Women, especially trans women and women of color, tend to be hyper sexualized in society. This unfortunately happens even in the workplace today in 2021.
One young woman found herself at odds with her boss when her walk sexualized. The Redditor lupinloopin turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some objective thoughts on the workplace conflict.
“AITA for not changing how I walk?”
The original poster (OP) went into her own difficulty with an employer explaining:
“I -19f- work in a furniture store, I’ve been here about a month. My boss recently called me into the office and asked me to fix my walk as it’s quite ‘suggestive?’”
”I asked what she meant and she told me that I know what my body looks like and that walking the way I do brings attention to my bum. I told her I can’t help this as I have larger hips and it’ll always make my bum stick out and that no matter what it’ll look odd.”
”She told me to try hunching a little when I walk just to help things and I did try it for a few day, but it didn’t feel good and made my back hurt, so I went back to walking correctly.”
Yes you read that correctly, her boss wanted her to remain hunched over when walking to look less attractive…
”Yesterday she said she was disappointed that I’m still drawing this kind of attention to myself and that it’s not ladylike. Am I the asshole?”
A brief update later that day from the OP showed she lost her job over her walk.
6hr update: Thank you to everyone. Things didn’t go so well. I wrote this before my shift started and when I got in she asked me into the office and she fired me. She said I had the choice to be a professional or a distraction and she said it’s clear I’ve made my choice. I’ll be looking for work soon, but thanks to everyone for the kind messages.”
Redditors were asked what they thought by deciding:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
OP was not only found to be NTA but Redditors suggested she try for a legal consult regarding her harassing boss.
“NTA. This is sexual-harassment. If a man were saying it to you, would you even think twice about that?”
“Tell her that her comments are making you feel very uncomfortable and ashamed of your physique, for something you cannot help.”
“She has no right to talk to you that way. Hopefully, she will take the hint and realize that she has crossed a line.”~GreenEyedKittyCat
“NTA I’m so sorry someone is treating you this way. You don’t look ‘odd’—you look like you, in your body, the way it is shaped. There’s nothing suggestive about it—your boss is sexualizing you, which is completely inappropriate. I would definitely look for another job if you can, since it doesn’t sound like you have any HR department to go to.”
”Meanwhile, stand up for yourself by letting her know that you’re not going to change your walk, which is just the way your body moves, to please her, and that her asking you to makes you very uncomfortable. If she’s on the reasonable end, hopefully she’ll hear that and back off—if not, she’s pretty crazy and I’d get away if you can. Good luck!”~warmgreyverylight
“NTA, and your boss is being misogynistic as hell. Doesn’t matter that she’s also a woman, the way you walk is the way you walk, and who would go out of their way to walk ‘suggestively’ in a furniture store?”
”Who does she think you’re trying to impress, the china cabinets and sectionals? Giving that collection of side tables on clearance some thrills, are you? 🙄”
“Since you’re 19, I’m guessing your a conventionally attractive young woman with a nice figure, and the mere fact of being attractive and existing in the world is going to result in certain kind of attention.”
”Most of it is positive or neutral, with someone noticing that you are good-looking but then going about their day and not bothering you. Negative attention (like this incident and what your boss thinks she’s warning you against) unfortunately can be part of it also, but IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.”
”You can’t always influence others’ actions, but don’t you dare let yourself believe that negative or unwanted attention you get based on how you look is in any way your fault. You have every right to exist in the world and go about your business without being hassled.”
“Next time your manager comments on your body, just flat out tell her to stop. Don’t ask her nicely, look her in the eye and tell her, ‘Please stop making comments on my body,’ in a firm tone.”
”If she continues, either talk to your HR person if there is one, or go above her to her boss. If nothing happens and she still won’t stop making inappropriate comments, then maybe it’s time to find a new job in a less hostile work environment.”~Katt_ler
“And it might be bigotry as well, depending on OP’s race. Black & Latine women get hit with this kind of nonsense a lot, because racist society grinds all of us in the stereotype of the ‘hot mama Latina’ and the ‘Jezebel’ who’s so sexy that people need to be protected from her — resulting in Black girls being treated as adults long before they actually are and even prepubescent children being accused of intentionally being sexually provocative.”
“Just for living in the bodies they were born in. I hope you do pursue a lawsuit, OP. I know some states are “at will” and you can be fired for any reason, but that doesn’t excuse gender policing, racism, and sexual harassment. NTA!”~affictionitis
“NTA. That’s sexual harassment and you should report it ASAP. Get a lawyer if you can, many take sexual harassment suits for free.”~-Quaint-
It is not ok to make comments about others bodies, especially in the workplace. Full stop.