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Working At Bazooms
Transcript of Working At Bazooms
by Meika Loe
Lee Vallery Introduction & Purpose -Investigation into power, gender and sexuality in the workplace.
-Loe spent six months working in a restaurant she calls "Bazooms" and uses participant observation and interviews to compile her research.
-She wanted to examine the dynamics of power, gender and sexuality as they operate in the Bazooms workplace.
*This relates to Chapter 12 in that it deals with intersectionality, because she chose to look at gender along with power and sexualization instead of looking at these things in isolation. Getting to know Bazooms -Commonly described as a "family restaurant" and "titillating sports bar"
-The name "Bazooms" is described as a euphemism for what "brings a gleam into men's eyes everywhere besides beer and chicken and an occasional winning football team."
-Fastest growing restaurant chain in the nation as of 1994. -When interviewing for the position at Bazooms, Loe was told the "Bazooms girl" is what the restaurant revolves around.
-The "Bazooms Girl" is a food server, bartender, hostess, table busser, promo girl and more.
-She was shown a picture of a busty blonde in a tight top and short shorts leaning seductively over a plate of buffalo wings and asked if she felt comfortable with the uniform.
-The Bazooms girls isn't only a server, but she's a performer. To make things "fun" management gives the girls hoola hoops to play with in between orders.
-60 out of 800 girls in Loe's group were chosen, most of which were blonde, thin, and white and SOME black and Chicana.
*This, along with the main idea of the article relates to Ch 12 because the author obviously alludes that the women at Bazooms are treated unequally by the upper male management because of their gender, as well as the concept of glass ceiling, because the girls begin their job with a specific job in which they don't have mobility to change because of their gender. Formal Job Based Power -Formal Power: Gender and management are reflected in management structure.
For example four men manage over one hundred employees, only 40 male kitchen workers.
-Both franchise owners and founders are all male. This isn't rare, though.
-Management is formal and has the last word on everything from breaks to scheduling.
-An example of this would be Jump Start meetings.
-Female's job is on the line constantly, menu test.
*This relates to Ch 12 because by dominating every aspect of the girl's lives even the minute details, they are reinforcing gender -role socialization through gender displays of fun sexy girls who are at your service and by the fact that girls are only hired as waitresses, not kitchen staff. Informal Job Based Power -Male managers also sustain dominance in subtle ways.
-Informal Power: Use of derogatory terms, disciplinary action, threats and general avoidance of waitresses concerns.
-One big example of this is calling the 18-29 year old servers girls. Everyone knows that they wouldn't call the male managers or kitchen staff boys. This maintains dominance by management and customers.
-Another way is to make humiliating remarks about appearance during a shift. Behavior Rules The following is the Bazooms Girls Guidelines from the employee handbook:
-Wholesome-looking, All American cheerleading types. Prom-like appearance.
-Hair should always be styled. The girls are always "on stage" and should be camera ready.
-Make up needs to be worn. It should not be excessive and at the same time it needs to highlight.
-Always smiling, extremely friendly.
-Always should appear to having a great time.
-Due to these expectations the girls are always adapting to the man's expectations. Emotional Labor -Gendered workplace demands more than manipulation of behavior and appearance.
-Arlie Horchschild's ethnography shows another type of labor that is present in female dominated occupations, Emotional Labor.
-Emotional Labor: requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain outward countenance that produces a desired state of mind.
-Thus, emotion workers must "display" an image that is determined by management and over time comes to relate to the feeling.
-Overtime become estranged from true feelings.
"Always on stage"
-Marines example. This illustrates Ch 12's gender roles because women are supposed to be nice and soft, not ill-tempered.
-Even with angry customers you must "kill them with kindness" even though managers who are male are more able to combat rudeness. The Bazoom Sexualized Workplace -Bazooms doesn't hide that sexuality is a secret to it's success.
-In the sexual harassment wavier the girls must sign says they are aware that they are employed by an establishment based on female sex appeal.
-Sex appeal is great marketing because it applies to 85% of Bazoom's customers, which are male.
-Even the founder was a Florida football player in the 80's who just wanted "a mildly profitable excuse for swilling beer and ogling blondes"
-Thus the premise of Bazooms is based on women's bodies. Customer Treatment -One customer told her she was "too wholesome" to work at Bazooms, and not "slutty enough"
-Another man called her over to tell her, "I've been watching you all night and I think you have to be the most innocent looking girl here. That must mean you have a wild side and I like that."
-When a man showed interest in buying a t-shirt Loe asked him to come over so she could show him something, to which he replied, "I'll tell you what I'd like to see" and threw a dollar at her.
-Customers perform masculine rituals such as challenging each other to drink a lot, flirting with waitresses, and requesting hoola-hooping.
*This is similar to the video with chapter 12 in which the men show masculinity by drinking a lot and "keeping pace" Sexual Harassment & Joking -Joking is commonly a powerful force in the workplace.
-Comments such as "I'd like to be in the shower with all of you right now" aren't incredibly common but are not taboo.
-Appropriate conduct according to Forbes Magazine includes winking, leering, nudging, and smirking.
-Waitresses agree that the atmosphere creates a more open environment for comments and acts you wouldn't see at places like Denny's or Wingers.
-Environment lead by customers, management and even girls creates an environment where women are degraded in jest.
-Women who have "female jobs" are less likely to report harassment because it's part of the job. Ways to Undermine the Power and Combat Harassment. -Gossip: Waitresses express negative sentiment toward management to each other and bond forming shared resistance.
-This makes them more empowered to directly go against the power structure.
-Hair and Bathroom Break Examples.
-Even with this resistance, management still holds the power. Conclusion -More than a restaurant. It's a stage in which drama's of power, gender and sexuality are played out. A place in which women play a subordinate role.
-Bazooms girls are hired to put on a specific performance and at Bazooms they are constrained by a formal script they must follow.
-Women are limited greatly because they are treated as objects in an intense sexually charged atmosphere.
-Bazooms girls are not helpless performers. They are women struggling to find their roles, and rewrite the script.
-Women also turn the objectification into profit by playing up roles to get tips, and support families.
-Mainly, these waitresses do not idly sit by and let themselves be mistreated, they subtly challenge roles and try to change them in an atmosphere where they are degraded.
*This relates to the idea in Ch 12 that sex and gender are artificial and social constructions subject to change. Questions 1.) Do you think that "emotional labor" is a demand in most jobs, or specifically jobs where women are objectified and dominated?
2.) Do you think that women put themselves in a position by working at Bazooms where they will be sexually harassed more so than at other jobs?
3.) Do you think that by playing up their role for personal gain these women are allowing themselves to be objectified?
4.) Why do you think the managers prefer inexperienced 18-29 year old females? The Bazooms Girl