Sexism and Objectification in the Sales and Service Industries
"That submission about street harassment reminded me of a situation earlier today. I was at work and I approached a customer (male), as I am suppose to do because I work in sale and customer service, and before I can even say “how can I help you today?” he smiles at me and says “Hello, beautiful”. Later, when I was on my lunch in the food court, he was sitting a few tables away, saw me and proceeded to creepily stare at me until his children joined him.
This is not an isolated incident. Regularly when I approach male customers to greet them I am greeted with “Hey, beautiful”, “Hello, pumpkin”, “Hey, how you doin’” - all with creepy gazes down my body like I’m there for their viewing pleasure. And I can’t do anything but ignore it because I’m at work and it’s part of the job. I can’t do anything unless they try to touch me, unless their words get really nasty, and then all that will happen is that they will move me to a different part of the store until the customer leaves.
I have been asked out, men have demanded my phone number or tried to give me theirs, and all because I’m doing my job. It’s my job to be nice to these people. It’s my job to be pleasant and enjoyable to be around. It’s my job to give these people attention and make them feel attended to. That’s part of excellent sales. It’s an experience you don’t get at lower-end stores, so it’s a selling advantage.
It just shows you the entitlement that these men have, because they think my time and attention is actually for them and not because of my job, or if they do realize my limitations because of my job they are taking advantage of that to put me in an uncomfortable position.” - submission by badassqueergoddess
I HATE THAT. I literally hate that. I worked as a waitress all throughout high school and a retail sales associate as I worked my way through college, and having to deal with ridiculousness like that is an every day occurrence in those types of service jobs that are primarily dominated by women (and therefore underpaid.) It is SO infuriating, especially because you’re right, you can’t do anything but ignore it unless you can risk losing your job. (And let’s face it, people working these types of jobs can rarely risk not having income.) Which is why I think it’s so important to talk about it. To write about it. To share it.
Thank you for your submission! (And I’m sorry you had to deal with that creepy asshole today.) <3