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Sex and sexism

A few weeks ago, I was pulled aside by one of the stock workers. She said that one of her colleagues had complained about my presence in their changing room while they were changing.

I should point out that pretty much nobody gets undressed, we all put our white, blue, or grey work clothes over top of regular clothes (most of the clean zone is a refridgerated environment). Also, there is no lock on the changing room door. There is a lockable room (the shower) which might be an idea to consider if more privacy is desired?
There are two changing rooms for each gender - a big one for the clean area workers (who wear white), and a smaller one for those who work in the non-clean areas (who wear grey for stock, and blue for maintenance).

I try to avoid the main female changing room during changeover time. Not because it is full of women, but because it is full of women who have zero concept of social distancing. And while it is necessary to wear face masks these days, it isn't unheard of for somebody to remove their outside mask and yet to put on their work mask. In the meantime, wander wander wander talk talk talk. Honestly, it's a surprise that we've not all been stricken down...

Plus, to be brutally honest, I'm not interested. It's okay in the winter when the women are well dressed. But in the summer? Oh my God, anybody who had been brought up properly would wear more than that in bed, and wouldn't be seen dead in public in such a state of disarray. No, I'm not interested in that.

So the woman was saying to me that she would prefer to keep this between us, and if I could knock before entering...

I agreed to that. For two reasons. Firstly, the stock girls generally work daytime hours, so they go on break at random times between sort of noon and two o'clock. Which is often when I'm around there (I try to avoid the main changing room between about half noon and quarter past one - the main changeover is at 1pm). I don't mind knocking on the door for the five or so stock women. However this isn't something that can scale to the main changing room. I can avoid a small number of people who usually stagger their breaks in order to provide continuity. It's a different question to avoid forty-odd people.
And secondly, it is useful to keep friendly with the stock workers. When I have a demand for having my stuff restocked, it is they who prepare that demand. So alienating them would be sort of self defeating, don't you think?


Now, let me tell you a story. Several years ago, we had a bloke work in "plonge" (industrial scale washing up). He was a concientious worker who did a good job. Unfortunately, some of the others at the time (since gone) were rather lazy. Well, this guy got the idea of why is he working his ass off for the same pay as somebody who does pretty much the minimum possible to avoid getting fired. As such, he started to be lazy. But he went over the top and was worse than everybody else added together, to the point where he treated the work as optional and was quite unreliable.
So I was asked to fill in, and the stock woman that I mentioned would replace me doing what I normally do.
That didn't work. Why? Because the stock woman pointedly refused to go into the male changing room. Not when there was a man there, but because there might be a man there.
So she would come and get me, telling me that she had permission to remove me from my work to do the work that she should be doing.
Obviously, after a few times I verified this with my boss, who promptly blew her stack. No, I was supposed to be in plonge and she was supposed to do what I did.


So, this woman, who clearly has some sort of gender issue, has been chosen as one of the company's... what would it be in English? Anti-discrimination officer? If a person feels that they are being discriminated against, they are supposed to talk to her.

I remembered this while she was telling me at length that I am not to be anywhere near their changing room while they are present, a conversation in which she name dropped her position three times.

It took quite a lot of effort to avoid pointing out the obvious - while I can understand that some people might be uncomfortable with a guy around, it isn't as if anybody habitually gets undressed, and pretty much the only reason she and her colleague have a problem with my presence is because I'm a guy.

Anti-discrimination officer - meet sexual discrimination.



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David Pilling, 8th March 2021, 18:55
You could put a dress on...
Rick, 9th March 2021, 14:31
Well, I'm Scottish so... 😋

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