Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Sainsbury's accused of sexism after woman was told to pull her top over shorts

A shopper has accused Sainsbury’s of sexism after being asked ‘to pull her t-shirt over her shorts’ because a male customer complained.

Lauren O’Connor, 33, claims she was at a branch in Surrey when a member of staff approached her with the request, telling her ‘a gentleman doesn’t know if you’re wearing anything underneath’.

The PR director argued that she was entitled to ‘wear shorts in the 32 degree heat’ and pointed out that there was no dress code apart from a mask – which she had been wearing. 

‘I popped in the store to get some ice lollies for my mum, a quick in and out job. It was 32 degrees, shockingly hot,’ she told Mailonline.

‘I was looking at hair dye when a sales assistant approached me and said “I think you need to pull your t shirt down, as a gentleman doesn’t know if you’re wearing anything underneath”‘.

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Lauren said she was ‘humiliated’ by the encounter, adding it showed women’s bodies were still being policed.

‘It’s double standards when men are allowed to walk topless in supermarkets and crazy that supermarkets can’t police people not wearing masks, but I can’t wear hot pants in the summer heat? It’s absolute lunacy.

‘I actually used to work at this location when I was in my teens and can honestly say I have never known this to happen before. There is no dress code for Sainsbury’s.’ 

Lauren also tweeted about her encounter, sharing a picture of the t-shirt and shorts she wore.

‘All I wanted was ice lollies. N I get shamed in store doing so,’ she said in a thread explaining the incident.

‘So disappointed. When are we going to stop telling women how to dress? Especially when topless men frequent supermarkets, which I highly doubt are told to change’.

Many people pointed out that Sainsbury’s was one of several supermarkets that said they won’t enforce face mask laws in England and would instead urge shoppers to ‘play their part’ in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

One Twitter user said: ‘So Sainsbury’s you’re not going to police people to wear a mask in a pandemic but will happily police women’s bodies in a heatwave?’

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s apologised in a statement.

‘We are speaking to the store to understand what happened and would like to apologise to Lauren for any offence caused.’

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