Working for the Woman

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Brian Stuart

Brian Stuart blogs about fat acceptance at
Red No. 3 and is an arts administrator living with his wife
in Boston. He was once called "dangerous" by an anonymous internet
commenter and considers this the highest complement he has ever
received.

Comments

  1. Anonymous Male says:

    No denying there are men with unrealistic and outmoded expectations when it comes to working with women. Aggressiveness and competitiveness can get in the way in any organization even if everyone there is aggressive and competitive.

    Part of the conflict, though, is in communication style, not necessarily a problem with respect. People who interrupt, male or female, are not necessarily trying to shut down someone else, even if it feels like it. Often they are acting the way that they assume everyone else is acting. Men are more likely to see a discussion as a kind of freewheeling auction of ideas, where the whole point is to come to a decision, whereas women are generally more likely to focus on building the consensus to make the decision. (I know, these are gross generalizations, not immutable gender laws, but I know I’ve seen this difference quite a bit.)

    Men and women in groups tend to arrive at collective decisions very differently. I’m not prepared to say one way is superior and the other gender(s) better get on board before they get left behind.

    Men who may have never worked with a female boss before do need to know that there may be more than one valid way to make a decision, have a discussion, or communicate information. It’s good to be self-aware about which kind you prefer or which one you’re good at. It’s a great job skill to be able to say, “I’m the kinda guy who works best with a _____ approach; I know there’s more than one way to do something. This is a little new to me, so bear with me.”

    • I think attributing it to poor communication is too easy of an explanation coming from a privileged group. The problem is that this dynamic isn’t happening in a vacuum. These are trends that men often are not asked to think about, but will stand out quite starkly to women. Its not always about an active disrespect, but also all the things we feel entitled not to even consider. Working for women, though, demands that the man think about these things and adjust accordingly. I don’t think that behavior is a biological imperative or even considered hostility most of the time. It is what men are often taught through ingrained social structures. That men are empowered to not consider these things, though, is still a problem and men need to be part of the solution by striving for an awareness of those things that get taken for granted.

      • Anonymous Male says:

        I think I see what you’re saying:

        When working with a male employee, a male boss would likely put up with a certain behavior that a female boss would not tolerate. (In the examples you gave, this would include interrupting the boss and dominating discussion.) Many male employees don’t realize that it’s a different situation with a female boss. The fact that they never realized the difference is a kind of male privilege, because it’s a privilege to be free from worrying about something that other people do have to worry about. Being able to be clueless about sexism is a kind of male privilege, and that privilege gets challenged when a woman becomes the boss.

        Is that it in a nutshell?

      • Privileged group ? This isnt 1973. I graduated from college 30 years ago…and went to school with women equally represented, worked with women and for women and had women work for me. This is the norm. For every rude male that talked over people, I have experienced the same in females. You can always find sexism and gender issues where you want….if that’s what your looking for.

  2. Is this the good mens project as defined by women? I see we’re starting with the assumption men are “privileged” and women are “victims.” Lets set the record straight, women we’re never oppressed. For every woman who was “locked in the home” in the past there was a man who was risking his life or actually dead from working in dangerous jobs or fighting in a war either not of his choosing or to protect the woman who was supposedly locked away. The women of those days were privileged and they knew it, they were grateful beyond belief to their husbands for the sacrifices they made. How anyone could equate being in a safe home as oppossed to working or dying in a job or war as oppressed is laughable.

    The reason why men have invented all art, music, literature, inventions, ect. is because they are biologically good at it. The reason why all history is filled with men of genius is because of biology. So if you want something to blame for womens oppression, biology is the culprit. All womens gains in education, socially, politically and financially in the past 50 years is due only to the guns of the State artificially enforcing advantages and privileges that do not exist in reality. How any man could possibly support a site that degrades and despises men is beyond comprehension.

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