Well it’s finally here, the end of the presidential election season. And yes, even though the president will be picked and the majority of America’s sad political understanding will die down; complaining and misinterpretations will continue to allow people to speak on things that they just don’t understand (there is always Facebook for that, and we thank you, Mark Zuckerberg). But one of the most disturbing issues in this election, a topic that I believe will out-live inauguration day, the first 100 days and perhaps continue its life well into the 2020 elections, is the issue raised about gender and more narrowly, sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, I have in some context or another been sexually harassed since puberty. Cat called while walking down the street is probably the oldest form of this that I can remember. There is always someone trying to grab my ass when I go to a bar. There is almost always a man that doesn’t want to believe that you would like nothing to do with him, and then tells you that you are the problem. Since I am not a huge bar scene kind of gal, this type of harassment is far and few between but I will bet a dollar that it happens every time.Most recently however the most sexual harassment I encounter on a consistent basis is at my job serving food. This is a constant in my life and honestly I don’t think it is unfortunate. I take these comments and use my reaction to make myself a stronger person, a stronger woman actually. And although while some men have “locker room talk” with the misconception that women have the same kind of conversations, we don’t, I recently, while at my job walked into the very kind of conversations women do have about men.
I had been serving a table of six women who were celebrating a birthday. We had just sang “Happy Birthday” and the woman was opening her gifts, I approached the table to serve coffee. These women, who were celebrating their friend’s 80th birthday, were discussing recent comments made by our Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, to which he refers to sexually harassing women as “locker room banter“. As I approached the table with the tray of coffee I heard one of them say, “It really is disgusting but they talk about women that way”, to which her friend replied, “well of course they do. Men talk like that all the time.” These are the moments when I would love to know a.) What my face actually looks when I approach a table and b.) How to change the expression on my face because I have an issue where I am terrible at hiding the emotion that sits on my forehead. I didn’t say anything, then one of the women looked at me and said, “I bet no one sexually harasses you in that outfit.” Now my work uniform is no way flattering. It is a potato sack, not a literal potato sack but it does nothing for me and I don’t love it, so. It is a potato sack. I smiled at her in spite of myself.”Actually Ma’am it happens all the time.” And that is both the truth and sad, because the majority of the people I work with are women and if it isn’t happening to me it’s happening to one of them.
These are a few of the examples we hear:
“I would like to eat a (side dish) off of your tits.”
“Happy Birthday too you.” “Now strip!”
“You should work in Texas all the servers have big boobs in Texas.”
Dressed as a potato.
And of course you tell a superior maybe they kick them out, maybe they change servers depending on the comment, but most of the time no one says anything. It doesn’t really get any better after someone says something like that to you.Especially in a business where you depend on that jerk to give you money after all of it. If I choose to complain and lose the tip or the table its money out of my pocket.
Although it doesn’t bother me, and I may be immune to comments of that nature, they are still hanging above me in a form of control when I am in the workplace. It is the kind of environment that women face everyday no matter what they have on. And yes, it may be said that men talk like this because they always have. But maybe it is time that we stop allowing them to.