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Sexual harassment in the workplace is nothing new nowadays. It is quite unfortunate that men and women everywhere have to change the way they look, or cover up more just so people don’t advance them.
Some people don’t even have to change anything about their appearance, or could be in the most basic work uniform, and they would still have terribly grotesque comments made about their walk or their body.
It’s 2019, you think people would learn that it’s not okay to make obnoxious remarks about someone’s body. You can call them “compliments” all you want, but my body should not be a topic for our conversation when I’m cashing out your transaction.
Hello, my name is Sierra and I currently work at an undisclosed gas station slash convenience store location. I have been working there since August of 2018 and in just the few months I have been there I have been stared down, catcalled, and had several advancements made towards me by several men. These men can be anywhere from the ages of 27 to even an instance with a 75-year-old.
Now working at a gas station in a not so well off area isn’t the best thing in the world, I will agree. But I’m only 20 and I needed a job. It’s close to my house, and my best friend is one of my co-workers, so what could be so terrible about it?
I first noticed that sexual innuendoes and advancements would be a problem for me in my first two weeks of employment.
As I was doing a man's transaction on the register, he had asked for a pack of cigarettes, I had to turn to the wall behind me to grab them for him.
As I turned back to him he smiled at me, leaned forward on the counter, and spoke, “You must be new here because I haven't seen curves on a white girl like that in a while, you doing your job well, baby girl.”
He then handed me his money, as I stayed silent in utter shock, I handed him his change, he winked at me, and left.
I was so shocked at what just happened I left my register to go get a drink of water because I felt like I needed to cleanse myself somehow.
Unfortunately, this was just the first of several instances to happen with guys like this.
I could write a whole five hundred page novel about all the instances that have happened to just me at my job. I could make it an eight-part series when I include my female coworkers.
Look, I know when a compliment is a compliment, but I also know when someone thinks my body is there for their enjoyment. (Which it NEVER is, thank you.)
I have had several men tell me “thank you” for my body, or that I have been doing a “great job” with how I look. Almost as if I am here for them too enjoy. (Which for your information, I am most absolutely not, thank you very much.) It scares me to think that men in this day and age can still think that.
I go to my job every day to earn an honest living, to be able to do the things I enjoy doing. I do not in any circumstances go to my job to please some man with the way I look. I do not get my weekly paycheck because I smile when some man who advances my body makes a sick comment about what he wants to do with it.
To quote one of my favorite Instagram photos of all time, “Straight men understand consent when they go into a gay bar.” It was said by artist Michael James Schneider.
So, hello to all men out there who think it is okay to sexually advance a woman in her workplace. Think again.
You wouldn’t say this stuff if your mother was around you, would you? God, I hope you wouldn’t.
Would your father be proud to know you treat women as toys? If he is, I pray both of you to find a woman that will put you right on your ass.
Please think next time you say something about a young woman’s body. Would you want someone saying something that derogatory to your sister at her workplace? I really hope you wouldn’t.
It’s 2019, let’s make people smile with actual compliments and good jokes. Not gross slang and degrading commentary. Thank you very much, all. :)