Dudes Wear Dresses & Heels To Protest Restaurant Dress Codes

The men of Union Local 613 in Ottowa, Canada, were not about to take recent reports of persistent sexist restaurant dress codes lying down. In fact, they took the reports standing in heels and dresses.

A CBC Marketplace investigation outed several prominent Canadian restaurant chains — including Jack Astor’s, Moxie's, and Earls — for dress policies that included mandatory short skirts, heavy makeup, and heels. In at least one case, a woman was told she shouldn’t wear underwear with her skirt (though the corporate offices have expressed dismay at this story).

So on Wednesday night, the male staff of Union Local 613 decided to experience for themselves the mandatory outfits forced on their counterparts. The results were not exactly shocking.

"If this is what women have to deal with in days or weeks or years of working in restaurants, or wherever they're working, then I can't even really imagine that, actually. It's kind of tough," busser and server James Tilden told CBC.

The men lasted only one or two hours in the heels they donned. The dresses stayed on all night despite persistent — albeit, in some cases, good humored — catcalling and general harassment by the clientele.

“I walked downstairs, and it was a couple people we know in the industry and I won't use their names. They shut up pretty quick when they realized I was [wearing a microphone], but they kind of grabbed me or whatnot...and I was like dude, do you get what we're [doing]?" co-owner Gedz told CBC.

Servers had to quiet down rowdy customers, and even ask other servers to take especially obnoxious tables. All in all, it was a nice gesture, but keep in mind these men did this for a single shift. And they only wore heels for an hour.

Of course, none of this is news to women who work in the service industry. CBC ran a followup story detailing three human rights violations that made it to trial. If you want more information about the relative levels of restaurant misogyny in Canada, check out F.E.D. U.P. (The Feminist Eatery Database — Undercover Project.)

"If this is what women have to deal with ... I can't even really imagine."Male servers at Union Local 613 dressed like their female counterparts last night.Learn more here: www.cbc.ca/1.3483305

Posted by CBC Ottawa on Thursday, March 10, 2016

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