Thursday, April 23, 2009
When many people approach a bar, they rarely think about the gender of their bartender. They merely await the arrival of their alcoholic beverage. Most people don't wonder if the gender of the bartender affected their decision to order a drink or if the bartender is a form of advertisement. Although many women and men are bartenders, but want to explore the experiences of female bartenders. Our group would like to unearth any factors of gender that may contribute to the bartending profession. This is a feminist issue because feminists strive for equality and women and men should be treated equally at their jobs.
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of our research is to determine if female bartenders face any sexism or other forms of discrimination in their profession. We want to know if female bartenders have certain job requirements, such as attire, attitude, or behaviors that male bartenders are not obligated to fulfill. Our main goal is to discover if they are treated differently from their male counterparts by their bosses or the customers. If the female bartenders are treated differently, we want to identify how and why female bartenders are treated differently from male bartenders. We interviewed two females to learn about the female perspective of bartending. We also interviewed one male bartender to prevent any bias and to get a male perspective of gender factors in bartending. We interviewed one female bartender named Katie from Walker’s Pub. We interviewed another female bartender named Haley from Pauley’s Pub. We interviewed a male bartender named Matt from Wild Wings Cafe.
Katie is a bartender at Walker's Pub. She chose to be a bartender because she needed a part time job. When we asked her if she had to adhere to a specific dress code, she replied no. However, as a personal guideline for herself, she never wears any clothing that she feels would be "scandalous." In her previous bartending jobs, Katie felt that her gender helped her get her job, yet she does not feel that gender helped her get her current job. Katie does feel that she is treated differently than male bartenders by customers. She says that male customers usually tip her more and tend to flirt outrageously with her. As we sat and observed, we watched two male customers entering te bar and going straight to her. We also observed that as they flirted with her, she played along and she ended up with a big tip.
Haley is a bartender at Pauley's Pub. She chose to be a bartender because she had worked as a waitress and said she liked the type of environment. Haley said that all bartenders at her job were only required to wear something presentable to work. Haley added that her appearance helped her convince other men to buy more alcohol and better alcohol. Haley admits that she believes her gender helped her get her job. Haley also feels that customers treat her differently from male bartenders because she receives more tips and gets hit on frequently. She also says that her boss treats opposite sexes differently; her boss makes fun of her for not knowing about beer. She also admitted that to get a better tip, she has to flirt with the male customers, and that she enjoys her job because of the social interactions. On the more positive side, she gets paid at least a hundred dollars a day from customers' tips.
Matt works at Wild Wings Cafe and previously worked at a bar-rack. He mentioned that only males get his job because his job also requires heaving lifting. Matt said males are required to wear a collared shirt with the Wild Wing emblem located somewhere on the shirt, while females are allowed to wear t-shirts if they desire to do so. Matt stated that customers treat opposite sexes differently by showing more tolerance towards females than males.
Our interviews showed that there is discrimination in the bartender field. Females are sometimes hired based on their gender. They may also be refused a job because they are female. Matt's comment about women not being hired for a lifting job is an example of women being excluded based on stereotypes about women. Women are believed to be weak and men are believed to be strong. The dress code does not appear to be a gender issue; however, as Haley admits, her attire can affect sales. All the bartenders, male and female, agreed that their attire does affect alcohol sales. All of the bartenders like their job, but they all hate dealing with drunk, annoying people, because they are always flirting with them, but they tend to get more tips and they love interacting with people. They all also agreed that since Athens is a small town, they do not have as many requirements as the city bars.
Our group is not surprised by the results of the interviews. We predicted that female and male bartenders were treated differently in the workplace. We were surprised that there was not a serious gender issue with the dress code. We find it refreshing that the female bartenders enjoy their jobs just as the male bartenders and do not feel oppressed by their jobs.