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Femininity work: The gendered politics of women managing violence in bar work

Gill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2715-1867 & Coffey, J. (2023). Femininity work: The gendered politics of women managing violence in bar work. Gender, Work and Organization, 30(5), pp. 1694-1708. doi: 10.1111/gwao.13006


This paper explores how women bar workers manage violence at work. Women bar workers in our study described that the capacity to recognize, intervene, and defuse potentially violent situations was a pragmatic response to the problem of men's violence in the night-time economy. We analyze the gendered norms and expectations at play in how violence in bar work is managed by staff and locate this as a form of “femininity work” extending from the modes of attentive, emotionally-attuned femininity that labor feminist labor studies theorists have described. In a context where hospitality labor already makes complex and often unexamined demands on young workers, the positioning of women bar staff as being more adept at managing violent situations suggests a particularly important demand made of women bar workers, central for understanding the enduring gendered power relations in contemporary interactive service labor.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors. Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher Keywords: gender, inequality, night-time economy, service labor, violence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
SWORD Depositor:
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