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Working In A Male-Dominated Environment; The Good, The Bad, And The Creepy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Ah, the joys of a car dealership, being surrounded by men all day long. There is nothing more I love in the world than having my job mansplained, while a different married man is hitting on me.

In the past couple of years, I have been working as a receptionist at a car dealership. Throughout my time working, I have discovered that there are only three words that can explain my experience; good, bad, and creepy.

The Good:

For the most part, I love my job. The people I work with are great. They all have their personality and vibe that aids a nice working environment. I grew up surrounded by women and have only worked at female-dominated places before. Thus, working in a male-dominated environment was something completely new for me. Through this experience, I have learned so much about men, maybe even a bit too much. I never knew that men could be so helpful! Honestly, if you ask a man to do something they will most likely say yes. If you lack problem-solving skills, just pass the problem onto a man and they can deal with it (I’m kidding, but only slightly)! 

You can say what you want about car guys, but one thing that they’re very good at is hyping up everyone. I don’t understand it, but these men notice everything and will hype you up over it. Even if you got a bad haircut, you’ll get praised. I know that sometimes compliments can come off creepy, but trust me, most of the time they’re very sweet. I mean, who doesn’t like having your fashion choice complimented every day.

The Bad:

A car dealership is a perfect example of gendered work. The sales and service department are highly dominated by men, while the administration department is mainly women. So, sometimes my workplace feels like a boys club. You can easily be left out of after-work group activities or conversations. Depending on the person, the only time a coworker engages in conversation with you is for a mini therapy session. 

Mansplaining. We have all had this happen at least once where a man tries to explain something to you like you’re an alien on this planet. I can’t tell how many times a salesperson has tried to tell me how to do my job. Despite being a receptionist for over two years, I still don’t know how to do my job! From how to fill a coffee machine to put a cheque in an envelope, it has all been explained to me by someone outside of the department. 

From my observations, men do not know how to clean and are coincidentally very messy. I often feel like I am always cleaning up after the guys. Like I swear the concept of putting something in the garbage is foreign to men. There have even been times that a salesman or lot attendant has left their garbage at my desk, which to say the least is very annoying since I have many garbage bins nearby.

The Creepy:

As I said earlier, I have learned a lot about men during my time working at a car dealership. One of the things I wish I did not learn is that men, especially married men, are the creepiest people you’ll ever meet in your life. I thought married men were not supposed to be creepy, but I thought wrong. Yet, the story gets worse. By far, the creepiest comments I have ever received were from married men with their wives next to them. Which is just weird and gross. One time, some old man asked if I wanted to come over and clean his house. It’s a very weird thing to say to someone, but what can you do about it?   

Many workplaces have a “where’s my hug” guy. I always pictured them as older men, but in my case, it was a guy my age who would be overly handsy with me. Like sir, you should be well aware we are not playing that game anymore in 2021. Although, I do have hope that this trend is fading out, especially with the help of COVID-19 and social distancing. 

Unfortunately, there is a “creepy” section on writing about male-dominated workplaces and that part of the female experience is uncomfortable treatment by men. Especially in the workplace, we have been socially conditioned to be polite and let things slide, but I think it is time to get rid of this narrative. Honestly, no job is worth harassment. We’re reporting and standing up for ourselves in 2021, babes. 

As many pros there are for working in a car dealership, there is also a long list of cons. Being the only woman working at times is a bit isolating, but at the end of the day, you have to adapt. Many career fields are still highly dominated by men and women have great difficulty breaking into these fields. So, to all the women thriving in their male-dominated working environment, I salute you. I wish all the best of luck to every self-identifying female student in their sought-out careers. You can do it!

Kiara is an International Studies major concentrating in International Security and Conflict with a minor in Labour Studies at Simon Fraser University.
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