Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Inequality and Social Justice

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

James Tuttle

Committee Co-chair

Daisy Rooks

Commitee Members

Elizabeth Hubble


Display Work, Sex Work, Service Work, Bikini Barista


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Gender and Sexuality | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations


This study compares the experiences of women working in “bikini” coffee stands with women working in "family-friendly" coffee stands. These stands are similar in that customers drive up and purchase coffee through a window. However, bikini coffee stands differ from their family friendly counterparts because they are staffed by scantily-clad women. This study contributes to the existing literature by comparing the experiences of service workers in sexualized and non-sexualized environments. Additionally, this study examines the understudied service job of bikini coffee. Using semi-structured interviews to examine the baristas’ thoughts and experiences surrounding their work, I find that both types of baristas engage in emotionally in-depth relationships, which I refer to as 'quasi-friendships.' The presence of display work complicates the quasi-friendships that bikini baristas have with their customers: it simultaneously intensifies aspects of these relationships that are reminiscent of friendships as well as transactional relationships, ultimately dependent upon tips from customers.



© Copyright 2022 Sara R. Wozniak