Sunday, January 22, 2023

I’m a butcher – customers don’t think I can do the job because I’m a girl… but I prove them wrong

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A butcher says she’s constantly underestimated because the meat industry is male-dominated.

Justine Fulton thinks people, especially boys, assume she’s not serious about her career because she’s wearing fake eyelashes and hair extensions — but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Justine, who calls herself the “Rack of Glam” on Instagram, had a social work job before swapping her desk for a meat counter.

She started out delivering products to people’s doors in Manchester before going all out.

Her friends and family were mildly surprised by her decision.

And even now, two years later, she says she’s still not always taken seriously, probably because of her looks and gender.

Justine, who used to help homeless people find housing, told MEN: “People were pretty shocked and thought I was joking.

“I think when you walk into a butcher you think of a grumpy old man or someone who’s a little bit blunt, so walking in as a young woman feels a little bit intimidating.

“But when you start working in that environment, you realize it’s not like that at all.”

In a separate interview for the It’s in our Roots podcast, she said, “Just because I’m a girl, just because I wear false eyelashes and [hair] Extensions doesn’t mean I can’t do what I do.

“It’s a male dominated industry and I get so many comments.

“People assume butchers are men and women should do other jobs.

“I’m not glamorous, but I wear makeup to work and I have extensions, lashes, fillers and botox — I do all the stuff you wouldn’t expect a butcher to do.”

Justine recalled an incident when she was working alone on a Sunday and a customer said they wanted a halved shoulder of lamb.

“They asked me, ‘Is there anyone around who can do this?’ and I said, ‘Yep,’ and I just put my glove on and got my knife,” she said.

“He apologized and I said I get it all the time.

“Just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean I can’t cut your steak in two.”

Justine, who grew up in Bacup, Lancashire and has a degree in Politics and Social Services, worked in several shops as a clerk before getting an apprenticeship at The Butcher’s Quarter.

She launched an Instagram page to track her progress and break the stigma that it’s a male-only job.

“It started out to document the journey for myself, but after a while people started following me and liking my posts and it became something I enjoyed doing to help other people,” Justine said .

“If I can use it to inspire others, especially women, and help them go into it and show that it’s not intimidating and that it’s actually fun and a really good job, then that’s great.

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