GEND 356: The Mind At Work - Building off of Heidi

For this post I will be branching off of points that Heidi brings up in her blog post. 

Heidi asks the question towards the conclusion of her post: "why does [society] put such a stigma on waitresses and other low wage jobs?"  While Rose's main point in his book is to address classism, I would argue that the stigma in waitressing is also partly due to misogyny and/or racism.

As someone who works in food service, I can connect with waitress work at a minor level.  During the busiest times at the RIC Cafe, I have to remember several different drink orders to keep up with the pace of the cashiers.  That shit is not fun, to say the least--and to top it off people treat you like dirt and still expect you to smile.  At least, because I am perceived as a woman.  Which brings me back to misogyny/racism.

Most low wage jobs are occupied by women and Black and Latin@ people--which is really no surprise.  But this only further explains why low-wage jobs are devalued--because it is work deemed fit only for the "undesirables" (aka: anyone who isn't a white man).  These are jobs such as waitressing, housecleaning, landscape, retail, and so on.  On the gender side, we understand that according to Dominant Ideology, women are the caretakers, making them "naturally" suited for waitressing, housecleaning, and childcare.  Similarly, we also code housecleaning, landscape, and so on, as racial work--Latin@s are depicted in the media as occupying these servant-like positions, as are Black people.  Mantsios' "Media Magic" already teaches us the importance of media representation in relation to class structure.  It is only understandable that this also refers to gender and race (as Chang discusses in "Streets of Gold").

So our media constructs women as "caretaker" and Black/Latin@ people as "uneducated" or "physically strong" (in other words, suited for physical labor).  This all works toward shaping an image that marginalized groups are not suited for the White Man's job--or that a White Man is better suited at "better" jobs.  There have been studies to demonstrate that applicants with "White" names are hired more than those with "Black" names--even when Black applicants have better resumes.  This prevents those who occupy marginalized positions from being hired at more desirable (read: higher paying) jobs.  Therefore, due to racism and sexism (and all other "isms," really) class is "Raced" and "Sexed"--meaning lower class individuals tend to occupy marginalized positions because of ideological prejudice.

I think that this is important to keep in mind when reading Rose's book.  Class is also a Race issue, as it is a Gender issue.  Everything is interconnected and you cannot separate it.  While it is important to understand that this kind of work is difficult and requires a great deal of work (I'd like to see a rich person even try to do half the work of the average minimum-wage worker and see how they survive), I think it is equally as important to understand how this work is "Raced" and "Sexed."

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