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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I dress for myself, thanks.

In reading my previous posts, I realized that in my rant on being cold on the golf course, I barely touch on the main issue that I had intended to address. That being the entitlement of (predominantly) men to discuss and critique the clothing I (and presumably other bartenders, waitresses, cart girls) choose to wear when working.

While it is most apparent when I’m wearing too much clothing because I’m cold, I have realized that almost daily I get some kind of un-asked-for comment on my appearance. Most days it may just be a compliment, but after a number of years of receiving these “compliments”, I have learned how to read them. I have learned that when one of my coworkers compliments my shirt, it means that I’m either showing a lot of cleavage or my boobs look really good otherwise. When a certain golfer notices my new pedicure, my legs look really good in whatever skirt/shorts I’m wearing and he needed an excuse to have looked all the way down my legs. I’ve even had a golfer tell my grandmother (they are neighbors and friends) that he approves of how appropriately I am always dressed for work. He may be a friend of my grandma’s, but that doesn’t make him any less of a lecherous jerk.

These men are mostly straightforward, on the hottest days asking “where’s your bikini? Don’t you know you’d make much better tips that way?” On others days, it may be less apparent but is still unsettling. Yes, I am aware that the more skin I show, the better the tips tend to be. Also, as an intelligent, vain female, I also realize that the less clothing I wear, the less tan lines I will get. (I call it cart tan. It’s a cross between a trucker tan and a farmer tan. It’s kind of a farmer tan because of the straps and other lines from whatever clothes I wear, and a kind of trucker tan because my left side is more tan than the right because of the canopy on the cart.) However, I will not expose any more skin than I am comfortable with for the sake of making a little more money. I am a beer cart driver and a bartender. I am not a stripper. (Not that there’s anything wrong with stripping. I’m just not comfortable with it for myself, and therefore do not work at a strip club. I work at a golf course.)

Where do these men feel they have the right? In other jobs, employers may critique (however objectively) the chosen apparel of their employees. That is their right, as far as company representation goes. If I were working customer service of some kind, interacting with said customers and wearing pajamas to work, I would expect and not object to my employer requesting me to represent the company better by dressing appropriately. If I were dressing like a bartender at the same job, I would also appreciate my employer suggesting that s/he is uncomfortable with my provocative appearance while representing my employer. Both are acceptable; I’m not complaining about representation.

What I am uncomfortable with is working at a place that allows me to represent myself how I see fit, because I have proven that my standards fit within my employer’s guidelines, and having customers critique me.

Why do you feel you have the right????

I feel attractive in the clothing I have chosen. I have chosen it for a number of reasons, fashion and my morals being two of the higher points of consideration. I also consider customer preference, to a certain extent, when deciding what to wear. As in, I realize that my customer base at the golf course is predominantly older than me. I choose to not wear anything too trendy to work, because I know they will not appreciate it. However, I am a grown woman, and an employee of the golf course. Customer comments that suggest that I am wearing too much clothing or am too covered are entirely unwelcome and unappreciated.

I don’t receive these comments from the same (type of) men when I’m not working. Do they truly feel that as my employment requires smiling at them and selling them alcohol, they have the right to critique what I am wearing while doing so? For the most part, these men know they need to keep their hands off; those who don’t usually learn quickly. I may flirt with those who have shown they will not overstep any bounds, and converse with most customers. Yet those customers who refuse to realize that I am putting forward an image at work, I am already as dressed for their pleasure as I have chosen for the day. Not only is it out of line to ask me to dress more provocatively, it is also greedy and shows how much control you expect to have on the women around you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Mix of thoughts inspired by Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and Laurell K. Hamilton's "Anita Blake"

