Imagine you’re a waitress. Your job is to wait on people, serve them drinks, bring them food and try to make sure you don’t slip and fall flat on your face. This all sounds a lot harder than it seems, believe me. The last thing you want to be worrying about as you carry a tray full of chips and guac is whether you dress is too tight or too short and ‘Can people see what I’m wearing underneath?’ Unfortunately, this problem is all too real for some people.
A week ago, CBC broke a story about a well-known Toronto-based restaurant that had recently changed its uniform requirements for all employees. Instead of the traditional black polo, black pants and black shoes getup, the men were to wear jeans, a button-down shirt and sneakers. The ladies, however, were subject to a much more drastic change – a tight, form fitting and extremely short blue dress – that they had to buy from their employer with their own money.
There are so many problems with the change of uniform requirements but let’s focus on the real issue at hand: the over-sexualization of women. These employees were being given the message that the best thing that women have to offer is their appearance. And, if looking “sexy” (whether you are uncomfortable or not) will bring in more money, some employers will push for it.
Why was this particular story being told, though? Plenty of restaurants and bars already have their women servers and waitresses wearing skimpy clothes. The story came to light because one of the waitresses affected by this change was said no; she took a stand. She refused to wear the short, tight dress and in doing so, stood up against the oversexualization of women. In our society today, we need more women like that, more people who are willing to fight for the equal dignity of men and women.
The worth of a woman is not determined by how little clothes she wears or how much she is revealing. Yet, that is all we keep hearing and all we will continue to hear unless more people stand up and speak out. So, this is an invitation to all of you reading this. Do not conform to the standards set by society. Speak out. Be courageous.
Thankfully, the restaurant rescinded its new uniform policy and went back to the all-black ensemble. Good result happened because people took a stand.
It’s 2015. Women should not be treated this way. What are you going to do about it?