Feminism | Posted by Crystal on 04/25/2012
How Do I Deal With Sexual Harassment?
I work as a bagger in a grocery store where the majority of my co-workers are male. Ever heard someone say something like, “To him, women are just a piece of meat?” Well, that’s the mentality of most guys at my work place.
The men at my workplace discuss women a lot. They have a phrase for them even: they call women “burgers.” Often when a few guys are on break or about to get off work, they talk with the other guys about how they are going to go get some “burgers.” Then they discuss what they want on their “burgers.” Lettuce for pubic hair. Bacon for under age of consent. Toasted bun if they want the girl to be intoxicated. And so on. If they do something to those women that makes them emotional, which I can only imagine is something awful, they call it “leaving a mess” for the next guy.
Because I do not live in a city, and have not had many jobs, this is new to me. We recently had to watch videos on sexual harassment at work, but the sexual harassment has not stopped, nor has anything real been done to counter this problem. It makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me shake with rage. It makes me tear up at the fact that these guys have so little respect for women that they really believe that they are only meat to be consumed. Rarely are any of my co-workers over the age of 22, but the older ones indoctrinate the younger ones, who are often as young as 16. It’s so upsetting to me that they speak like this and that they don’t care if I am around to hear it. It’s so frustrating not to be able to tell anyone, because I know all that will happen is another round of educational films that will just be ignored.
On the rare occasion that I do tell anyone about it, I get the age old “boys will be boys” or “So? Aren’t they allowed to have their sexuality?” It’s so very frustrating to have to explain dehumanization to every person I seek advice from. How has anyone dealt with this situation? How can I deal with it when all I want to do is quit, yet do not have the luxury of being able to lose my job over this, nor a boss that will do anything with my plea for attention to this situation?
To know that to these men I am nothing if I am not attractive, and if I am attractive then I am meat, scares me. To them, women are not human. Not people that exist and have lives of their own, feelings and beliefs. They are “burgers” to be consumed by their sexual appetites and left to be someone else’s “mess.”
I fear what will happen if I bring this up to a manager since some of them are also in that group that uses “burger” lingo. If I am less than human now, without having done anything more than just existing, what more will I be to them but a target if I do speak up?
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