I've been wanting to ask the men of TA this question for a while, but couldn't come up with the right wording to make it sound right....

So.....fuck it. I'm just going to ask you straight out.

How do men see women?

(Example) If you meet a new female co-worker, do you automatically categorize the woman as being like your wife, girlfriend, mistress, daughter, or some other female in your life? Do you then treat her accordingly?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm about to do something totally crazy. I'm entering a field where I may be working with ALL men. Less than 1% of women in this field. Why? Because I'm a crazy girl.....so. I need to know from a guy's perspective how to relate with them. I'm used to the "corporate world," and I can play that game. I'm also familiar with law enforcement, where things are a little rougher, but there was still plenty of women that I worked with. But I've never been the ONLY woman, (or one of the only women.) Maybe I'm freaking out over nothing....very possible. But, for what it's worth I thought it would be fun to discuss how men see women. And, any advice you guys have would be welcome. I'm fearful of men right now, but I know it's an irrational fear. I know that. But the opportunity I have in front of me could put me in the 6 figure range income-wise. I'm willing to do what it takes to overcome this. Any help/advice is welcome.

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The physical demands of being an ironworker should not be underestimated. Whether carrying rebar, cutting beams with an actylene torch, or welding joints it's hard ass work and very demanding. You also cannot be afraid of heights. That being said the one thing all your co-workers in that particular profession will want to know and see is if you can "pull your own weight." If you can't hold your own then you'll soon fall out of favor. They'll give you a little slack during the apprenticeship phase but not much. I worked in the commercial construction industry for years as a technician/electrician and know by being around them that they won't tolerate a slacker. Good Luck. 

I think I read somewhere that men decide if a woman is someone they find sexually attractive at first glance. Women give men more time than that. 

So, men don't categorize women, as a rule, in the roles you outlined. It's more about "would I do her if I could?"

If you don't want sexual attention, that's easy. Don't be sexually attractive.

You can go to work without even basic makeup, wear extremely loose clothing, wear a sports bra instead of one that enhances your bustline, etc.

Come on, you know what I'm talking about.

While men make a snapshot decision on wether they "would do her if they could", most men don't become a stalker (to exaggerate the point) when they categorize a woman as such.
As far as I've seen, while we (men) do turn up the attention (pass by more often for small talk) we don't treat attractive women differently (as in turning up the sexual attention or treating her differently in the professional environment).

While men to make a snap decision "would I like to do her if I had the chance," it's not a forever decision. A female can grow on you once you get to know her.

I remember from my college days, a fellow reporter on the student newspaper who, when I met her, was categorized as a bit of a "butterball." She was carrying maybe 20 pounds she could have done without. Over time, she became a friend and she also became sexually attractive to me, though she had a boyfriend who also found her sexy, too. It sure would/ve been nice to wake up to her in the morning.

I think, consciously or subconsciously, most women view being strong (however they interpret that) as being hard to reconcile with femininity. This is a dilemma women face in the modern world.

The main fountain of strength women are left with is the power of sex (sex appeal, seductiveness, using sex to disempower the male, etc.), all of which are reconcilable with femininity.

Our TA women are invited to comment on that. 

No need to chime in with a "not all women" comment. We already understand that generalities have exceptions. 

Belle, I appreciate your acknowledging that reality. You increased my respect for you.

My guess is that if you, in an relevant scene with male ironworkers, can respond with that kind of honesty, and with a chuckle, you will win the respect of those with any emotional strength.

Would an added, "Men use money, don't they?" (also with a chuckle) preserve the distance that a work relationship requires?

A woman I know, a former US Marine now in her 80s and a political ally, would look me in my eyes and remind me that men use money similarly.

Fuck the peer pressure! This is where strong personalities matter the most. (Whoops, you didn't invite some of us to comment.)

I don't think I said anything about peer pressure. Rather females value being feminine, but femininity may not be helpful to the most effective career strategy.

I don't think I said anything about peer pressure.

True, I (possibly mistakenly) inferred it. But what other influence besides peer pressure can make women (or men) want to appear a certain way to other people? It's what people do before they dress up and go out into the public, right? And there's a huge industry behind selling appearance "enhancements" (but I don't want to steer this thread into that topic).

Take masculinity for example. If I want to be a manly man, can't it simply be that I'm a man and I want to look/behave in a masculine way because of that? Are we all devoid of gender identity until peer pressure takes over? I don't think so.

Why is it different for women? Women are only feminine because of peer pressure?

That doesn't pass the giggle test.

There is a very heavy cultural influence on gender behavior, including how one is expected to appear. Why won't you acknowledge this kind of peer pressure? Where do your ideas of "manly man" and "masculine" come from?

As for giggle tests, don't women pay a hell of a lot more for appearances than men?

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