I’m gonna depress the hell out of all of you. ready? ok go
so, that “stop devaluing feminized work post”
nice idea and all
but the thing is, as soon as a decent number of women enter any field, it becomes “feminized,” and it becomes devalued.
as women enter a field in greater number, people become less willing to pay for it, the respect for it drops, and it’s seen as less of a big deal. it’s not about the job- it’s about the number of women in the job.
observe what happened with biology. it’s STEM, sure, but anyone in a male-dominated science will sneer at the idea of it being ‘for real,’ nevermind that everyone sure took it more seriously when it was a male dominated field. so has happened with scores of other areas; nursing comes to mind
so the thing is, it’s not the work or the job that has to be uplifted and seen as more respectable. it will never work out, until people start seeing women as respectable
but there’s a doozy and who the fuck knows if it’s ever happening in my life time
"observe what happened with biology. it’s STEM, sure, but anyone in a male-dominated science will sneer at the idea of it being ‘for real,’ nevermind that everyone sure took it more seriously when it was a male dominated field."
Personal anecdote time! I’m in a biology graduate program. An acquaintance wanted to introduce some guy to me because his son was thinking about becoming an undergrad science major. When he found out I was in the biology department, he grinned and said, “Well, I guess that’s kind of related to science.”
I gave him what I hope was an icy look and said, “Isn’t it strange how men outside the field started saying that right around the time biology majors shifted from mostly male to mostly female?”
The guy got this look on his face like he was about to play the “just a joke” card, and then an older woman who had been standing nearby, talking to someone else, turned to me and said, “The same thing happened with real estate.” She went on to explain that, over the course of the career, the male-to-female ratio among real estate agents had dropped, and the pay and “prestige factor” of that job dropped along with it.
This is also famous for happening to teaching. Keep an eye on medicine over the next fifteen years and watch as it becomes less prestigious and less well-paid.
It also happened to secretarial/administrative work - in the 19th century, clerical work was utterly respectable and seen as requiring quite a lot of talent and skill (which it still does!) but then along came the typewriter and women entering the field and HEY PRESTO “she’s just some secretary”
at my university, chemical engineering, or chem eng, was often referred to as “fem eng” why? because it’s an exact 50/50 ratio of women to men, which clearly makes it too feminine. in the 70s/80s chemical engineering was one of the most important and hardest engineering fields (plastics! pulp and paper! OIL) but now that there are more women in the field it’s considered an easier field, in comparison to other fields.
for example, i once heard a girl in mech eng list some of the engineering fields in the order she thought was hardest to easiest. you know what it was? electrical, mechanical, chemical. it’s absolutely no surprise that this list is also a handy ordering of fewest women in the field to most women in the field.
AND, another point! this happens the other way around too. computer science related fields used to be dominated by women, which made it not very important (switchboard operators? yup). once men started taking over the field, well that’s when the big money and prestige came in.
The field of anthropology, which is becoming female dominated from what I can see, has been determined to be useless by some. (I’ve even had girls in STEM fields tell me I don’t study a “real science” so how’s about that internalized misogyny for ya) When I was majoring in anthropology, Gov. Rick Scott determined that Florida didn’t need any more anthropologists and wanted to reduce funding to programs and increase funding to STEM programs. While not considered a STEM field, anthropologists have contributed to the research behind STEM programs and provide a wide variety of services to Florida alone. A team of anthropologists created a powerpoint “This is Anthropology" to talk about dozens of programs and services they contribute to in Florida which include healthcare programs, education programs, disaster relief, forensic investigation, environmental programs and conservation efforts, research for fortune 500 businesses, agricultural programs, immigration programs, programs and services for the elderly, etc. I’m also in the field of education, and we’re constantly made out to be overpaid (we’re not) and made out to be incapable of doing our jobs without very strict guidance.
It’s all very insulting, really. No matter what we study. No matter what we do to earn a living. It will never be good enough.