I realize that I do not know the whole story of every situation that I observe, but what I do observe conveys a message about sexism. That message is this: there is sexism in all parts of our lives. Men are prejudiced to women, women are prejudiced towards men, men are prejudiced to men, and women are prejudiced to women. These prejudices vary in degrees, of course, and are made by myself as well.
Today, I went to a Panera Bread in the city. It was very crowded and many people were there dressed in business clothes or looked like college-aged students. I sat near where the food is being called and write down my observations from there. A man is calling the names and smiles at each customer as they come up to get it.
A group of five boys, who look like they are around my age, are sitting at a table near the food. They are talking and laughing as they wait for their food. Dylan, a boy from the table in a baseball cap, is called. He gets his food, a sandwich. Michael is called after him. He also gets a sandwich. Pete is called. Another sandwich. Then, Ryan. And, John. They both get sandwiches as well. All of the boys are wearing basketball shorts, nike socks, running shoes, and t-shirts.
A woman with red hair gets called before John has a chance to get his food. Her name is Lisa and she is wearing heels and pants. John lets her get her food before him. As John sits down, all of the boys laugh and look at Lisa. John has a weird look on his face as he laughs. I don’t understand this.
A man and a woman, both dressed nicely, are waiting for their food. They are chatting and laughing. John and Michelle are called. They both go up to the counter. He lets her get her food first. As they go to sit down, they are laughing at something. They seem to have fun together.
There is a little girl in a purple shirt who goes up to get the food for her and her father. She looks like she is about nine or ten and avoids the eye contact of the people waiting around her for their food. She carries a sandwich and a bowl of what looks like mac and cheese over to her and her dad’s table. Her dad smiles at her and digs into his sandwich right away.
As the name Darla is called, everyone waiting moves out of the way as an old woman waddles through. She smiles at each and every person who moved. There is a man in a suit typing on the phone. He is standing next to his very pregnant wife. His wife is dressed very casually and his daughter is hanging onto his leg as they all wait. The name Danielle is called and the pregnant woman walks to get it. Her husband is still on his phone and she as to yell, “Mike!” to have him help her with the three plates — one of them holding soup. She leads the way to a seat as the daughter lags behind. Danielle helps their daughter get into her chair. Her husband is still on his phone as he sits down.
There is a larger man wearing jeans, a baggy t-shirt, and tennis shoes. As he turns to the side, I realize his shirt has an animation of Darth Vader. He is rubbing the back of a woman who is dressed similarly. There is a tall and skinny woman standing next to her wearing heels and a dress shirt. I instantly begin to compare them. I wonder why I made this specific comparison when there are a dozen suited men in this restaurant and I did not compare the man to them.
Two college-aged girls walk into the group of waiters. They are wearing backpacks, which I’m assuming they brought so they could work on their homework as they ate. Michaela and Tara are both called and they go up to get their salads. They’re walking away as a red-haired man with a well-groomed beard joins the group. He smiles at them and lets them pass. He pulls out his phone from his suit pocket. Tom is called. He grabs his bag and heads to the exit.
There is a mother and son in line. He looks like he is about two years old. She is dressed casually. Her little boy is running around her and she laughs quietly at him. She pulls out her phone to take pictures of him. Jessica is called and she jumps to put her phone away and grab his hand. As she turns to the side, she looks slightly pregnant. Jessica struggles with the plates and leading her son to their table.
I noticed that all of the men that I observed order sandwiches and the women ordered salads as well as sandwiches. The women that I saw with children were dressed casually. The husband and pregnant wife with the daughter were obviously following society’s rules. He was dressed up for work and she was taking care of her child as well as her husband.