“Had my breast grabbed and couldn’t report it”: Sexual harassment common practice in F1 with no respite

While it is true that Formula 1 is a completely male-dominated sport, is it safe to say that things are getting a lot better. For example, many teams field women in the management right up to the very top.

The problem is that the behavior of many fans and followers is still medieval in nature.

According to a study by Conseil des Montréalaises, women working during the Canadian GP feel highly insecure and are often victims of sexual harassment.

Appearance and body type are hiring criteria

For many women who are working in service, hospitality, and sales jobs during the Grand Prix, a major hiring criterion has been their appearance and their body type.

Apart from that, sexual harassment is considered a part of the job.

“We have to call a spade a spade: the Grand Prix is an event that is largely based on the exploitation of femininity, the exploitation of women as objects,” said Christine Gosselin, an independent councilor in the Old Rosemont district.

According to Ms. Gosselin, these kinds of incidents should encourage elected officials to question the relevance of keeping the Grand Prix in Montreal.

Female trafficking rampant

The Council of Montreal Women tried to gather information about trafficking of women during such sporting events.

“Whether it be from field organizations or scientific literature, it is impossible to measure an increase in trafficking in women during the Formula 1 Grand Prix,” the organization said in a press release.

Women who work as hostesses, barmaids, or waitresses talk about uncomfortable experiences where they are “used as aesthetic objects, playing on male heterosexual desire, exposing them to flirtation and normalized sexual harassment,” the report said.

“I had a breast grabbed one night. What am I supposed to do? If I go and get a bouncer and then take the guy out, I lose my job. Nobody’s going to tell you that, but it’s clear that’s what’s going to happen,” said one barmaid.

“It’s not my job to have my butt touched. It’s not necessarily supposed to happen to me, but at the same time, as I say, you work in the industry, in a place where it’s likely to happen,” said one clerk.

“It’s a form of prostitution, you can’t lie to yourself,” says another barmaid,

“It’s an exchange of services for money, which includes your body. You don’t have full sexual relations with the client, […] you’re not in a massage parlor. But it’s still asking you to play the trophy wife.”

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