complete ch 8 case study questions morgan

8.5 Case Studies


A sitting mannequin

Source: Photo courtesy of Ralph Aichinger,

In her blog Love This, MJ (full name not provided) relates that she’s been an aspiring clothes designer since she started sewing tops for her Barbie dolls. Things weren’t going well, though, as she tries to break into the industry. One thing she notices is that there aren’t a lot of female fashion designers out there—Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, and a few more. Not many. So she starts trying to figure it out with questions like these:

  1. Do women want straight guy designers to dress them because they dress to please the men? It could make sense: what that designer likes, the man in her life is going to love too.
  2. Do women prefer gay men to dress them because gay men are their new girlfriends? Gay men are usually more receptive to trends and physical appearances too.
  3. Do women prefer women designers because she knows a woman’s body better?
  4. Do men have the same issue? Do some men prefer a lesbian designer? Would they balk at being dressed by a gay designer?


  1. Assume MJ is right when she hypothesizes that most women like straight male designers because straight guys are the ones they’re trying to impress, so they want clothes straight guys like. Now imagine you’ve been put in charge of a new line of women’s clothes. Your number one task: sales success. You’ve got five applicants for the job of designing the line. Of course you could just ask them all about their sexual orientation(s), but that might leave you open to a discrimination lawsuit. So could you devise a test for new applicants that’s fair—that gives everyone an equal chance—but still meets your requirement of finding someone who produces clothes that straight guys get excited about?
  2. Four standard filters for job applicants are
    • education level,
    • high-risk lifestyle,
    • criminal record,
    • flamboyant presence in social media.

    Which of these might be used to winnow out applications for a job as a clothes designer? Explain in ethical terms.

  3. MJ wonders whether women might prefer women designers because she knows a woman’s body better. Is there a bona fide occupational qualification for a women’s fashion company to hire only women designers? Is there a difference between a BFOQ based on sex and one based on sexual orientation?
  4. MJ asks, “Do women prefer gay men to dress them because gay men are their new girlfriends?” Assume you think there’s something to this. Could you design a few behavioral interview questions that test the applicants’ ability to become girlfriends (in the sense that MJ means it) with their clients? Would these be ethically acceptable interviews, or do you believe there’s something wrong and unfair about them?