Many of the jobs, schools, and religious organizations I have been a part of have also stressed the idea of clinging to conventional gender roles. In my high school, there was not a large variation in the types of people that attended. There was a strong push to be feminine andpretty for girls and to be athletic and masculine for boys, as there is in every high school. Our conservative town would seriously emotionally abuse people who strayed from the status quo, which conditioned most of us to conform even more to conventional gender ideals. As for my jobs, all of them have been in the food industry. As a host and guest service representative in a bakery, I have always been told that if we come into work without a full face of make up on we will be sent home. The girls were told that they must try to look inviting and welcoming to guests, which meant that if anyone tried to express themselves through their appearance out ofthe conventional girly form, they would face consequences. Because they were my bosses, I would always comply with this standard and it eventually became the standard in my own mind unintentionally. When people who tried to express themselves differently would appear, I beganto view it as them breaking the rules or the status quo as opposed to my school or jobs breakingthe human code by not allowing self expression. Generally, people in this out group were given less popularity in school and were reprimanded more often at work. Students and employees would get annoyed at their individuality and gripe about the ripple in the otherwise Grill 3
confirmative society it creates. I have actually had very few bosses, teachers, or other authority figures who choose to not comply to gender norms when it comes to appearance. The only example I have is a coach of mine who was a girl but did not hold herself to the standard that most girls do. She was confident, funny, and a great leader, even though she didn’t pride herself on her make up abilities and prettiness. It opened my eyes to the fact that being a successful girldoesn’t come with a requirement to be pretty and bubbly; you can present yourself however you want and still be just as successful.
- Spring '08
- status quo, traditional gender roles