For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

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Barmaid Biography: Dealing with ‘lads banter’ in the workplace
By Daisy Kimpton
a statistic that read '25% of harassment reports were incidents in the workplace'

Whether your barmaid experience is in the pub, a football stadium or a hotel, rolling with the punches of sexist humour becomes part of the job. 

I’ve worked in pubs since I was 15, for the last six years I’ve built a skin thicker than I’d like it to be. I’m almost immune to negative comments about the way I look, dress and speak. 

“To be honest love, if you slapped on a bit of makeup you’d actually be half decent”. 

You probably read that and thought ‘gosh that’s awful, I bet she was so upset, I hope she’s ok’. I wasn’t phased, at all, one bit. Unfortunately I’m used to much worse, this comment was like water off a duck’s back. 

When people discuss or insult my appearance, I brush it off pretty easily. I usually just take a good look at their face. 99% of the time they aren’t exactly channelling Channing Tatum vibes. You also only bring down other people’s appearances if you aren’t happy with the way you look. 

“Better watch this one, take your eyes off her and she’ll be outside stealing the tires off your car”

Classic, heard it all before, very unoriginal. 

Pub culture is littered with inappropriate comments about barmaids. I work in Sheffield and have a slight scouse accent, which as you can imagine, makes me very vulnerable to lads banter. 

Navigating lads banter as a barmaid can often feel like an uphill battle. As soon as a punter warms to you and speaks to you with respect, his arrogant friend rocks up and the disrespect Olympics begin again. 

My biggest piece of advice would be to ask yourself, why would someone else treat another with less respect than they deserve? The answer I’ve concluded is insecurity.

If you’re a man that comes to the pub to tease the barmaid, it’s probably because you’re not able to tease men your own age. You know the barmaid can’t react physically, the way a male peer would. They don’t back themselves over men their own size. It’s pitiful really. 

However, if you’re experiencing abuse and harassment that does feel more than a joke and more than you can handle, please speak to a senior member of staff about it. Furthermore, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or support line.