If you need babying as a bartender I’m afraid you’re in the wrong job, regardless of gender
This nugget of information was posted on 07/03/12 at 10:52 am by The Fish and is filed under A View From The Bar.
I would like to start my side of this article by stating that I am not some kind of Martini-stirring, drum-banging, placard-bearing Germaine Greer-type. And I don’t see myself as the voice of womankind. But I do feel quite strongly about the subject matter and speak from my personal experiences as a bartender and manager.
It takes a certain kind of person (man or woman) to be a bartender. The onus is frequently put on females in this industry when we talk about talent needing nurturing. I can’t help but question why that is? Is it assumed that because there are less of us women in this chosen profession that we need some sort of support or we might run away completely overwhelmed by too much testosterone? The fact of the matter is this: if you need babying as a bartender I’m afraid you’re in the wrong job, regardless of gender.
It is true that there are more men than women in this industry, but does it matter? As long as the industry isn’t actively doing anything to put women off, then what’s the issue? I don’t see loads of women joining the industry and then leaving, I just don’t see as many women joining the industry. Maybe the stereotypical view of bartenders’ late-night boozing and promiscuous sex doesn’t have the same pull with young women as it does with young men. I would love it if more women decided tomorrow that they were going to become bartenders but perhaps, like the stigma that surrounds men becoming nurses, bartending is just not deemed feminine enough a profession by most women.
Plus, from my experience it simply isn’t true that females aren’t supported as much as males. There may well be bars that still only hire male bartenders, but that isn’t then a question of support but a matter of simple discrimination. Certainly I can think of a number of bars that fit into this category, but by lumping such prejudiced employers into the vast spectrum of the industry as a whole, we are detracting from the high percentage of employers that treat all their staff as equals.
The very word ‘nurture’ suggests some sort of crutch or a stepping stone to help us achieve what men are capable of. Well, thanks but no thanks. Working in Leeds I am surrounded by a lot of very successful women, they all have an incredible work ethic and have all been offered the same amount of training and support that there male counterparts have. These women are recognised within the Leeds bar scene as some of the best even if they are not appreciated on a nationwide scale.
As to why this is, there are certain ways that a bartender’s talent gets recognised: simply being excellent at your job is one; working in a well-renowned bar is another; and then we look at things like blogging and cocktail competitions. I have entered many competitions over the years and would recommend this to any bartender eager to get ahead. They have given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful and potentially influential people, and gave me some much-needed confidence when I was just starting out as a bartender. Competitions are very heavily male-dominated at the minute and it would be nice to see more women entering – but then again the need to compete is not a stereotypically female trait and maybe that’s the reason they don’t.
I would like to sum up with this: when I started working for MOJO five years ago I was one of there very first female members of staff in over 10 years of trading and now I manage a team of mainly men. I couldn’t have done that without the right amount of support, trust and belief from my employer, my colleagues and my peers.
I want the support and recognition I am due for doing what I love, and for doing it well, and I would hope that my success spurs on a whole generation of women bartenders. But the idea of being ‘nurtured’? Not so much.