(Vanessa, our main character, grimacing as a customer yells at her as she is carrying a tray)
Vanessa: Being a woman or perceived as female in the service industry can suck.
Customer: Hey, babe, can you bring your sexy smile and another Miller Lite back here!?
Vanessa: Working as a server often means that I am disrespected or assumed lesser than those I am serving (often subconsciously by patrons) and this is doubled by being a woman or perceived feminine. And I know I’m not alone. My trans and non-binary friends have to deal with this misogyny as well. The nature of the industry means that we’re not allowed, or are unable, to stand up to sexism. There’s a whole bunch of examples of sexism within the service industry, but here’s a few. First, and perhaps the biggest problem, is the sexual harassment that female servers can receive…
(Customer slapping Vanessa’s behind)
Text: From customers…
Customer: Hey, shot girl! I’ll take another!
(A chef licking his lips and sneering at Vanessa while she talks to another server)
Text: From co-workers…
Vanessa: Can you grab my plates? Every time I grab my food, the cook licks his lips and leers at me.
(A manager staring inappropriately at Vanessa, little arrows from his eyes to her behind as she walks around the room)
Text: And from management.
Vanessa: Oh, come on.
(Customer talking to Vanessa, while she’s obviously distraught)
Text: Often, servers don’t have support from coworkers or managers, so we get stuck between: sucking it up.
Customer: I’d like to give you a little bit of my tip…heh heh heh.
Vanessa: Ha! Ha! Ha! You are so funny!
(Vanessa angrily yelling at the customer)
Text: Or losing our tip (and maybe our job).
Vanessa: You can’t talk to me that way! That’s sexual harassment, and I don’t have to take it!
Boss: Vanessa! Go into the back and cool off for a bit!
(Boss scrutinizing Vanessa)
Vanessa: Servers are also pressured to look a certain way.
Boss: Why don’t you wear a little bit more makeup, Vanessa? We’re trying to keep professional appearances here.
(Two outfits laid out, a button-up with pants and a button-up with skirt and tights)
Text: This can also happen in terms of sexist uniforms. Pants and tie for men. A skirt and fishnets for women.
(Vanessa talking, in a chef’s hat)
Vanessa: Women make up the majority of tipped positions in the service industry, but rarely get promoted to managerial duties, ownership, or chef positions. We need to think about what gender discrimination looks like within the service industry.
(Simplified figures representing men and women, women in the host and server positions, while men are in the bartender, manager, and cook positions)
Text: Women are often stuck with hosting or serving and there is a segregation of the sexes between front-of-house positions and back-of-house. (And while this comic is focusing on gender discrimination, there’s also a lot of class and race discrimination that is prevalent as well!)
Vanessa: Regardless, I do enjoy my job! I just wish I had a little bit more support!
(Vanessa is holding two papers, one says “Opportunities,” and the other has a $$ sign on it)
Vanessa: To start, support service industry employees in general! Fight for a higher minimum wage and allotted sick days! And if you’re a manager or owner, double check to make sure all employees are given a chance to grow and get new skills, not just male employees.
(Boss is talking to the cook from earlier in the comic)
Vanessa: Also, I wish that managers and co-workers would stand up for me and others when they see something happening, whether that be from each other…
Boss: We need to have a chat about the way you’re making faces and treating the women who work here.
(Boss is talking to the customer who was harassing Vanessa earlier)
Vanessa: …or from customers.
Boss: Excuse me, we don’t allow that sort of language directed to our employees
(Vanessa talking to the customer who slapper her ass earlier in the comic)
Text: Or I won’t get in trouble for standing up for myself
Vanessa: Touch me again, and I’m kicking you outta here.
(A series of servers dressed in the way that they feel comfortable)
Vanessa: Let me and others servers dress in a way that feels comfortable and respectful of how we express ourselves.
Vanessa: When I feel comfortable and confident and know that I am respected and supported by my co-workers and customers, I can be a better server, and we can all eat, drink, and be merry.