[LMB] OT: Gender Roles

Peter Hews Peterhews at protonmail.com
Mon Sep 27 13:10:38 BST 2021

On Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 20:54, brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote:

> > On Sep 23, 2021, at 12:14 PM, Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com wrote:
> >
> > If you're going to write a series in which rigid gender roles are
> >
> > abandoned, you're going to have examples of men taking up strictly 'female'
> >
> > roles sooner or later.
> Much of the time when men take on “female” roles, there is an excuse that they are doing so in a manly way. Cooking is an example of this.

Men became cooks when high-end cookery was elevated to an art form and paid accordingly.  Men became tailors when dressmaking became complex and highly paid.  When a low status job becomes high status, men move into it.  (And the converse - if men move into a job, the wages and status go up.)

When teaching was a relatively classy profession serving the rich, teachers were men.  When it became the chore of teaching the masses their ABC, the job was handed to women.

More recently, computer programming began as women's work, an outgrowth of women as adding machine operators, because like the adding machines it was fiddly and boring and underpaid.  When it became important, creative, and paid accordingly, the women were elbowed out.

I recall an anthropologist saying that over the world and across time, there is no job that hasn't been "men's work" somewhere and "women's work" somewhere/when else.  The only constant is that "men's work" is always more highly valued than "women's work."

Peter Hews

Oh better far to live and die under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part with a pirate head and a pirate heart.

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