What now for waitresses and waiters?

Now that John Key seems to have adequately dealt with his hair pulling embarrassment what now for the focus of the issue, the way waiting staff are treated by customers and by employers?

One waitress has spoken out, but in doing so she created a political shit fight. And she became the target of an offensive defense that tried to paint her as the problem, not the victim.

Sometimes amongst the noise and sheep herding there can be interesting discussions at The Standard.

Mandy Hager’s post Pull the other one… ponytails, minimisation and male privilege is worth reading as a fairly feminine perspective. Perhaps a bit too feminine good/masculine bad but she makes some points worth debating.

On this post is a good comment thread, started by Colonial Rawshark (who’s name is still promoting the hacking of political opponents but that’s another story).

So, after several days of ongoing disgust, outrage, screaming and shouting, what courageous and concrete steps has the Political Left proposed to empower vulnerable and poorly paid service employees and contractors who find themselves in bad work situations?

What gutsy legislation, regulation, unionisation and other changes with real teeth has the Left proposed to enable vulnerable workers to fight back hard against bad treatment by customers, employers and media organisations?

Indeed has there been anything more substantial and concrete than ‘that’s disgusting, disappointing and an indictment of entrenched male power and privilege in our society’? No?

The Left couldn’t even get its shit together in the first day or two after the original story broke to protect the young cafe worker in question. Pitiful.

And IMO it’s exactly why, despite all the quite legitimate anger and indignation expressed, the self proclaimed Left is increasingly irrelevant to voters.

Initially this was attacked in the usual way, albeit moderately to a long time Standard leftie.

Stephanie Rodgers tried to dictate what should be talked about, as she often does.

Speaking of “both obvious and unavoided”, congratulations on completely erasing the key aspect of gender from the issue. On a post about how this issue is explicitly gendered, even!

Why not get outraged about the Left failing to take concrete steps to overthrow male entitlement? What about empowering vulnerable women, wherever they work? (The Roger Sutton case rather aptly showed how sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t limited to cafes.)

But I guess that would be terrible, no-one-cares-about-your-side-issues identity politics, wouldn’t it?

And then there was a branch that attacked Colonial Rawshark for not doing enough about what he was talking about himself. A common ‘attack the messenger’ practice.

But then there was some actual addressing of the issues raised. Redlogix:

Well expressed CV. By allowing the debate to be solely framed in misogynist terms, the Right easily fences the issue off into the feminist ghetto of NZ politics.

Which is sad. It’s way more important than this.

I’ve read Mandy’s excellent OP several times now with care. It’s a powerful piece, it emphasises, not just the idiocy of the PM’s behaviour, but the sickening response of so many to not only minimise it, but to attack the victim as well.

And then like you I’m left wondering ‘what next’? Why is the Left so powerless to act? Why when even something as tiny as Cunliffe expressing shame as a man for the violence perpetrated on women – why was that so readily ridiculed and belittled?

When Mandy writes:

There are also the online comments, proof (as if we needed it) that there is a deep seething underbelly of misogyny out there – and that issues of appropriateness, sexual intimidation, abuse of power and minimization of women’s complaints are not only misunderstood but carry no weight at all to a significant proportion of our population.

I am quite certain this is a subjective truth and reality for Mandy, yet when you are effectively telling half the population that they ‘hate women’ – something has gone badly wrong. This is not a vote winner if nothing else.

After 40 or more years of feminism, why is there so much misunderstanding, suspicion, and downright loathing in some quarters, between the genders? As this incident and it’s attendant blowback has demonstrated – it doesn’t seem to have taken us anywhere constructive.

There’s a good discussion on that, but it includes more attacks and diversions:

‘freedom:

“effectively telling half the population that they ‘hate women’ ”
Quite the contrary. I find the article to be one of the more empowering messages on this blog for sometime. Reminding all of us, regardless of gender, politics or circumstance, we are all responsible and necessary as part of the solution, every day

Marty mars:

sadly what tends to happen now imo is that the discussion will be moved, in oh so reasonable and soft tones, into the other areas – this is, imo, cv and reds way of showing they care about the issues raised in the post itself /sarc and of course they get to talk about themselves and their experience which is just so riveting and important /double sarc

RedLogix:

Your attempt at silencing and shaming is disgusting.

You’re tactics are no different, and lower than those being used by the Henry’s and Hosking’s of this world.

It’s not often that the common attempts to shut up and shame get called, but as an author Redlogix can get away with it. But not without being challenged:

One Anonymous Bloke:

It’s the violence inherent in the system. You’re being oppressed!

RedLogix:

No – marty was doing the derailing thing. Oppression is something altogether different.

But make a joke of it – have a bit of a ‘horse around’ if you like.

