YOU CAN'T WALK around dressed up like a low-class woman

Then get mad when the only ones who holla are low-class men.

Step up your game my sister . . .

I wrote those words in 2005 for a radio commentary on women's attire.

Funny how they still ring true in 2010, especially in relation to Ines Sainz, an attractive reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca who allegedly was sexually harassed after she wore skintight jeans in a locker room full of naked athletes.

Various male and female pundits have already weighed in on this, claiming that female sports reporters should be treated as professionals no matter what they are wearing, no matter how they carry themselves, and no matter where they are in proximity to naked men. I say that's hogwash.

Professional women have a responsibility to respect themselves enough to dress and act in a way that is professional when they are in a professional environment, just as men have a responsibility to treat women with respect in the workplace.

Yes, sexual harassment is wrong. Yes, there must be rules regarding the way men and women interact in the workplace. Yes, I agree that men should never do things that make women feel uncomfortable. But women shouldn't do things that make men feel uncomfortable either.

What does that mean? It means a woman shouldn't come to work with her thong underwear showing. It means workplace cleavage shouldn't resemble huddled masses yearning to be free. It means a woman's button-up shirt shouldn't morph into a button-down jacket. It means her co-workers shouldn't see her heart beating through her supertight sweater.

When women choose to dress that way at a regular workplace, male co-workers get uncomfortable, because men, simple creatures that we are, see women in bar attire and start rehearsing pickup lines. Bad pickup lines. The kind of pickup lines that work when women are scantily clad and drunk at a bar. If a woman displays the thong or the cleavage or the doily skirt enough, some guy is going to say something, because the way the woman is dressed suggests to him that she wants someone to notice her, um . . . assets. That's just the truth.

Which brings me to Ines Sainz. She is a female television sports reporter, an occupation that is increasingly moving away from actual journalism and becoming a beauty contest. As a female in Spanish-language television, where women routinely leave little to the imagination, she is no doubt expected to dress provocatively. But if her workplace is a locker room, the skintight jeans and the button- down, er, button-up shirt that she wore to the Jets practice were extreme.

Again, we're not talking about an office environment. We're talking about naked men, an attractive woman in extremely tight clothes, and an atmosphere that was probably like a frat house.

When the whole thing blew up, Sainz appeared on "The Today Show" to say she should be treated like a professional. When she said it, she was showing so much cleavage the producers covered it up with a graphic, which in my mind begged the question, a professional what?

I'm sure Ines Sainz is a nice person, but at some point, we are going to have to ask people to exercise some decorum, some judgment, and some good sense.

We're going to have to make everyone take responsibility for his or her actions. You don't walk into a room full of naked men wearing sprayed-on jeans and cleavage. You don't ask to be treated like a professional when you refuse to act like one. You don't paint yourself as a victim when you're actually a volunteer.

You can't walk around dressed up like a low-class woman

Then get mad when the only ones who holla are low-class men.

Step up your game, Ms. Sainz.

Be the professional you claim to be.

Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at

sj@solomonjones.com