“Accidental” Sexism in the Service Industry

Most of the time, it’s not an accident.

Katelyn Kemmerle
Jul 18, 2019 · 5 min read
Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

As a young girl in the service industry, unfortunately, experiencing sexism is basically a part of my job description. I work in a movie theatre as a part of an all-white, all-male (except for me, obviously) management team, and the customers never let me forget it. Every time someone asks me “Can I speak to your boss, please?” or “Are you the manager?” — even when I’m standing behind customer service in a suit jacket — I die a little bit inside. They always give my coworkers more respect, stand up straighter when they introduce themselves, or listen to them when they repeat the exact thing that I just told them. For the most part, I don’t think it’s on purpose. Of course, there have been a handful of unpleasant guests that have made their prejudice against women evident, but most of the time, I think it’s purely accidental.

“Oh, I thought he was the manager.”

“I’m not going to sit here and listen to a little girl standing behind a desk.”

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way. He’s actually a really nice guy!”

After I clocked out that day, I was upset — but not at the blatant sexism from my superior. It was more so the fact that my coworkers didn’t see anything wrong in how he acted towards me. It’s hard feeling patronized by someone in a position much higher than you, but it’s even worse when it comes from the people on the same level as me.

Whether prejudice is on purpose or “accidental”, it still cuts just as deep. Why is it such a wild idea that I, a twenty-something year old woman, can be a supervisor? Or enforce policy just the same as my male counterparts? Or shake the hand of my district manager? Sexism in the service industry will not stop thriving until we take the time to break it with our bare hands. It may take awhile to break into the boys club, but it will happen. We will get there.

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Katelyn Kemmerle

Written by

Just a 24 year old girl trying to navigate life by telling stories and feeding a crippling caffeine addiction. // 120 pounds of muscle, steel and text appeal.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

Katelyn Kemmerle

Written by

Just a 24 year old girl trying to navigate life by telling stories and feeding a crippling caffeine addiction. // 120 pounds of muscle, steel and text appeal.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

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