectly sensible response to the concerns.

magentastardust Thu 20-Feb-14 16:14:31

Where does your daughter work? -If it was a school I would say yes inappropriate.
It is obviously a picture of a sex doll not just a doll and if you were easily offended maybe the nipples on show would offend too?
Just a shame that the offended colleagues couldn't say to your daughter. Go for the cover or kindle option so she can enjoy her lunch break without stressing about people have a nosy at her.

CorusKate Thu 20-Feb-14 16:17:39

Trouble is, magenta, she hasn't been told not to be seen to be reading it, she's been told not to read it at all (at work). So it wouldn't look good for her if, say, someone came across Porno on the screensaver of her Kindle, or if she were reading it with a cover but it still somehow was discovered what she was reading.

JeanSeberg Thu 20-Feb-14 16:18:08

Just to be clear what we're talking about.

www.billleonebookseller.com/pages/books/7310/irvine-welsh/porno

chipsandpeas Thu 20-Feb-14 16:19:15

i wonder how many people complained about 18 months ago with lots of people sitting openly reading 50 shades, ok the cover wasnt offensive but the widespread attention on the books everyone knew the content

FrenchJunebug Thu 20-Feb-14 16:30:30

Joven, seriously? What standard are those?! I dislike the Daily mail and the Sun but would not in a million year stop anybody to read them during their break. Free country.

whatever5 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:34:43

I would be really annoyed if I was your daughter. If I was her I would still take the book in but cover it (and all books in the future). They can't complain about what she is reading if they can't see what it is.

Martorana Thu 20-Feb-14 17:08:26

Wonga- I think you might need to take a closer look at the picture on the front of the book.......grin

TrueToYou Thu 20-Feb-14 17:12:22

magenta
^ if you were easily offended maybe the nipples on show would offend too? ^

Do you think the nipples offend if they were on a male doll? Or is it just because it's supposed to be a female?

<<off to google James Kelman>> smile

sadbodyblue Thu 20-Feb-14 17:12:49

is she in a union? if not join one and jet them deal with this.

I think the firm haven't a clue here.

joven Thu 20-Feb-14 17:25:10

edamsavestheday, I don't think you can claim somebody who isn't up to the minute on every fictional book published is 'uneducated', unless you're prepared to accept that you are 'uneducated' because you're unfamiliar with the latest developments in the hobbies of the next person.

FrenchJunebug, it is not a free country, we live in a country governed by laws determining standards of behaviour and private property ownership.

magentastardust Thu 20-Feb-14 17:28:59

Well the cover doesn't offend me personally-but I was just pointing out it wasn't just the face of a doll as some posters were saying.
I suppose I wouldn't want my 6 yr old daughter sitting staring at it across a table on a train.

Erm I guess a cover of just a male torso wouldn't be as offensive-it would surely depend on the context of the cover, just as a different picture of a female upper body may be looked at differently-I think the offensive part to some would be that the image is obviously sexual and it is a sex doll. A male sex doll would probably offend as much.

TrueToYou Thu 20-Feb-14 17:34:56

I think a male sex doll's (God, I really should NOT google it so I know what I'm talking about, but fuck it, I won't infect my laptop!) torso wouldn't offend, male non-functioning nipples are not sexualised the way women's (which HAVE an important function) are.

I guess a male sex doll would only offend if the genitals were on display. (Feel free to tell me I'm wrong, I bow to anyone's superior knowledge of sex dolls! grin )

stooshe Thu 20-Feb-14 17:38:34

YANBU. Furthermore, any kind of boss with anything about them would have asked the content of the book (in a "styled out" way, of course). Irvine Welsh is a respected author. That your daughter's colleagues and boss do not know this shows them up for the dunces that they are. The colleagues well may have found out about Irvine Welsh if they had asked your daughter about the book instead of snitching to "massa".
Unfortunately in these hard to get a job times, your daughter will have to concede to these fools. She should look about training up or getting another job though., if this is the way it's all going.
If it was me , I'd take in Sons and Lovers by Dh Lawrence. He's long dead and respected. Then again, after this episode, I wouldn't underestimate the low mentality of those three stooges.

Caitlin17 Thu 20-Feb-14 17:38:37

Does anyone enjoy James Kelman?

magentastardust Thu 20-Feb-14 17:43:24

Haha yes true-I am not googling to check it out either. Sad as it is lets face it if a male walked into town topless on a sunny day probably not much would be said , however if a female did the same the police would be called and she would be asked to cover up.

It is just a shame that the offended parties couldn't just say to the OP's DD that they felt uncomfortable rather than take it to management.

stooshe Thu 20-Feb-14 17:54:40

YANBU. Thick people"with power" are the bane of the modern workplace. Your daughter should do the email thing (as previously suggested) stating her innocence. She has to cover herself as it would be unwise to underestimate the bitches and bitch asses who may use this "incident" against her if the workforce needs culling.
The subservient thickos or undercover trouble makers are usually kept on.

TrueToYou Thu 20-Feb-14 18:02:52

I agree about the email, I think your DD should compose an email with the phrases suggested here, eg the allowed reading list.

Hopefully the manager will realise then how out of proportion his/her response was, and what an absolute non-event the whole thing is.

limitedperiodonly Thu 20-Feb-14 18:11:22

is she in a union? if not join one and jet them deal with this.