Marty mars:

untrue red – I posted a comment to another comment not to you or cv – I did that because I didn’t really want to engage and encourage you to begin the calm dissemination of what you think – I’m not interested, I’d rather hear and learn from women.

weka:

Marty was spot on in naming a dynamic that occurs here. Thanks btw for confirming it, by misusing Bailey’s experience of sexual harrassment by the PM as if that in any way has anything to do with marty commenting to you here. It’s inconceivable to me that you cannot see the power differences, so that just leaves your politics.

The shame is already on you for how you’ve brought yourself into this conversation in the way you often do. Marty just pointed it out.

One Anonymous Bloke, marty mars and weka are frequent members of the shut up and shame brigade.

Back to Colonial Rawshark’s first paragraph.

So, after several days of ongoing disgust, outrage, screaming and shouting, what courageous and concrete steps has the Political Left proposed to empower vulnerable and poorly paid service employees and contractors who find themselves in bad work situations?

The diversions, messenger attacking and shutting up has again prevailed (so far) as that remains unanswered.

It seems that waiters are frequently the target of poor customer behaviour.

Some on the right (it’s been rife at Kiwiblog) have tried to play this down by attacking and trying to discredit the waitress.

And some on the left have failed to address an important issue the hair puling raised.

Political activists are too active trying to wreck their opponents and too often fail to do anything practical to address the problems ordinary people, like waitresses, have to deal with day after day.

What now for waitresses and waiters?

UPDATE: another word from Colonial Rawshark:

My contention is that the Political Left has come forward with plenty of outrage and disgust, but it has not come forward with concrete proposals for change for empowering vulnerable workers victimised by customers or employers (regardless of whether that change is based on gender or on class).

And weka, one of the chief derailers of threads she doesn’t approve of, responded:

I’m sure it is CV. Pity you chose to bring it up in a way guaranteed to derail the thread and track it along the class politics vs gender politics path then.

I have no idea what you mean by the Political Left, but can only assume you are referring in part to authors and commenters here on ts. I’m seeing lots of activism and response to what has happened. Besides, I’m pretty sure that some legislation already exists to protect Bailey (and was ignored by the PM), and that the left wing parties already have policy that would give even more protection.

“regardless”

So take it to OM. This post and thread is about gender.

If the gender police speak then one mustn’t stray from their narrow path of discussion. How not to achieve anything outside one’s bubble.

Another promising discussion squashed. That has happened during the time I put this post together.

Leave a comment

11 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th April 2015

    Frankly I’ve seen more poor behaviour at checkouts than I have in restaurants and cafes. Just as in every other workplace it’s up to management to set and maintain standards and I think most do a pretty good job.

    Reply
  2. kittycatkin

     /  26th April 2015

    Male entitlement be damned. Men alone can be obliged to go to war and risk their lives, Who has ever seen a dustwoman leaping on and off a moving vehicle and a tiny perch ? Who has ever seen a woman removal worker, a woman road worker, a woman doing any of the heavy, horrible jobs that men are expected to do ? Gilda Fitzpatrick has been married for something like 12 years and even if she walks away with nothing else (very likely, I DON’T think) she has a house worth $13,000,000.

    I was a waitress once as a university student and never encountered anything untoward. As a cleaner, I never had any unwanted attention from men (oh, well) but did find myself treated decidedly patronisingly by the women in the offices ! And they were much messier to clean up after than the men, too.

    I believe that, by and large, one is treated in the way that one presents oneself.

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  26th April 2015

      @Kitty. I have always been a big fan of separate bedrooms for couples who live together. It keeps the peace and privacy and longevity in a relationship. There’s heaps of other places inside and outside the house to have sex with each other.

      Reply
  3. kittycatkin

     /  26th April 2015

    Legally obliged to go to war, I mean.

    No woman can be legally obliged to provide for a child that her partner has had by another woman, but men can be legally obliged to provide for another man’s child that their partner has had.

    I’ll believe in male privilege when I hear of women saying to men that they’ll go and investigate the noise and that the men are to stay inside.

    Reply
  4. Concerned Kiwi

     /  26th April 2015

    Pete: I thought you would have had more decency than paying credence to anything a stinking Hager states. They are both treasonous scum and should be taken before the courts.

    Reply
    • I’m prepared to read what anyone has to say and judge the substance rather than pre-judge based on prejudice. I even read what you have to say.

      Reply
    • CK: Court? What happened to a good old fashioned lynch party? You are making me reassess my judgement of the stuff you write as being irrational tosh and instead considering it short-sighted, unimaginative, weak, irrational tosh.

      Reply
  5. Concerned Kiwi

     /  27th April 2015

    dup: Would you have the guts to say that shit to my face . . . like all left-wing scum: No.

    Reply
    • Please don’t misjudge me on assessing what you write. My observations are out of deep and abiding respect. To whit, beware the dangers of “scum.” The propensity to use the word here (and in other places?) could see scummy stuff automatically dripping off the keyboard.

      Reply

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