Jobs and gender (was: Gender, Race, and Publishing on the Left)

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Thu Jun 18 09:24:39 PDT 1998

At 08:53 PM 6/17/98 -0400, maggie coleman wrote:
>Sexual harrassment is the primary method used to drive women out of blue
>collar union jobs. Break rooms full of pictures of things like women fucking
>animals or having their tits cut off, physical contact of an intimidating
>nature, etc. Sexual harrassment is used within female work places to divy up
>extras like overtime, flex hours, etc. You do me, and I treat you better.
>Tell you what Wojtek, why don't you read some of the accounts out there of
>life in the blue collar world first.
>Sexual harrassment has two legal definitions:
>1. Sexual demands which are unwanted by the recipient.
>2. The creation of a sexually demeaning atmosphere.

I am not disputing these facts. All I am saying is that driving out women out of blue collar jobs is not about sex but about work. Some of the methods used to that end may fit defintion 2 above, if directed at females, but how about intimidation directed at males to accomplish the same end?

I think what explains this particular kind of blue collar behaviour is not 'sexism' supposedly inherent in the working class, but job insecurity, or rather lacks of access to formal-institutional channels of controlling the workplace. I bet you that if the unions had a genuine say in defining importants aspects of work (qualifications, schedules, pay, workload, etc.) the incidence of these supposedly 'sexist' incidents would decrease quite noticeably.



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