Cantab Catalogues Shocking Sexism

A Cambridge graduate has attracted media attention after publishing an online account of her experiences of sexism and misogyny at work.

barmaid blog Cambridge graduate Catalogue of a Barmaid misogyny sexism sexual harassment


A recent Cambridge graduate has started a blog to document the sexual and verbal harassment levelled at her in her job as a barmaid.

The anonymous victim, currently working in a pub in central London while studying for a Master’s degree, created Catalogue of a Barmaid to broadcast “the sheer volume of bullshit that I, and others in similar jobs, have to put up with on a daily basis”.

The Cantab lists numerous examples of harassment that she has experienced “on almost every shift” over the past year.

Among the most offensive instances mentioned are “the man who thought he could stare at my chest and comment on my underwear” and another “who thought his ‘I’ve got something hard for you to work on’ innuendo to my 20 year old friend… was ‘just a bit of banter’”.

On another occasion, “a customer who seemed to think that five quid… was too much for two drinks said to my friend ‘and I should be getting a shag too for that price’”.

Explaining why she believes misogynistic comments of this sort are so commonplace, she writes: “Some men think that they can speak however they want to a woman, that sexual remarks are ‘compliments’ and that women’s bodies exist to be critiqued like a car.”

On the subject of her education, the barmaid describes “an experiment” in which she told a “particularly rude customer that I am a Cambridge graduate studying for a Masters. His attitude towards me changed completely because he too had gone to Cambridge.

“I was part of the ‘club’ and that meant that I now deserved to be treated like a human being. Well done Cambridge for letting that particular slime-ball in”.

She explained to The Tab what triggered her decision to publicly air her grievances: “I got in from work one night after a particularly bad week and decided that I needed to write about it as a kind of cathartic exercise.

“Women are expected to tolerate this and men are expected to laugh along when they hear it. I hope that by personalising it and describing how it makes me feel, perhaps just one person might say ‘that’s out of order’ in future”.

The media is currently paying renewed attention to misogyny and sexism, particularly that experienced by younger women at university and in the workplace. The Everyday Sexism Project, for instance, logs peoples’ – though primarily women’s – everyday experiences of sexism, gathered via its Twitter account.

The examples, from the seemingly trivial and largely overlooked to the more overtly outrageous, demonstrate how pervasive and commonplace the problem is.

Despite writing of her own ignorance from her time at Cambridge that misogyny was so widespread, the anonymous victim admits that the university is far from a bastion of gender equality.

Speaking to The Tab she said: “Friends would tell me about mailing lists for college sports groups in which the members would detail their post-swap sexual encounters, usually talking about the women in the most derogatory fashion possible.

“Just listen to the average level of conversation between members of the male drinking societies.”

But, she told The Tab: “Everyone’s Cambridge experience is very different as so much depends on what you choose to get involved in and who your supervisors happen to be”.