|Twice As Good|
I dissect the complexities of gender roles in the workplace based on Wood's research project; "The Different Dilemmas of Lesbian and Gay Professionals. A Queer World: The Center for
Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader"
You've got to work twice as hard to get half as far as a Black person in white America
–African American Proverb
Almost every black child has heard this before from their parents growing up. It describes what black parents will say to remind their children that they are black. And because this society is anti-black, this antidote, of working twice as hard is a way to combat this disadvantage. The women who Wood interviewed professed there's no way to get around separating their sex and sexual orientation. It affects their personal experience in the work environment. A woman Woods calls Susan, "a production manager for a large publishing plant in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina said, " I have to be perfect. My performance has to be above reproach. For example, I feel extra pressure not to have outside distractions from work". This is a clear example of how minorities, in this case a woman, has to compensate in white, male dominated spaces.
In Wood's research project which describes how minorities must over-compensate, experience unfair expectations, and oppression in a white, heterosexual, male dominated work environment. Wood interviews about a dozen women as his control group and a few men. From the vantage point of women, gay men, and lesbians, they profess what it's like suppressing or being open about their identity in the workplace.
In any case when someone is shedding light on a problematic, toxic, and particularly "normal" conditions. It challenges the status quo, consequently sparking conversations. In Wood's case he goes strait to the horse's mouth and interviews women and men of various sexual orientations. What was interesting, even though not surprising, the sheer ignorance of the men in the workplace. In response to "what do you think your sexuality plays at work?" Among the male professionals they said, "My sexuality has nothing to do with my work at Company X" or "You're going to be disapointed with me, because I keep my professional life and personal life totally separate" or "It would really be unprofessional to bring sex to work".
It's very clear that minorities; women, African-Americans, gay men, lesbians, immigrants are physically in the same space as white, heterosexual men. But are functioning entirely from a world, that's unfair, bias, and works against their person-hood. An interesting term that stood out to me was, "sex roll spillover", "which is the tendency of workers to bring their expectations about gender-appropriate behavior developed outside the workplace to work with them, so that these behaviors become part of what we expect of each other when we are working in corporations.
It's in the double standard when referring to the sex roll spillover. When we think of western stereotypical male roles we think; strong, protects, makes decisions, speaks up, bread winner, shows no emotion, etc. And western stereotypical female roles; stay at home mom, cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, passive, etc. When we combine these outdated and constructed gender roles in a modern environment. There's bound to be double standards deeply embedded in every corner.
There is more pressure for women to detached who they are in the workplace and to disregard their sex and sexual orientation. My debacle is how it's possible to perform from the position of a female gender role while being expected to simultaneously dismiss it. It's not only unrealistic but impossible to see a woman as simply existing to bear children and raise them. But, make it difficult for a women, who's a mom, to be comfortable being a mom? How does that work exactly? Wood perfectly explores the conversation about queer critique by providing clear and real life examples about the double standards that exist. Even if white, heterosexual, males refuse to see them.
Wood, J. (n.d.). The Different Dilemmas of Lesbian and Gay Professionals. A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, 508-513. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from John Jay Digication.