Double Standards Need To Change

, , , , , | Working | December 4, 2017

(Every few days, a printing press needs to be shut down and cleaned because the ink spatters all over where it isn’t meant to be. The workers climb inside and wipe everything with solvent-soaked rags. Since it is a messy task, we put on disposable impermeable hooded jumpsuits [Tyveks AKA whitesuits], and since these factories are very hot, it’s common to take off your uniform to keep it free of sweat and solvent, and just go into the whitesuit in your underwear. The change rooms are a pain to get to; you have to cross the entire huge building, go upstairs, and come halfway back. Since it is 99% men working there, sometimes the guys just quickly go down to their boxers in some quiet corner and hope no woman walks by. As one of the rare women, I have to be a bit more private. I slip into this tiny closet that has a urinal in it; no running water, no sink. It is just a urinal that someone has connected to a drain [the bathrooms are too far away, too, so I guess people got desperate]. I have to move very carefully so I don’t get my clothes dirty, but I do it and swiftly get at my cleaning task. Later that day my supervisor calls me into the office and, WITHOUT EVEN CLARIFYING THAT THE GOSSIP HE’s HEARD IS TRUE, starts in on me about my inappropriate behavior.)

Supervisor: “Maybe you like the attention, but it’s not professional to give the guys a ‘show!’”

Me: “Huh?”

Supervisor: “[Guy I thought was my friend] told me! You changed clothes right in the middle of the factory floor instead of in the bathroom or change-room!”

Me: “Yes, I suppose technically I did… INSIDE the urinal closet. Why would I want pervs staring at me?!”

(I never even got an apology from either my boss for assuming the worst about me, or my “friend” for spreading rumors that made me seem indecent. That’s the reward I get for enduring the stench in that little closet, to save the company the ten minutes’ wasted time for me to walk to the proper change-room.)

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