I've been a union member since 1984 and this response on MN always gives me a wry smile.

No offence to you sadbodyblue - truly. I've just picked up on your post.

Union membership has been in the doldrums for years but people are latterly rethinking that.

But even if OP's daughter could find an appropriate one, I'd lay odds that they wouldn't want to touch this.

It's a little bit too difficult.

I'd say that they'd advise her to send an email to her boss recapping the meeting and clarifying that this is mainstream book sold in that most mainstream and reactionary of places - WHSmiths.

Also that the women misinterpreted the cover and she was happy to tear the cover off to avoid upsetting the easily offended or idiots because though I don't really like the sex doll image, it's not the most offensive I've seen in a mainstream publication.

I do hope you're not on a wind up OP. Probably not, but mention of mentalist Muslims always makes me wonder.

Ledaire Thu 20-Feb-14 18:12:51

"A bit like How To Be A Woman but not nearly as fucking irritating"

grin

DS once took the book I was reading into school and they were very cat's bum about it.

ComposHat Thu 20-Feb-14 18:29:24

caitlin yes I like James Kelman very much.

MadIsTheNewNormal Thu 20-Feb-14 18:34:44

The title of the book itself is not remotely offensive. I don't know the book or what it's about, but it is perfectly possible for something to be a serious, intelligently written piece about a taboo or emotive or offensive subject. If she'd whipped out a copy of 'Big Slapping Ballsacks on Big Black Men, and waved the graphic close up photos around the office then I'd agree with her colleagues, but otherwise they can take a hike.

CorusKate Thu 20-Feb-14 18:42:11

Ooh, do you know where I can get hold of the latest issue of "Big Slapping Ballsacks on Big Black Men", Mad? My subscription wasn't delivered this month sad

YouTheCat Thu 20-Feb-14 18:54:37

Get her a kindle.

I know I already commented, but what I omitted to say was that it is a great shame that the people who were offended, or claimed to be offended did not initially approach your daughter.
To an extent I take the point about what is appropriate in public, but that would more be to avoid upsetting/offending impressionable young children.

I don't find the cover of Porno offensive. I've not read the book. I would be rather foolish to imagine that it was a book of pornography.

I'd be far more offended by someone reading the Daily Mail.

limitedperiodonly Thu 20-Feb-14 20:46:43

But how many people say: 'Ooh! I hate confrontation' when they do in fact want to confront, but in a sneaky way?

So what they do is complain to a line manager who may be scared of confrontation too, even though it her job to sometimes tackle difficult situations.

So what this line manger did is uphold a stupid complaint against someone when she should have said to the complainer: 'Have you tried to deal with it yourself? What was the response? Why are you bothering me, given that it was a misunderstanding and that the person explained - not that she should have needed to because this is a mainstream text - and offered to cover the offending cover?'

Now go away, I'm busy with reports playing candy crush

rabbitlady Thu 20-Feb-14 21:05:16

hmm. if it was a man reading a porn mag, would they have been right to complain? the title 'porno' might have put those thoughts in their heads.
definitely get her a kindle as suggested upthread. its no-one's business what novels she reads.
i read irvine welsh because my daughter was a fan. i preferred the jean genet i read in my youth, especially our lady of the flowers, funeral rites and querelle of brest - you could recommend those.

Maybe get a copy of the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.

A perfectly fine book to own (though I'm told very dull) but the co-workers will likely be furious.

AngelaDaviesHair Thu 20-Feb-14 21:59:47

The only book I've ever read on public transport that got a reaction was "Loyalists: Defenders or Criminals?" complete with a cover picture of the UVF parading in the Long Kesh, all berets and 70s moustaches. No idea why, but the sight of little old me reading that (about 13 years ago now) got people quite perturbed.

Joven - it's hardly 'up to the minute' the book's been out for something like a decade.

The point I was making was about your suggestion that it was 'unprofessional' to read Irvine Walsh. You might equally say it is 'unprofessional' to be so ignorant that you (the complainants, not you personally) confuse a well-reviewed book by a significant-ish author with something designed to get your rocks off.

Someone who complains about something really should find out what they hell they are complaining about. Jumping to conclusions IS definitely unprofessional. Unless you are highly trained and experienced and your job involves fast reactions, in which case you probably have more important things on your mind than a colleague's lunchtime reading matter.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 21-Feb-14 00:01:10

I like James Kelman; in fact, I am a big fan of Scottish literary fiction generally.

Valdeeves Fri 21-Feb-14 00:07:01

Porno is a good book - I'd have his the sex doll cover at work though (but that's because I'm in a squeaky clean job)
There's far more in life to get offended by than that - she should just shrug it off and chalk it off to life experience.

Valdeeves Fri 21-Feb-14 00:07:18

Hid!

ComposHat Fri 21-Feb-14 11:26:18

scone have you read Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington?

That and Lanark are my favourite pieces of Scot Lit.

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!

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.

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

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

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

Get her a copy of The God Delusion.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

while i'm not personally offended by the book title or cover, i would seriously question why anyone would think it an appropriate book to take into their workplace to read.

Its quite obviously designed to shock/offend and i don't blame the manager for asking her not to bring it in again.

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.....?

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?

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

No one is being "bullied"

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.

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.

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)

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!! ;)

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