Debate Rages After Woman Told to Remove 'Distressing' Spider Jewelry Over Worker's Fears

Arachnophobia is defined as the "extreme or irrational fear of spiders," but as a woman online recently found out, this can extend to a fear of brooches too.

On Mumsnet, an account by the name of HermioneAndRoger shared a post on October 16 explaining that she was "asked to remove spider brooch at work."

She explained that: "I quite often wear brooches and yesterday wore a new one to work. It is this one from Zara and is a reasonably large sparkly rhinestone spider, which I had pinned to a black jumper."

The Mumsnet user then revealed that the brooch that costs $19.90 from the famed high street store prompted her to boss to speak to her.

She said: "Mid-morning my line manager approached and asked if I would be prepared to take the brooch off as a colleague had said that they have a phobia and was finding it distressing.

"I took it off my jumper and put it on my coat, which I didn't wear again until I left for the day."

She then went on to write: "The complaint will have come from one of three people, based on who saw me yesterday morning.

"I'm not going to go digging to find out who it was and I don't want to cause anyone distress (which is the word that was used) but I've worked with all three of them for several years and this severe phobia has never come up before.

I don't want to be a d**k but equally I really like my brooch and I am curious to know if I was unreasonable to wear it to work?!"

The post has been garnered nearly 700 comments, with some people agreeing that it was unfair to ask the woman to remove her sparkly brooch.

One person, Immaculatemisconception, wrote: "I thinks it's insane to ask you not to wear it but then I quite like spiders."

Another Mumsnet user, TheChiefJo, added: "It's a brooch, not a pet tarantula... They are being ridiculous."

CounsellorTroi typed: "Fear of real spiders is one thing, fear of a piece of jewelry is quite another."

NeverTheHootenanny revealed: "Imagine being so precious that you get 'distressed' by a brooch."

However, many people thought that if a colleague did have a strong reaction to the jewelry, then it was fine to remove it as some people's phobias are so strong that they extend to pictures and models of spiders too.

TurquoiseDragon revealed: "My DD [dear daughter] has a phobia of spiders. We even taped over an image on a bottle of spider repellent because it creeped her out. So I can understand your colleague."

MerryMarigold opined: "I don't think you were unreasonable to wear it.
I don't think the person who was upset was unreasonable to ask you to take off.
I do think you would have been unreasonable not to take it off."

HeddaGarbled stated: "You weren't unreasonable to wear it initially but you would be unreasonable to wear it again now you know."

According to Medical News Today, some of the symptoms of arachnophobia are similar to those of a panic attack and include dizziness, nausea, sweating, shaking, increased heart rate, struggling to breathe and fainting.

To help deal with the phobia the site suggests exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or hypnotism.

On Mumsnet a woman revealed her boss asked her to remove her spider brooch, pictured here from Zara, due to her colleague's phobia. Zara