The human mind has the potential, the ability to transform and create its own reality. Healing the sick, creating positive options, overcoming weakness in one's own body, all are examples of the ways our positive thoughts influence the world around us, make options available and shape reality according to desires, create potentials. Literature is a creative way for a person to shape their own reality and share it with the people around them. With enough people focusing on aspects of pieces of literature, it is possible that this will change and shape reality. Author, Laurell K. Hamilton has admitted to being shocked at the number of letters she has received from women who have left abusive relationships after reading her series, Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter. These are individuals who have internalized the reality Hamilton posits as fiction, and have created reality for themselves out of it. This reality is one that Laurell K. Hamilton (HAMILTON) and her character, Anita Blake (AB), live in, where women are treated with as much respect as men, are treated as people. The women who have written letters to HAMILTON did not formerly see this as a reality; they may have fantasized about it, but only by believing and thinking positively about the options HAMILTON proposes they should have access to be these women able to create a reality in which they are respected and not abused.

While these letters may focus on the abuse and the encouragement Hamilton provided these individuals with options outside of abuse, what is really being discussed here is the internalization of belief of self-worth. Women are battered daily with images they are expected to relate to of themselves as victims. These images come from commercials and ads to TV shows, movies, books and news. Women are mainly portrayed as victims in these mediums, and the few who step outside of their victimization pay a price; they are ostracized, ridiculed, and further abused. The women who step outside a relationship for help, looking for support from family, the law, the church often find themselves being abused more; offenders will step through whatever bounds are placed in attempts to continue control, or will begin to abuse other parts of her life that she no longer has control over: pets, children, friends, work, social life, sense of freedom. This is when the woman has healthy options outside of this oppressive relationship; often by the time she reaches out for help leaving an abusive situation, she no longer has many healthy options or alternatives to the situation she is in.

Victim blaming is a major aspect of these mediums: society is taught that the woman is to blame for being raped, abused, cut off from society. Often, individuals who find themselves abused are also at a risk of victim blaming, and may find themselves in a trap of blaming themselves for the abuse they have received. Offenders are aware of this tendency in society and individuals, and take advantage of it. As a result, victim blaming has become not only a way of life, a trope we are unable to see through, a tool utilized by offenders: victim blaming has influenced punishment for those who create the victims.

Victims are NEVER to blame. Ever. However, offenders face different types of punishments depending on how much blame can be placed on the victim. Due to an inability on my part to see the system changing, I propose that we work in the opposite way, as Hamilton has done. I would like to suggest that we encourage women to see themselves as human beings, whole, and worth protecting. Victims should no longer be able to have blame placed on them; their situation should be understood. However, in working proactively, I would like to see more women like Laurell K. Hamilton and her character, Anita Blake, valorized. As these women are treated well by their husbands, employers, friends, and challenge those who do not treat them as the humans they are asking to be recognized as, they should be honored and encouraged. Their stories and the many stories like theirs should be shared in the positive light they need, encouraging the victims who encounter these remarkable women to realize that they, too, can be treated as well as Anita Blake. The respect Anita Blake receives should no longer remain something worthy of note: this type of respect should be extended to all people in our society.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cold on the Golf Course

Well guys, this is one day I am very glad to not be out with Beverly. It is 63 degrees here today, which is chilly to me as I sit on the front porch and watch the dogs wrestle. But, trying to make sure the puppy doesn't eat any more of mom's garden. At least she is fenced out of the vegetable garden so we will still have fresh veggies later this summer/ this fall.

I am one committed beer babe. I do not quit under weather conditions that I hear that other girls wouldn't dream of driving around in. True, as soon as I see lightning or the thunder is getting close, I'm gone, but that is because it would be sheer stupidity to stay out in that crap. My job is not worth risking my life for-- I don't have life insurance! lol

But, what drives me crazy is when I get crap from the guys about it. "What, you're cold?!?" "You look a little wet" "Those goosebumps don't match your shirt". Yeah, I'm very cold and very wet. And maybe wearing 2 pairs of long johns under my jeans sounds a little over the top, but I'm still out serving you beer, aren't I?

