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.

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~ by Jen on July 24, 2007.

4 Responses to “”

  1. in which a percentage of men are threatened by women in pants.I couldn’t get past this bit, I just imagine a woman chasing a bunch of guys down the road waving jeans and shouting, “Run! Run you daft fools!”

  2. Garpu,On Erin’s blog the quote was…”research shows that 6 percent of men are threatened, while 53 percent admit to being turned on, by women wearing pants”.I guess it’s a mark of progress that only a mere 6% feel threatened by women wearing pants. I remember being in elementary school in the late sixties, and this was a HUGE battle – on whether or not girls were going to be allowed to wear slacks to school.As for Erin’s musing about whether men would be mored turned on by women wearing skirts… She has a point. I think it’s safe to say that at least 53% of men are going to say that they are turned on by women no matter what they may be wearing or not wearing. No POC in your place of work? Surprising. I wouldn’t expect that in academia. I thought there was more effort put into diversification than in the private sector, but I could be wrong about that. I work in software application development and design, and there are many women, and many people of color, particularly from the Indian subcontinent.

  3. Music composition–my field–is still pretty whitebread. It’s not something I’m proud of, either. It’s not that people are being discouraged in the fields…it’s that they aren’t getting there to begin with. not sure what to do about it, but I think expanding the canon to include women and PoC in composition helps.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more about the stereotypes regarding male sexuality. Skeletons with boobs and Allie McBeale just don’t do it for an awful lot of men. I don’t know who plans the fashion shoots on the runways, but I suspect it is someone with distinctly different sexuality than I have. Pants are great, especially if their filled out well. Intimidating? Uh no. Distracting? That’s my problem, not anyone elses. ;-)I blogged a bit about this with regard to Victoria Beckham. She is looking a bit better now, but post-op when she was planning her USA debut she looked like hell. I have no idea what she did to herself to get that thin and so forth but I think she was ill-advised.B

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