theunemploymentchronicles

It’s A New Day: Let’s Talk About Gender Baby!

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2009 at 1:06 am

Hey peeps,

Obsolete here, with more insight, foresight, and hindsight for your unemployed (or employed) pleasure. Tiffany and I have been having heated discussions about the difference between men and women in the work place…

And from what I have been hearing from her…her experience has been interesting…and that’s me attempting to be kind. However, I can only fairly speak about my opinions though…

We decided to write a joint discussion on this everlasting topic…here it goes!

Differences Part I

Ah, aint they cute!

I saw Chaz Bono (Cher’s, the singer, only child) on TV the other day, and he made a comment that I thought was intriguing: “gender exists only between the ears, and not the legs.” This was not the first time I have heard this comment, but it struck me this time around. As complex as *gender is, this comment attempts to break it down: we are socialized into specific gender roles and behavior, but what we are physically, may not always match up with how we are mentally and emotionally, and more importantly how we identify ourselves.

Tiffany mentioned to me that she works with people who are of one *sex, but they act like the opposite sex, in their demeanor, ways of critical thinking, and overall philosophy. I have to be honest, I have had the privilege of not having to worry about these things too much, because I fit into the mainstream mode of gender roles and behavior for the most part (but there are some things I “rebel” against) so examining how I act as a woman in the workplace, and how others act around me, has been enlightening in some ways. Noticing the roles of men and women in the workplace is an interesting, and sometimes taxing exercise.

For example:

Anonymous testimony:

I recently had a temp job (clears thought), um yeah…a “temp” job where I worked in a small office. This was unfortunate, because in small environments, lines tend to get blurred…and people end up doing things that is no way near their job description.

There was one lady who basically was the workhorse of the office. She was manually cleaning desks, wiping down things like random objects and even (gasp!) moving heavy boxes. It was obscene. Not only was she a women (take note of this) but she was also an older woman. The men in the office just sat around while she did all the work. Of course, there was controversy, when I refused to go along with this misogyny.


Oh, so much to deal with in this testimony!

Hmm…This testimony is interesting for several reasons. The witness mentioned that because of the small office, lines were blurred…but what she probably meant was that gender lines/roles were blurred as well…and there was some gender hierarchy going on besides the job hierarchy, (which is confusing and debilitating enough). I think it is noteworthy that the witness also assumed that manual labor of picking up boxes should be left for the men, but she also was appalled at the fact the older woman was doing things that were technically within her gender role (cleaning, organizing) but since it was not apart of the older woman’s job description, the witness was nonetheless, mortified. I must add though, if someone male or female thought they could lift a heavy box in an office, they should do so. However, for able-bodied people to sit around, while one person struggles to do the work: that’s just cruel AND unusual, gender issues aside. This is an extreme case, how does one deal with these gender roles and differences in the work place?

I think this is another good place to talk about Chaz Bono. By the way, for those of you who do not know, Bono is a transitioning, transgender male…and its good thing to note because, Bono decided to match up what was going on in his head, to what is going on with his body, so everything can be in sync, for him. Despite scrutiny, and people judging him, he decided to defy gender roles, and even sex, in order to have his own sense of comfort.

My point is: DO YOUR OWN THING. If you are in a workplace situation, and you are put in a position of conforming to a gender role or behavior that makes you uncomfortable, walk away! Don’t just lay down and obey! But at the same time, don’t just up and quit your job (that would make us, here at Obsolete sad), but make sure to stand your ground diplomatically and explain yourself thoroughly. The witness who submitted the story above did mention to me that she left the job, which was her decision, but it doesn’t always have to be that extreme. If there is a subjective third party, you can talk to, do it! Make sure your voice is heard! In addition, don’t pick up a heavy box if you don’t want to, or simply can’t! Jeez…

I think I was supposed to talk about the difference between men and women in the workplace…but I went somewhere else, and took it a different topic, level, stratosphere, whatever. I just want people to know, your level of comfort, and sanity comes first! I thought Bono was a good example because despite being told since the day he was born, he was one thing, he decided “nope, Im not” and opted for change…if he can do that intense transition, you can at least stick to your beliefs as a person in the workplace, and defy the so called difference between men and women.

No matter what, if you are not comfortable with a job, and the way people perceive you, unless your Dr. Super Focus, it will mess with your productivity, so the best way to be productive is to be both comfortable and sane. This topic could be written about for decades, so I’m not even going to attempt to scratch the surface of this issue. I was supposed to talk about gender roles…and their differences, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but it’s half my blog, and Ill blog what I want to!

Moral of the story: The difference between men and women in the workplace is all socialized into their minds, and they choose as individuals whether they want to conform to it…or not. What do you choose? Are you comfortable with your choice?

That’s what’s up, and I’ sticking to it:

Ebony

*I have the general understanding that gender, and sex are two vastly different things, but I am too lazy to look up the through definition, and or to pick one and keep it consistent…so if you are interested in learning the difference…do some research! But for the sake of this blog post, I will use them interchangeably…sorry, I never took a sociology/gender studies class, and its too late **now!

 

**No, its not too to late to take a sociology class, its never too late. Once again, a testament to my laziness. Forgive me!

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