Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Masculinity in Small Busines

For the past 11 months, I’ve worked at a small business. I work closely with both my boss and my boss’ husband, and I’ve come to learn a lot about them (and a lot of it isn’t pleasant). Through my time there, masculinity has come up many times, whether it be my boss’ husband trying to humiliate and emasculate other men for enjoying growing flowers and other plants or whether it be me being told by my boss I’m not allowed to carry bags of dog food because they’re too heavy for girls.

In particular, I’d like to discuss the entitlement that dominant, white, and heterosexual masculinity gives men to women. As I said, in my job, I work closely with both my boss and her husband. In the beginning, I felt unsure about both of them, knowing their conservative opinions, but I needed the job so I decided to work through it. However, as I got to know them it got worse. My boss’ husband started to be overly kind to me, trying to act like he was “one of the girls.” This is when he started to give me creepy compliments. He would say things like “you look smoking hot today,” in a half joking, half serious manner. I made sure to look visibly uncomfortable, but they continued. This shows how men feel they have an entitlement to women, and that no matter how uncomfortable they look or act, they can continue their behavior and will face no consequences.

To further talk about my boss’ husband and his particular brand of toxic white masculinity, I experienced my boss’ husband brutally criticize non-white men. He would slander them for their accents, what they were wearing, and basically for existing. (after they would leave the store, of course.) In my opinion, this too exemplifies his white masculinity, and shows that anything that doesn’t conform to the dominant masculinity is ridiculed and slandered.

To conclude, in no way is this representative of all men in small business, it's just my personal experience that I thought I would share. Also, I thought I’d let everyone know that I don't work at that shop anymore, I actually quit right after Donald Trump won became the President Elect. Seeing this brand of dominant masculinity play out before my eyes was both eerily fascinating and horrifying, because there are more men like that everywhere we look, whether we know it or not.

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