Wetherspoons customers out of control but I am told to cover up!

Other | Sunday 1st October 2017 | Amelia

It’s 2017. The world is progressing towards gender equality. It’s cool to think how far we’ve come, but then something always comes along, hits you like a slap in the face, and reminds you just how far we have to go.

This Saturday night I decided to go for a drink with a friend in our local Wetherspoons, this being virtually the only pub we drink in, as we are young and broke and anything not from a corner shop or Wetherspoons is generally out of our budget.

I wore a cropped boob tube and a pair of jeans. I’ve been to ‘Spoons wearing similar or maybe even less clothes plenty of times and never had a problem before, because why would I?

Being a female is all it takes to have men constantly stare at you, chat you up and not take no for an answer. By the time I was at the bar ordering a drink I’d already had two men come up to me, words slurring, and remark on how ‘little’ I am (I’m 4’11 and drunk people just LOVE to remind me of this) which is obviously annoying, but something I’m used to. All women are used to men making unwanted remarks as sadly it’s part and parcel of being female.

When I got back to my table, only a few sips into my pint, a waitress came up to me and asked if I had a jacket or something I could put on to cover myself up. I asked her what she meant, shocked, and she said I needed to cover myself up because I was ‘causing a stir’. I stared at her, gobsmacked, all I could say was ‘Why?’ and that I didn’t understand. I wish I’d have said something more but I was truly in a state of shock. She stood there until I picked my jacket up off the table. I held it up to me but didn’t put it on. Why should I, after all?

A minute or two later a male manager came up to me to discuss the same issue, and I said I couldn’t believe what I had just been told. He went on to tell me I was half naked, causing looks and complaints and that he was just ‘trying to prevent something happening’. After the half naked comment, I asked him if had he never seen a girl in a crop top before and he told me ‘not in a pub with men in it at 9pm.’

Just because my stomach and shoulders are exposed makes it my fault that I’m getting unwanted male attention? The only people responsible for the way that men act towards women are the men doing it themselves, regardless of the way a woman may be dressed. Why can we not get this into our heads?

A girl in a crop top, minding her own business, going back to her table versus men staring, making unwanted remarks, attempting to flirt and ‘complaining to staff’, and it’s the girl who gets in trouble. It doesn’t make sense.

I’m not thinking this is groundbreaking or newsworthy because the saddest thing is that this happens every day. Women are constantly made to feel guilty for the way they look, or are looked at, or acted towards. Made to feel guilty for men’s actions which are totally out of their control.

We seem to have a ‘she was asking for it’ mentality drilled into us and guilt and institutional sexism are used as tools to keep us quiet and make us feel small and inferior.

I may be small but I am not inferior and I won’t stay quiet.