Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Sexual Politics of the Construction Industry (and a bit about immigration)

Is sexual harassment just a bit of fun?  I think the experts on this question are probably construction workers.  

I'm particularly keen to ask a set of construction workers I once saw.  They weren't paying any attention to me walking past or even passing sly remarks to each other.  Their heads were down, they were hard at it, I've never seen a bunch of blokes so focussed on their work.  
I was unable to ask this particular set of men whether being wolf-whistled at is distracting and demeaning while I walked past their building site because I was going past in the middle of Gay Pride Parade with large groups of gay men all around me uttering ear-piercing whistles and pointing out which construction worker they fancied the most to their buddies.  But the construction workers didn't seem to appreciate the compliments they were being paid, they would only look at the concrete blocks they were installing.  

The lovely intelligent plumber depicted here is from a Polish tourism poster.  I used this poster in a lecture on immigration at the time when there was a panic on about the influx of Eastern European labourers taking work away from us British.  "Can you get a Polish plumber?" I enquired.  "Can you give me his number?  I have two nice British plumbers but I'm struggling to find a sexy intelligent Polish one."  
In my lecture we looked at figures showing how the National Health Service would collapse without immigrant workers caring for us if we have to go into a hospital bed.  In North Wales it's so difficult to recruit doctors other than Asian doctors that they even made a tv docudrama about it.  
The plumber poster is aimed at French tourists.  The French are even more terrified of Eastern Europeans stealing their plumbing jobs than the British.  The poster says:  "I'm staying in Poland.  Come in large numbers."  
Emigration to Eastern Europe anyone?  

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