Girls share the sexist BS they’ve put up with whilst working behind a bar
One girl was told by a customer she should stay down on her knees where she belonged
A 25-year-old woman shared her experiences today of working in a bar in Parliament. She spoke of how 30 MPs "hounded" her for sex and how she was regularly groped on shift.
But for any girl who has worked behind a bar, this isn't particularly shocking – in fact, it's so expected you would think landlord's would put it in the job description. Sexist comments from wrinkly old men as well as younger locals are common place. Feeling harassed, being told you've got a nice pair of tits, having to tell people that yes, you're only 21 with boobs this big, is apparently all part of the job.
But it's bullshit! We spoke to 12 girls age 18-25 about their experiences of sexism whilst working behind the bar.
Having your boobs grabbed because apparently anything goes
In any other job, grabbing a woman's boob or bum whilst she was working would cause outrage – but for some reason if you're a barmaid, it's all okay because you should be able to weigh up being molested as clean, friendly banter. Emily worked at a golf club, where she was regularly grabbed. She said: "One of the old men there literally came up to me and put his hands over my boobs and pretended to grab them, I was 16 – it was disgusting."
Bending down to the lower shelves because the customer "can't decide what they want"
It's unlikely they want a J2O, or a smaller glass, or to see the packaging on that random Belgium beer which is at the back of the fridge, but they're asking you anyway so they can check out your bum for as long as possible. Mared said: "When I was around 17 there was a group of builders who always came into the pub I was working at after they’d finished their day, and they’d always ask me to get them drinks from the lowest shelves, then change their minds and make me get a different one."
Helena added: "Whenever I bend down to get something out of the fridge or to put away glasses you can just feel guys eyes on you."
Being called by anything but your name
It might be unintentional, but there's nothing more uncomfortable than being called "love" by someone you don't know.
Zoe, who has been a bartender for over a year now, commented: "Guys always call me 'sweetie', 'babe' or 'babygirl' – it's gross."
And then being told you should smile more
Hannah added: "I've been told I would look much prettier if I smiled, which is kind of difficult to do when you're constantly finding the people you're serving unpleasant."
"No guy bartender I’ve been working with ever gets told to 'smile honey!'", Zoe said.
Having your outfit rated depending on how much it hugs your curves
Some punters get confused between appropriate and inappropriate compliments. Saying they like your top is fine, but judging your top on how well it fits your boobs and whether they look bigger today is not okay. Hollie said: " The bar didn’t have a uniform, and every time I’d come in to work the regulars would rate my outfit, based on how good they thought my 'tits and arse' looked. I’d also get comments like 'you’re wearing that short skirt for me, aren’t you love'".
Mared added a group of regulars would come to the bar she was working at to offer some fashion advice, based on the size of her boobs. She said: "I’d get asked if I was single, and sometimes told 'woah, you have a great rack on you, wear something more revealing!'"
Being asked to give a lap dance when you're just trying to dry the glasses
Some girls have even experienced being treated like the bar they work at is a strip club. Aside from being told "nice lipstick, I wish I could have it on my lips", Tyler said: "A man pulled me to the side and actually asked how much it would be for a lap dance. He was being deadly serious."
Or being told to "stay on your knees"
Hayley said: "I was doing the bar stock up when I was 16 with my manager and this vile bloke came up behind the bar and said to my manager 'oh good, keeping her down on her knees where she should be'. Needless to say, he got bared."
Constantly being asked whether you have a boyfriend
Hannah said: "I've had customers ask me if I have a boyfriend. When I've said yes, and obviously they've made no headway flirting with me, they say I wasn't that good looking anyway."
Getting stick from female customers because apparently 'women don't belong behind the bar'
Stuck in the 1950s, some women don't think other women should lift a finger unless it's to cook, sew and clean. Sian experienced one woman who flat out refused to let Sian serve her because "women shouldn't be bartenders – a man would serve me better". Even when the male bartender got the drink wrong, it was somehow Sian's fault.
Apparently girls can't drink beer, so can't make any recommendations
If you like beer or ale and you have a vagina, don't make a judgement about which one tastes best because you're wrong!!! Apparently men should drink one set of drinks, and girls another, according to a customer Charlotte served who told her "you don’t look like the sort to drink beer?" and "girls don’t drink cask?!", when recommending a drink.
Getting tuts from men when your pour their pint 'incorrectly'
To men, one small mistake like not letting the Guinness settle for the amount of time they want, or not getting the prime head on a Grolsch head is simply something women will never be able to master. Grace told us: "When I worked at a bar it was as if I, and the whole female population, where incapable of pouring a pint correctly. Men would always tut and moan whilst they reluctantly handed their money over."
The men being forced to work in the back whilst the girls work out front
Landlords often insist women work in the front whilst the men work in the back, because apparently having a penis means regular punters won't want to buy pints. Katie was 16 when she worked in a bar, and was made to stay front of house until 2am alongside the other young female staff.
Lucy added: "I was forced by my landlord to stop cleaning out back because he needed 'someone attractive' to pour the pints."
The never ending comments about bums and boobs
Despite some girls working in bars when they're 16, customers still feel it's okay to comment about your appearance – and any backlash you give them comes across as "rude" and could potentially get you fired. Katie said: "I had my breasts and arse rated out of ten on several occasions, and telling customers that was inappropriate because I was 16, or because it was harassment landed me in trouble for being rude. I used to try and hide for relief in the single female toilet, and had drunken customers try to follow me in on more than one occasion."
Sian said: "Every guy always thinks it's ok to comment on my boobs, or my bum. It's got to the point I have to laugh it off."