My name is Alison and I sell poly-blend dresses and slacks at a mid-level clothing store found in most malls and on most gentrified major thoroughfares across America. While I can’t name the store, I can tell you that we specialize in hyper-saturated button down tops and black slacks for me and bandage dresses and pleather leggings for women. Why do we dress men exclusively like they’re going to work and women like they could be going to work OR THEY COULD BE GOING TO THE CLUB? Because for women, sexuality is a demonstrable, monetized commodity that can be shown but never expressed and for men, it’s an assumed appetite that they can express to their heart’s (crotch’s) content without ever needing to show it.
Some people claim that this is because women want and have more control over their sexual perception in public, and some people claim it’s simply because women are more beautiful creatures. Both of these answers are wrong and condescending. The reason is likely that men are more visual creatures and women receive no respect in modern society and recent political elections demonstrate that a large contingent of the nation’s voters (actually, more specifically the nations non-voters) believe them to be unworthy of public respect.
So how can I work a job like this without feeling terrible? I can’t. I feel terrible every day going into this nightclub of a mall store. But as a woman of color who can barely walk into a proper job interview without getting a HAAAAYYYYY GUUUURLLLLL from the white powersuits interviewing me and ultimately turning me down, I’m forced to take this bullshit retail job until I can find something better.
And for what it’s worth – my male coworkers do, in fact, earn more than me for doing the same work. This is America 2016 and I’m expected to dress like a club girl for a mall job.