DoorWOmen & Gendering the Door: An Explorative Study of Women's Experiences of the Bouncer Occupation within New Zealand's Night-Time Economy.
Patriarchal norms and misogynistic attitudes often result in women’s exclusion from positions of power in institutional structures through the use of sexual harassment, discriminatory recruitment methods and exclusion from social circles. Traditionally, previous research on bouncers has focused on the occupation’s close affinities with violence and the domination of men, ignoring the benefits and experiences of women in door-work. This research addresses an important literature gap within the context of New Zealand, by exploring how women working as bouncers in New Zealand’s Night Time Economy (NTE) experience and navigate their occupations, based on stereotypical assumptions that women are unsuitable to bouncing. Applying a feminist lens, this qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews with twelve women who had experience working as bouncers in New Zealand’s NTE. This study found that gendered violence, discrimination and misogyny were a routine and ‘expected’ part of being a female bouncer, and uncovered how the women in this study constructed malleable performances of gender to do their work. These experiences profoundly impacted their feelings of safety in the workplace, which may point to reasons why women still remain the minority within the bouncer occupation. Based on these findings, this research concludes that women in door-work are faced with a paradox where femininity is simultaneously resisted in a masculine occupation, but where they are expected to adhere to men’s expectations of appropriate gender norms within the workplace. This study therefore exposes the difficult and highly gendered terrain women in door-work are expected to navigate, and emphasises the need to address misogynistic attitudes and gendered violence within the workplace, the wider NTE and beyond.