Thursday, 3 July 2014

When dressing like a tart is ok. Apparently.

Before I moved to the country and became Secret Housewife I lived in London and worked in a Mayfair casino. I wasn't what you might imagine a croupier to be, sadly. I was a tad serious and took my job seriously too. That's not to say I didn't have fun, but I wanted, at the same time, to be respected as a professional. Each day I was dealing with very wealthy businessmen, making complicated calculations and negotiating with them so that the casino ran smoothly. The casino business is full of very bright women who work hard and run the businesses, multi-million pound businesses, very professionally.

I was incensed when my club director chose some of the female staff to dress up in Santa mini dresses to have their photos taken for the club Christmas photo. I remember making my views known and one of the women told me that I was just jealous that I hadn't been chosen. NO NO NO!! The reason I was cross was because they were allowing themselves be manipulated by the man running the place, to assume the image of .... tart. How could they be respected by the clientele if they were seen on the front of a Christmas card wearing a low cut dress that skimmed their bottom cheeks as they leaned seductively over a roulette table ?

And now, nearly 20 years later I find myself furious again. Of course I still know lots of people in the casino business and today, on my Facebook feed, up popped the photo below. I am apoplectic. It is possible to be an attractive woman without draping yourself over a dice table wearing only a bra, some shorts and a pair of stockings. What image do these women send to the outside world? Do you look at them and think " Ah, yes. Intelligent women, brimming with intellect, proud of their professionalism" ? Or do you think that they look like they're up for a  good time ... to put it nicely?

The thing that really gets to me is that they allow themselves to be used like this. Have we learnt nothing over the years? I am not saying that we all need to burn our bras, wear no make up and wear shapeless dungarees, but for God's sake!!! Clientele will not look at this photo and think that the casino in question is staffed by strong professional women. 

People, and I include women when I say this, tell me that I need to lighten up, but why should I? How many men do you see behaving in this way? Do you see Donald Trump or David Cameron behave like this? Is it "just a bit of fun" or is it hugely damaging to the image of women? What does it achieve?

I am sure that the 3 women above are just as professional and good at their jobs as croupiers as I was, but when you look at them do you really think that? Or do you think ... sex? Are they trying to get punters into their club by making them think that they can get a cheap thrill? Maybe a quick feel? Because that's what it looks like.

I am so frustrated by this. I am frustrated that nothing has changed. I am frustrated that this is seen as fun and acceptable by people in the industry still. I am frustrated that women think they have to do this to be successful. I am angry that anyone would ask a woman to dress like this and that the women would feel that they should or that it was in anyway ok. A casino is a place to gamble. It is not a whorehouse, but that is what this photo implies.

I have discovered that the women in the photo above are not croupiers but dancers who work in the casino.  The casino PR department is still using the image to pull men into the premises and, to be honest, I think my point still stands.


Anonymous said...

Sarah, my thoughts entirely, I was never the handsome one but no one ever asked me to degrade myself in this manner. Perhaps that is the only way Casinos can compete in the modern market. An Internet avatar cannot titillate so the live casinos need to drag in the punters some how. You were a fine woman and are still a beautiful lady. Most of our cohort would never have been put in that position because our bosses feared the gaming board. K80

sarah at secret housewife said...

I'm so glad you agree K80. When the Playboy reopened I thought it was a massive step backwards, but this is just a new level. I'm surprised some of the people who we know work there are happy about this. Sad. x

FarmWife said...

I haven't been here for a while (and for that I apologize). But I am so very glad I'm here now.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Women scream and argue all day long that they want to be treated like men in the same professions. They want to be taken seriously. They want to receive the same pay. They want to be respected.....and then they do this.

You cannot have both. This goes so far beyond the cliche idea of a woman embracing her sexuality. This is women having their sexuality exploited so men can make money. It makes me sad.

Be sexy. Be professional. Find a way you can do both without objectifying yourself. Do it so that your daughters can be taken seriously when they enter the work place.