As a barista I constantly am meeting new people but often recognize the regulars who come in during my normal shifts. As someone who works in customer service it is important to make connections with people and be friendly towards the people we serve. While making drinks for people we often talk to them about their day and slowly as they continue to come back in time and time again you get past the normal “how are you?” or “are you enjoying your day so far?”. Today, a customer that I have gotten to know fairly well came in to get his regular drink during a slow part of the late afternoon. Because of it being so slow we talked a little bit longer than usual and eventually I asked him if he would be around this summer and would like to hang out sometime. From there we exchanged numbers. I proceeded to then be the first one to message him too, inviting him to a bonfire my friends were having. For many of my friends this would be thought of as crazy for a girl to ask a guy for his number or make the first move at all. I have met many girls who have rules against being the first one to message the guy or limiting how many messages they can send back (double texting) to the response time and so on. I have always hated people who overanalyze such things. If I am a girl who is interested in a guy it should be ok for me to make the “first move” or break the norms. Some women say that they wouldn’t have the confidence to ask a guy for his number while others i believe are falling for the role that women should be submissive to men. Women should have the confidence to speak her mind and do as she pleases without having to over-think what society says they should or should not do.
Today while visiting a friend I noticed two of her neighbors outside gardening their front yard. Both happened to be women. I began to think about how rare it is to find a male outside gardening and if you do come across it it is often not flowers you see them working with. Women to this day still hold the role as the homemaker—keeping their homes presentable. It is small things/activities like this that i have begin to notice more since taking this course.
While taking classes here at Tech for the summer I have a group chat with my other friends around so that we can plan to do things together. Today I got a group of us together to play basketball at the gym on campus. The gym was packed but we were able to play 5 v. 5 against another random group of guys. I was the only girl playing for either team. When pairing up to start the game I heard the guys on the other team joking around about having to guard a girl. It has not been uncommon for guys and girls to feel uncomfortable playing against one another. Then one of the boys told me directly who their worst player on their team was and suggested I guard him instead of the other guy I had already paired up against. I proceeded to tell them that I was not that bad of a player myself. I was utterly disappointed that even today I still come across situations like this where I get direct comments about being athletic or incapable to be as good as the guys. As a field hockey player, which is my primary sport, I will still hear jokes being made that that is a sport for lesbians. I don’t let this stereotype of frustration keep me from having fun with my friends. After the comment made by the boy during the start of the basketball game I actually ended up scoring the first basket. Not to say I was expecting this or that I felt like shoving it in his face but I was proud of myself for showing him that a girl can be just as good as any guy.
I was walking down a main road after seeing a concert with two of my friends looking for a place to grab a quick snack before heading back home. One of them was craving French fries, which I couldn’t argue would be good. After walking about a block or so I turned to a young male walking on the sidewalk next to me as asked him if he knew of a place close by still open where we could get fries. He responds, “if you take your top off you’ll get free fries”.
Today I went out to eat at a restaurant on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach with two of my friends. While at this restaurant where it was more upscale than most oceanfront options I could not help but stare at what the employees were forced to wear as their uniform. The hostesses wore tight red dresses with a low v-cut neckline, the waitresses wore a skin tight black shirt with an even lower v-cut neckline with a tight short spandex skort. The skort was so small for some of the girls that I could see the spandex underneath. I also noticed one of the hostesses who was on the taller side, walking around with her arms by her side in order to keep the dress down in order not to show anything. The males working there on the other hand had the option to wear shorts or plants with a red polo’s. I could not imagine working there as one of the females being forced to wear such outfits. Their uniforms took away from the food itself. I find it sad and honestly revolting that the managers require such attire. I am also just as shocked that women, especially those who visibly seemed uncomfortable in their uniform agreed to such standards. It may be men in power who create derogatory standards against women but it’s also women who keep these stereotypes and roles alive by allowing men to degrade them and make them a sexual object.
Throughout this week I have taken a closer look to see how gender plays a part in our everyday lives. It wasn’t until this week that I took the time to really consider how much gender effects us, our actions and others around us. I am thankful to be where I am today and to see so much growth and change over the years—for example the legalization of gay marriage. But this is not enough. It is not enough for it to be ok for us to be confined to our gender norms, it’s not ok for people to use gender as a justification for our actions. I remember growing up in a family of 5 girls how my parents used to be so strict with us about the way we dressed because they were only trying to protect us. Protect us from what? is what I thought as a girl growing up. I can see that even today it is men who can have the ability to control what women wear, turning them into sexual objects but then turn around to use it as an excuse for their actions. I think about the clothes girls wear like the short shorts that are ripped and most likely showing off some of the butt cheeks and how when we see that we ask why is she wearing those? She looks slutty. If you think about it more in depth it is men who are often the ones in leadership who have a say in the design of clothes, men who have a say in what is sold to these girls, men who encourage girls to show off their bodies and then men who find reasons to objectify them. Our bodies from the way they appear to the way we dress are influenced greatly by our surroundings. What we see in the media or when we see others wearing something out on the streets it encourages girls to think that that is the way we ought to be dressing. Especially for young girls these decisions are made subconsciously. This journal was a great way for me to take a step back and look at how the decisions I make in my own life are so greatly determined by my gender and the roles society holds for me. I would like to continue to keep such record of encounters. I have also noticed that even within our country the different cultures and locations within can play an important part in the way gender roles are placed and conformed. I think it would be very interesting to see how my encounters with gender roles in my daily life at Tech are different from ones’ back home in New Hampshire.