If you’ve strolled through the quad or walked by the North Campus dorms this quarter, you may have noticed the many construction workers that are helping to make our university more structurally sound. And yeah, let’s face it: they’re fine as hell. Who could possibly ignore their big, work-roughened hands, or the way that those sexy neon vests hug their curves?
It’s not easy for any of us to pass by the scaffolding scattered across campus without shouting up our appreciation for the construction workers’ smokin bods, but this is 2019, and they are just trying to do their jobs. The flagrant objectification must stop.
When asked for comment on the catcalling he has faced while working on campus, construction worker Bob Thickman said that, “it’s unnerving to know that students view me as just a piece of ass. Sure, my boots might emphasize the girth and length of my feet, and when I walk my toolbelt may draw attention to the sway of my hips, but that doesn’t mean I’m not an intellectual. I dress this way for me, because it makes me feel good. My clothes are my choice and in no way an invitation for harassment.”
Mr. Thickman isn’t the only worker who feels violated by students’ vulgar comments. Rod Longley, who has been working on Smith hall for the past month, says that “it’s hard to feel safe with all of these ogling eyes on us. Sure, I’ve experienced this stuff on other jobs, but never to this degree. If these kids think what they’re doing is flattering, they clearly don’t understand the power dynamics at play here.”
If you want to help make construction workers feel like they can do their jobs safely and professionally, there are a few simple steps you can take. First, if you feel the urge to make a comment such as “take off those safety goggles, baby” or “your hat’s not the only thing that’s hard,” take a deep breath instead. Remind yourself that these are real people with rich inner lives, not just burly men in baggy jeans that leave just enough to the imagination. Second, if you see other students engaging in harassment, call them out. Use your privilege for good. Finally, if you must direct your sexual frustration somewhere, direct it at people who don’t mind the attention, such as the UW police department, or HFS dining hall employees.