So a post over on Erin’s blog got me thinking in a roundabout way about men and women. The original post was about some survey that Colleen Hammond did, in which a percentage of men are threatened by women in pants. In my response, I wondered if her sample of men isn’t skewed.
I’m in a male-dominated field, and it’s safe to say that all my colleagues are men. All of my professors in my field have been men, and those I studied with privately were also possessors of a Y chromosome. A few assholes aside (fortunately very few and far between), I’ve never had a problem. Certainly not with any of my professors–who’ve all been encouraging.
In the interest of full disclosure, I dress like a geek. My day job involves computer support, and it wouldn’t be practical–or safe, considering some of the crawlspaces I’m in–to dress in overly girly clothes, not that I’d be comfortable wearing such things. Also I don’t have the figure for overly revealing clothing. So it’s geek chic for me. My colleagues and professors have always been nothing but professional with me, and I with them.
Am I “feminizing” my discipline, when that term usually refers to watering down rigor? I’m held to the same standards as anyone else in my program. One thing I find refreshing from my colleagues is that they’re–sometimes brutally–honest. If I weren’t toeing the line or doing my end of the work, I’d hear. Then again, where are the non-white people in my discipline? I can’t think of any PoC in my department, much less among the faculty.
One of the more eye-opening moments came in the context of a seminar. Someone played a music video featuring scantily-clad, ultra-thin women. I anticipated the rest of the room being attracted to it. Newp. To a person, they were all disgusted by it. Comments ranged from “Ew, gross” to “Poor thing needs a cheeseburger.”
So where are all these men that are so titillated by women, that they’re resentful of them in pants and can’t function when women are in “men’s” jobs? I’m sure they’re there, like I’m sure there are women who’re inappropriate at a job. Resentful at my presence? Threatened by my jeans? Doesn’t overly give my male colleagues any credit.