In malls across the United States, clothing retail workers navigate low wages and unpredictable schedules. Despite these problems, they devote time and money to mirror the sleek mannequins stylishly adorned with the latest merchandise. Bringing workers' voices to the fore, sociologists Joya Misra and Kyla Walters demonstrate how employers reproduce gendered and racist "beauty" standards by regulating workers' size and look. Interactions with customers, coworkers, and managers further reinforce racial hierarchies. New surveillance technologies also lead to ineffective corporate decision-making based on flawed data. By focusing on the interaction of race, gender, and surveillance, Walking Mannequins sheds important new light on the dynamics of retail work in the twenty-first century.
This essay was originally published on The Conversation. By Joya Misra and Kyla Walters, authors of Walking Mannequins: How Race and Gender Inequalities Shape Retail Clothing Work Clothing retailers sell their shoppers …Read More >