Saturday, April 22, 2006

On my mind: gendered jobs

Note: society ~= people, we, or our

I find it interesting that what Hilary Lips (in her book Women, Men, and Power) pointed out in 1991 is still true in 2006, which is that there is a great deal of news coverage on instances of women breaking into stereotypically male fields or positions, but there is little to none of such coverage on men breaking into stereotypically female fields or positions. As Lips says, there is great media coverage for women's many "firsts"... but "there are no front-page headlines for the first man elected president of a regional nursing association or the first male secretary hired by a large corporation" (p. 2).

Doesn't this make you feel that there's a bit of hypocrisy in society’s recognition of and desire to ensure gender equality? I think this difference in media coverage is an example of how society reinforces its value of what is associated with males and its devaluation of what is associated with females, even while proclaiming progressive efforts.

Why do people still say some variation of "doesn't he have something better to do? I'll give him a job, ha ha ha," when they hear that a guy is a stay-at-home dad?

Why did Ben Stiller's character, Greg, in the movie 'Meet the parents" feel so reluctant to say what he did for a living (he was a nurse), especially since it's a job he seemed to enjoy? Why do some people still mockingly laugh when they hear, "he's a male nurse"? And why do people have to qualify it as "a male nurse"?

Or simply, why is it that stereotypical women's jobs are in one way or another perceived to be inferior to stereotypical men's job? Why are women paid less than men even when they do the same job?

I hope there will be a time when the work that a person does will not be valued/devalued on the basis of the sex of the worker.

OK, I'm done; that's all I have to say.

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