Anyway, I don't mean to start ranting on here right away. So just take your beer, realize that I'm not doing anything like walking or golfing to keep my blood moving and am digging through ice because you can't decide what kind of beer you want, and it's got to be cold or you'll start bitching. Be glad I'm out, and I don't mind talking about the weather but be nice when I'm bundled up. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friendships and Money/ Tips

I always talk about my "friends" on the golf course. Those whom I consider friends, probably know who you are. The ones who I talk to about my daily life, my education, something other than the weather and whether or not I golf. I am not saying that every golfer is a friend, it’s like anything else. There are people I get along with better than others, I just am more friendly to the people I don't like than I would be if I weren't working for tips.

That being said, it is interesting to talk about my friends on the course to other people, especially guys. First of all, the money/ beer aspect gets in the way of the "friendship". People outside of the course dismiss these relationships because they think these friends only talk to me because otherwise, I might not serve them beer. I am employed by the golf course to provide beer to the golfers. That is what I do, regardless of how I personally feel about them. I do stop and sell drinks to people I don't like as long as they don't harass me.

Or, other people will suggest that perhaps these people are only interested in me sexually or physically. Again, I am aware that some of the men out there are interested in me because I flirt with them. Yet, that is only one minor aspect of these friendships. Sure, I realize that it is an aspect, and that this assumption is very true about some of the golfers. But I am not so dumb as to figure out a good number of these guys. Some of them sneak under the radar, but I can figure out the creepers where that truly is their sole interest. I am also aware that sometiems my friends may get drunk and let the alcohol get to their head. These are the guys who apologize for their inappropriate behavior the next time I see them.

For those who are only interested sexually, I go by what I call the “Coyote Ugly” rule, because it plays such a huge role in the movie and is explained so well by the bar owner: “Always appear available but never be available”. I have been on one date with a golfer, which was awkward. I do not plan on dating golfers, and am not looking for anything from the golfers. Those who think I’m going to see them off the course or outside of the clubhouse are fools.

I sometimes feel like I sell my soul at work: I talk to, flirt with, and smile at people I can’t stand with the goal being making money. However, this pays for my college education, as well as provides me with evidence and motivation to continue to study, (not only in general to get out of this town) but also women’s studies in particular. It also occasionally provides me with hope for changes in society, like the conversation I had yesterday with a man who has seen the importance of studying implications of gender in the school system in an attempt to provide a better education for all students, both boys and girls. That is where most of the changes need to start, and I appreciate men who view it as I do. I tend to feel this hopeful view of general society as well as the motivation to continue to study are worth the bits of my soul that I sell for tips.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Church of 18 Holes, and blessings through a fawn

Sunday, I was asked by a golfer if I had gone to church before I went to work. I have become less of a church-goer as I have gotten older/ matured/ grown. I'm not decided where my beliefs lie at this moment in time, but I do know one thing for sure... they lie with the Romantics-against scientific "rationalization" and value instead emotion as a means of communicating with God. (Thanks @Joel Pace for the education and understanding here).

In this way, I commune with God on a more personal level in nature, including on the golf course. Everybody laughs at me, but the animals there do become a kind of friend. I miss the fox--haven't seen here yet this year and didn't see her much last year. The geese are fun, but noisy and messy, so...

Point here, is the other night I saw a very young fawn. It was the end of my shift, I was taking a semi-scenic route back to the clubhouse to make sure nobody had snuck past me and needed a drink before I was done for the night. As I cut across the 3rd fairway, I almost drove over this little guy, who sat so still I couldn't decide if he was alive or not for a couple heartbeats. If I hadn't seen him take a couple breaths, I would have been very worried. But, no sign of him the next day. I didn't see her, but I'm sure mom was in the trees, waiting for me to leave. As tempting as it was, I did not pet the fawn, knowing that would be the worst thing I could do to it.

So, thank you to whomever is up there, for sending me an "ok" for missing church in the blessing of communing with this fawn for the most brief moment.