Why The Respect I Receive Shouldn’t Be Defined By My Gender

07/16/2017 10:34 pm ET Updated Jul 17, 2017
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As someone who has always been for equality, it baffles me how I get treated depending on which job I’m at or who my co-workers are. My summer revolves around my two full-time job work schedules. At one job I’m a supervisor at a home improvement store, the other I’m a server at a busy bar in the heart of downtown.

There was one male supervisor I worked alongside, and it wasn’t long before I realized the different ways in which we were treated by customers and fellow employees. If we were both walking down the tool aisle, customers would directly ask him which tool was best, as though I wouldn’t be of any assistance. I grew up around power tools and cars, yet many people see a guy and assume they will be a better aid than me.

When I’m supervising, if I ask employees to do the closing tasks or not congregate in a gossip circle while customers are present, they give me eye rolls and call me bossy. However, if one of the male managers or the male supervisor asks them to do something similar, they do it with ease. Being a woman in a position of power, it can be difficult to come across as something other than “bossy.”

Being a server in a bar, I have realized how a certain look is expected of me when I go to work. I have overheard other female servers joking about how the manager would freak if they came to work without makeup. The expectation that employees will wear makeup in order to be more appealing is absurd. For those individuals who are comfortable in their au naturale look, it shouldn’t be anticipated that they wear makeup to appear a certain way.

Additionally, the uniforms at the bar are quite degrading. To be fair, they aren’t as objectifying as ones at other restaurants, however, the low cut v-neck tight t-shirt with a short black skirt isn’t too hard on they eyes. Female employees are required to wear these uniforms, which are paid for out of the employee’s own earnings, whereas male employees are only required to purchase a t-shirt as they can wear dark wash jeans. Not only are female employees required to purchase the more expensive uniform, but it also far more degrading than a loose fit t-shirt is on a male employee.

Although I disagree with the treatment and requirements of myself as a woman in the workplace, I still need these jobs to pay my bills. I find myself feeling fortunate that these differences bother me and that other employees see the issue with having men and women being treated differently in the workplace when they are doing the same job. I do believe that progress is being made in the workplace to make it more equal, however, there is still a lot of room for improvement. One thing to keep in mind is our own subtle prejudices that lurk in our minds. If people can be more aware of how they treat genders primarily based on their preconceived ideas as to what each gender should be good at or have knowledge on, treatment in the workplace could see more equality.

Originally written by Meganne MacFarlane on Unwritten

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