I’ve been wondering about this.
That said, the only female I’ve seen working on E. Paces (where the painted signs are located) is the Sheriff deputy not managing traffic. At any rate, I think some women need to turn their soap box around and get a new perspective…or come up with more hobbies to keep them busy. I’ve never understood this mentality, that vocal feminists have, or the politics they’ve developed as a result.
One, defacing signs isn’t an act representative of all feminists, just as Jesse Jackson threatening to cut off Obama’s penis isn’t representative of all black people.
Two, Dr. Kleinman summarizes it rather nicely I think when she says, “Signs such as ‘Men at Work’ unintentionally reinforce the idea that only men are suited for — and are capable of — doing outdoor physical jobs.”
In other words, having a “men at work” sign renders the women at work invisible. Sort of how using default masculine pronouns makes women invisible too. I honestly don’t see why changing the signs to more gender neutral ones (Caution: Workers, or something of the like) is such a big problem. The fact that they don’t want to change the signs indicates to me that there’s something deeper, like privilege, going on here.
I don’t see the sign defacing as being representative. However, those who vocally rail against things, not necessarily resulting in illegal action, are the ones I just don’t get – I sometimes think they’re reading more into something than is actually there. I’ve never seen any of this as a deterrent to me and never seen it as a means to stop me from doing what I want to do. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up with very positive female role models.
As for Jackson, that was just stupid and he deserved that to be plastered all over the place.
For Atlanta, they really don’t have the cash flow to bother with something like that right now, particularly with the more pressing matters they’re facing, ATM. But I think the theory postulated by the end of the article holds more truth than anything else. And given that the only place I’ve seen those signs in Atlanta, is E. Paces, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s a slap to the woman who defaced them (you won’t see them at the construction spot at P’tree and E. Paces, and I’ve yet to see them anywhere else in town I’ve been). At which point, I find it highly amusing.
Okay, I understand what you were saying in the first part now. I read it as all feminists taking a particular stance or course of action when I think you were really only referring to this group of feminists. Apologies.
I think your positive female role models might have a lot to do with your feelings actually. People who don’t see themselves represented in a particular field have a hard time breaking into that field, not just because of resistance from the people who are already there but also because, internally, they feel like they don’t belong.
Having a sign which only refers to male construction workers may reinforce the feelings among both male and female constructions that women shouldn’t be there and aren’t “real” construction workers. Language matters; I don’t have to tell you that. 🙂
Yeah, you and I have both faced stuff like that in the gym. But that’s where the fe/male mentality knowledge comes into play. Show up, take the blows, learn to toss them out yourself, men will take you more seriously and be more willing to accept you. Don’t ask for special favours unless it’s an absolute need to (like in our case, focusing on technique over strength) or try to change the requirements for the job (if it requires strength, it requires strength). They will respect you in your position. Try to change things so it’s easier for a woman, but “different” and you’re going to meet with resentment and a wall. Men want you to prove yourself and prove that you deserve to be there. Women, want something, I just haven’t figured that out yet.
While I can agree that language is a part of it, I think we can both agree that changing the language without changing the underlying issues does nothing to alleviate the problem, outside of just changing the verbiage. The bigger issue is the action behind the words. If there is no action, then the wording means nothing.
Words and action are linked, however. Changing the language is a part of, sometimes the easiest part of, changing the underlying issue if for no other reason than it gets the fact that there was an issue into people’s heads.
I’m not just talking about the gym, which is a relatively low stakes environment, at least for me. I’m also thinking about my experience in the academy and being the only person of color in my department.
When you’re the only representative of a particular group, small signs of belonging matter for a hell of a lot.
To me, that has nothing to do with asking for special favors unless you think that the right to show up and do your job and not be bothered for doing so is a special favor.
Yes, they are linked, but they have to happen together, otherwise the only thing that is happening is verbiage change. That’s the whole point of Rhetorical arguments – being the first to define the language then applying it to the argument.
I use the gym because it’s a macrocosm where I’ve faced it the most. In hockey I had to take being checked all the time because they guys were trying to exclude me, down to making sure no one could drive me to practice. After a while, they got used to it and saw that I could roll with things and throw out a few of my own. When it comes to belonging to a group, it all depends on how you want to define yourself within that group. I’ve always been the outsider, so I’ve never classified myself on a small-group level. I’ve always focused more on the group at large instead. The smaller the group, the greater the exclusion. I don’t see myself as having much to prove, I’m just out to do what I want to do and be happy doing it. And I question those that have the issues of exclusion, as to what they are trying so hard to prove, not so much to themselves, but to others (and yes, trying to prove something to one’s self is a prime motivator in that regard) that they take it so personal when excluded by one small group?
In the work environment, I can’t say I’ve had the same experience as you. I have never seen someone disrupting my ability to do my job for any other reason than them being an asshole and thinking my age prevented me from doing much of anything, or the means to which I went to do my job. And yes, I found, asking for permission to take my knowledge of how my own brain works was considered as asking for a special favour. To the point I was told to waste time by doing things the way I was told, then going back and doing the things necessary to make sure I wasn’t making a mistake by doing them my own way. It had nothing to do with my gender or age, but with the fact that my boss wanted things done his way and his way only. If I could not do them in that manner, than anything had to be added on to the processes he wanted done. Unfortunately, that is the way that much of the work field works. Cynical, yes, fair, not really. But the only way to make changes there, is to infiltrate, conquer and then make the changes. Or start your own business and conquer the field.
there’s something deeper…. going on here.
like economics? you might be talking 100’s or 1000’s of signs
Re: there’s something deeper…. going on here.
Then they should get started.