Serving tables while dressed in lingerie taught Rebecca Brusseau to have confidence in anything she does.
Brusseau was embarrassed, judged and, at times, praised for working at the Library Bar & Grill, she said.
Brusseau is currently double-majoring in women’s studies and Africana studies at the University of New Mexico, and she has been ridiculed for the “real life application” of such studies, she said.
“I’ve learned people are going to think what they want, and that isn’t going to change what I’m passionate about or what I’m going to do,” she said.
Working at The Library Bar & Grill was an overall positive experience for Brusseau, which surprised people, she said. She said this was due to people stereotyping women who work at places with provocative uniforms, creating a stigma that women only work such jobs as a last resort or because they don’t have respect for themselves.
“I felt empowered, because I worked where I work and I did respect myself and carried no shame,” Brusseau said.
Now Brusseau works at the Daily Lobo as a classifieds representative, advertising representative, news reporter and culture reporter.
Due to the confidence she obtained working at The Library Bar & Grill, she is unafraid of working in an unconventional job, she said. Her experience as a server also helped her recognize when she is in an unethical situation.
“I have confidence to know how I should be treated and to speak up about it,” Brusseau said.
This trait is a part of Brusseau and her role at UNM, where she confronts and studies the injustices that minorities face, she said.
“I am aware of how people perceive me and am able to overcome those perceptions and do what I need to,” Brusseau said.
She is a woman who embraces that aspect of herself and is proud of her femininity, Brusseau said.
“People associate being a woman (with) negative characteristics and (believe) if you want to be professional you shouldn’t embrace your womanhood, but that’s not true,” she said.
This approach brings a new perspective to her current job at the Daily Lobo. Meaning, she does not try to change her personality to conform to an unspoken social code of conduct, she said.
Through the Daily Lobo Brusseau discovered a new way to connect with the college community. She plans to use these connections throughout her life, along with the skills she has obtained at the Daily Lobo, she said.
“People look down on waitresses that dress provocatively, but it’s an outdated way of thinking. I am not a stereotype. I am a UNM student working for my future,” she said.
Amy Byres is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amybyres12.