Every once in awhile I do manage to get out to a social sort of event. Recently I was at one such thing. And overhead the following:
Female, mid-40s: When I was in high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian. And I had great SAT scores, high 1400's [out of a then total 1600]. But my high school guidance counselor strongly discouraged me, and told me "those are really more men's kind of jobs." So I gave up thinking about vet school, even though I had the ability.
Male, same age: When I was in high school, I wanted to learn to type. Probably because I just wanted to take what I thought was an easy class, but I kept asking over and over to be allowed to take a typing class. My guidance counselor wouldn't let me register for typing. He told me "you're going to college, you don't need typing. You'll have a secretary to do your typing for you." And then all through college I had to pay people to type my term papers for me, and spend hundreds of dollars on that. My first job out of college, I walk into the office and my boss sits me in front of a computer and says "you'll have to type [complex documents in his industry] on this." Just last week, my current boss saw me pecking away with two fingers and said "I can't believe you can't type."
Sexist gender role expectations are not innocent, and not without effect, even if everybody grows up to have lives that they are more or less happy with. Both of these people have what you would call a nice life. But one of them had her whole life course dramatically changed because of a guidance counselor's sexist beliefs about what jobs belonged to which gender, and another had to spend cash he didn't really have to spare in college, and spends time he doesn't have to spare now on the job, because of another guidance counselor's sexist beliefs about who should learn to type and who would have the typing done for them.
The differential effects of sexism often mean that men are less predisposed to be aware of them - having someone tell you "you don't need to worry about typing" is not quite as dramatic and life-altering as having them tell you "vet school is for the men, little lady". Men do have a lot of privilege to lose in moving to a more equitable system of gender relations, but they also have some things to gain. One of my commenters - I think it was SKM - posted a link on another thread to Men's Lives by Michael Kimmel. It's an interesting looking collection of essays on the intersection of race, class, and gender, focusing on men's lives, of course, as the title indicates. It would be something useful for all the d00dly Zuskateers (is that an oxymoron?) to read and ponder.
Archive for the 'Zuska’s Outreach Project For D00dly D00ds' category
After my last few posts, and the tons of comments from thegoodman and Queef, I've started thinking seriously about my approach to this blog. Maybe I am just a little too angry for no good reasons, too often just calling childish names and not solving discrimination. Perhaps I can do better. Perhaps I should start with a new profile photo, something more friendly and welcoming to all. My proposed new profile photo can be found after the jump. Let me know what you think.
I just wanted to thank everyone for the comments here. They've been enlightening... to be honest I had never heard of anyone being ordered to smile outside of greeter/public relation jobs (chalk it up to youthful naivete, I suppose). With that in mind when I first read the post it struck me as an overreaction to something minor, but it's hard to argue with a few dozen women from all over with the exact same stories and reactions.
I don't know if I've ever been guilty of this behavior in my life (I hope not, though I am a cheerful person and tend to strive for that in others), but I will certainly watch for it in myself and others from here on out. Sincerely, thanks.
If one woman writes about something, it doesn't require the commiseration of every woman on the internet to make it valid.
The reason Jason "has never heard anyone" (not "anyone" little tyke, it's WOMEN!) being ordered to smile is because he is not a woman, men don't hear women, men ignore women, it takes 5 women saying the same thing over and over to be heard once by a man.
I am so on the same page with my sisters. And yet...
Christina Pikas has a nice post about finding information in books.
Sadly, however, she notes the following:
What kinds of things might a book work best for?...not for cutting edge, mostly
What does this imply when you think about our ongoing project to work our way through Allan Johnson's The Gender Knot? Oh crap, we're doing gender equity work, but we're not on the cutting edge?
That's okay, d00dz. Trust me, you so do not want to jump right to the cutting edge of discourse on the patriarchy. Did you walk right into the lab as an undergrad or a fresh grad student and start banging chemicals and glassware and equipment around?** I didn't think so. You had to learn some basics and background info first.
I guarantee you, though, that if you stick with The Gender Knot you will come through at the end knowing a whole lot more about patriarchy and gender issues, in a useful manner, than perhaps you did about chemistry at the end of your first-year chem lab. At least, if your first-year chem lab was like mine.
**If you did, you are just a fool. That shit is dangerous.
Hi all...just wanted to let you know that I am planning to do the first post for Chapter 2 of The Gender Knot sometime next week, probably mid-week. I have the new edition of the book and have been reading but there's a lot of stuff going on with mine and Mr. Z's family this week. I hope to do a few posts on other topics in the meantime, but we will be back with the Gender Knot next week. Meanwhile. there are still some pretty active discussions on the last few posts. Thanks to my readers for such intense conversation.
What does it mean when a woman ogles a man in the patriarchy?
Reader RichB commented:
...men being looked at as sexual objects increases their power, but women being looked at as sexual objects decreases their power.
Reader Hope isn't buying it:
Really? So if I ogle a man, I'm increasing his power? If a man ogles another man, he's increasing that other man's power? Or is it just that I, as a woman, have no power to objectify a man? No power, period?
What's the answer? Can a woman objectify a man, or not?
In light of the great discussion you all have been having on the second post on Chapter 1 of The Gender Knot, I thought it would be a good time to direct you to this most excellent Feminism 101 post at Shakesville, "Sexism Is A Matter Of Opinion". The whole thing is pure gold but I'd like to point out in particular this section on intentionality.
Welcome to our discussion of The Gender Knot by Allan Johnson. This is the second post in the discussion series. We will be discussing Chapter 1 "Where Are We?" You can find all posts connected to this discussion here.
As noted before, there is an updated edition of the book now available. In the first post, I was working with the 1997 edition. I now have the new edition and this post is based on that edition. The first chapter is available online here. If you haven't had a chance to read the chapter, maybe you'd like to go now and read the pages covering "Women and Patriarchy" and "Deep Structure and the Way Out", page 13 to the end.
Just as in the first post, let's start with one important concept. If you take away nothing else from today's post, please at least spend some time chewing on this bit (based on arguments of sociologist David Wellman) which is actually to be found in a footnote on page 15 (emphasis mine):
The words sexism and sexist are commonly used to describe a personal prejudice or the person who holds it...however, that approach is too narrow to be of use because male privilege requires far more than this to continue...I use the term to indicate anything that has the effect of promoting male privilege, regardless of the intentions of the people involved. By judging actions, policies, and institutional arrangements solely in terms of their consequences, [this] conceptualization allows us to focus on the full range of forces that perpetuate male privilege, and saves us from the trap of personalizing what is essentially a social and systematic phenomenon.
We're going to take this concept along with Johnson's metaphor of patriarchy as a tree and use both to look at a particularly illustrative and timely (in the blogospheric sense) case study. Yes, I am speaking of tit-ogling. Come along with me, d00ds, for we have much to talk about.