Thursday, March 8, 2007

Blog Against Sexism Day

I have two topics to talk about today, in honor of Blog Against Sexism Day.

I was browsing around yesterday (not necessarily looking for links about misogyny, but you know, they aren't really hard to find on the internet, where the sexists and racists can hide behind the cloak of anonymity), and I found a link to this forum. (A little background information, the forum is frequented by people either working in the medical/pharma industry or looking for jobs or advice about breaking into the industry. So, the people who post here aren't teenage internet goons, they're supposedly professionals, although that certainly doesn't mean that they're not prone to sophomoric behavior.)

The original poster says that she's interviewed many times for a job in medical devices (I'm guessing med device sales), and five times she's been up to the point where it's been her versus another candidate for the job, and every time it's been a guy and he's been chosen over her, and one time it was a guy she knew who was less qualified than her. (She posted twice in the forum, so some of this information came from her second post.) So she was asking for advice on what she could do to break into the industry. Here are some responses she got:

I let them know that I wouldn't back down regardless of what a doc did or said and I had specific examples to share as to what I had done in past circumstances when faced with a challenge.

So pretty much, one woman let her potential employer know that if she were faced with a "challenge" about what another doctor said or did to her, she wouldn't press charges. These good ol' boys wouldn't want to have any unpleasantness, you know.

This is the reason guys get jobs...they don't bitch.

Yeah, sure. "Bitching" is something exclusive to women. Guys never complain about anything.

I'm sorry, I have to laugh!! I would work with guys 100% of the time, if I could. I am here at home with no job due to the female cats out there. I also am turning 60 so I have age as another problem. BUT the women out there are a mess! They whisper, harbor knowledge, want to see you fall, etc. I really need a job and now my name is tarnished to say the least. Men are great, they take it and brush it off and move on.

That was from (supposedly) another woman. As Twisty said, "When women hate women, it is only men hating women by proxy." Women oppress other women all the time, because they themselves are oppressed (just as men are oppressed by the patriarchy).

For better or device sales are still a male bastion because the job is considered both physically and mentally hard. Women in the pharm industry have made a bad reputation for all women in med sales. Most female pharma reps are preening, pretentious, Barbie doll clones with questionable work ethics (I was a pharma DM for 4 years). Unfortunately this is the dominant view so you'll have to show real ACCOMPLISHMENTS to get hired.

Physically hard? Why, do you have to lug around a heart and lung machine everyday? And if "Barbie doll clones with questionable work ethics" are hired, maybe the ethics of the hiring managers should be questioned. More attractive people probably have an easier time making sales, so it's not surprising that a manager would consider looks over qualifications.
Each Manager wants something specific going into an interview (even if it is all HOT blonds with long legs, men, frat boys, etc).
Oh, each manager wants something different, so it's OK that they openly discriminate against individuals who are qualified for the job but not qualified enough to win a beauty pageant.

Most people know enough to know what racist statements are, but if you substitute gender terms for racial terms, people suddenly think it's OK to be sexist. Or sometimes there is the political equivalent, where people think it's OK to be sexist against someone because they don't believe the same political/social ideas as them (see Ann Coulter criticism from liberal dudes for a good example).


Now that you're done reading that, here's my second topic that relates to sexism.

Yesterday, I was having a discussion with two feminist colleagues about prostitution. I'm very much against the institution of prostitution (not prostituted women) and the practice wouldn't be so prolific if there wasn't a market for it. We were talking about the legalization of prostitution, and even though I'm against the legalization of the sexual oppression of women, I'm also against criminalizing these prostituted women. I hypothesized that perhaps by legalizing prostitution nationwide (because it is legal in Nevada, I think), the spread of disease could be regulated, and these women could be better cared for and safer (in a brothel versus in a back alley).

However, one of the women pointed out that most prostitutes are under the age of 18, therefore illegal prostitution would still exist, even if it were legalized and regulated. So legalizing prostitution is a red herring thrown to those of us who want to make sure that prostituted adult women are provided with some sort of care. She found a report from a few years ago about prostitution in NYC that reported that "[...] some estimates hold that half the girls involved in street prostitution are between the ages of 13 and 15; many have been reported to start as early as age 11."

The report went on to state "Boys, perhaps surprisingly, are said to constitute up to half the population of sexually exploited youth in the City." I suppose this fact is only surprising to people who consider women to be the "sex class". Boys can be exploited sexually just as easily as girls.


To end on a lighter note, I just got my copy of Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex, so hopefully I will have some free time to read it this weekend (even though I missed out on the Shulamarathon at Twisty's page.)

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