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  1. #1
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Default Female Ts (the SRS version)

    So the “Are women fish?” thread reminded me of something I read in this book (recommended by the Sponge).

    It cites research that demonstrates how women who excel in traditionally male domains can end up 'discarding' their femininity as something which is incongruous with their chosen profession. And that this seems to be a somewhat unconscious process - a way of reconciling the cognitive dissonance created by jarring implicit associations (e.g. "Women suck at math", "I don't suck at math" ergo, "I am not a woman".)



    That the more obvious conclusion ("Women don't suck at math") is not the one that is reached, is testament to the power of implicit associations on the unconscious mind. This 'identity surgery' seems to be a (partially successful) strategy for overcoming "stereotype threat" - the tendency of individuals to underperform in accord with prevailing stereotypes (of race/gender/etc).


    What we believe and what we think we believe are not necessarily in harmony.



    So I want to ask Female Ts: does any of this resonate? Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study? Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions? Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field? Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place?

    Any other response to the material welcomed.



    I'd like to restrict participation to FEMALE Ts ONLY please.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  2. #2
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Glad you did a serious thread on this! The original thread was all over the map.

    So I want to ask Female Ts: does any of this resonate? No.

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study? No.

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions? No.

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field? Not really although due to being a small and relatively feminine looking woman, I have experienced being minimalised. But that gets corrected pretty quickly through assorted means.

    Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place? Some of my interests are societally accepted as belonging in the female terrain and others are societally accepted as belonging in the male terrain. In my opinion, it's all just me.

  3. #3
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Partly yes.
    I'm not a really feminine woman. I hate clothes shopping and I guess I spend more or less as much time before the mirror as my husband. (Well, he has to shave and I don't). Even as a kid, I never really liked the "girls" things - dolls? romantic books about love and jealousy for adolescents? No, not for me.
    I've got a few more "feminine" preferences too - I love dancing, I care about cooking. And as a kid, I liked the princess dress as much as the marbles.
    Why not?
    I didn't really experience a conflict between my field (theoretical physics) and femininity. I looked down on these girls who came to the exam with short skirts. Further I almost never realized I was a woman among men, except when we were joking about it. I felt at home there and didn't really think about it. There were much more interesting things to think about, you know, like the inside of a black hole!

    Even now, some of my choices/interests are not typically feminine and others are. I've backed down from research and went to teach. I adapted my career to my husband. Hey! Why not? It's not my responsibility to even out the statistics, come on! Doing things contrary to the "feminine choice" precisely for that reason? It's a lame reason.
    I'll dress up and even use some make-up for the Christmas get-together or similar and I'm not ashamed of that. I don't do that for my work (though I'd do it once in a while for looking more "feminine" and seduce my husband ) and I'm not ashamed of that, either.
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  4. #4
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    I'm aware of the irony of asking people to recognise their implicit associations. lol.

    I know that the way I dressed and styled myself changed a great deal when I started working in a heavily male-dominated field. This was no conscious effort on my part. How much of it was the "real" me coming out? How much was an attempt to deflect attention away from my gender/sexuality? How much of it was an unconscious desire to fit in, be 'one of the lads". I really couldn't say. But it's interesting to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    I looked down on these girls who came to the exam with short skirts.
    Why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  5. #5
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    So I want to ask Female Ts: does any of this resonate? Not much.

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study? Does not really apply since I´m working in a female dominated area, the well payed jobs (technical translations) go disproportionately often to male translators though. I have done technical and scientific stuff as well as the usual legal and business related texts and never gave this much thought until I met a female interpreter who explained to me that she only did interpreting jobs she liked (on religion, philosophy and art) and that she considered more technical areas to be "too male". That was somewhat of a shock since I have done interpreting on such things as tractor design, auto motors, etc and never considered in unfeminine. My clients on these jobs are more often male than female, but I never felt uncomfortable about being female. Acting all tough and businesslike is a question of professional rather than male/female behavior.
    The (almost completely) female project managers that contact me for translation jobs are mostly SFJ-ish, so I try to use that to my advantage and create a useful superficial bond.
    My little sister (ISFP) is a research scientist and works both with men and women. She is very F privately and has to tone it down in the lab. We were both raised by an ENTP science teacher single mum who taught us from a very early age that the division man=science women=humanities was bullshit and that we should feel free to take whichever path we liked. That helped both of us.

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions? I think anybody who tries that does herself a disfavor. I dislike both the idea that women have to become men to be successful and the idea that women are softer, more emotional managers, etc. What this comes down to is revisiting our notion of what is masculine or feminine behavior. I once did that test on the BBC website that asked for certain biological data and had you both answer a few psychological questions (i.e. self assessment) and a few reaction time tests to see where you landed on a male to female brain sclae. I ended up exactly in the middle between the average female and a gender neutral brain. So even though I am apparently only 50% as feminine as other women, I consider my femininity to be an important part of my identity that I wouldn´t want to give up to fit somebody else´s medieval concept of what a woman should be like or how a job has to be done (as long as it is done well).

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field? No. Language is strongly dominated by women. The technical jobs are better payed and more often done by males but the moment people see you know what you are doing there is no problem. I am usually treated very respectfully. I am small with a feminine body and I look a bit younger than my real age, which leads to a non-threatening girlish appearance that makes people approach me with a positive (though sometimes maternal/paternal) attitude when they first meet me. It is then up to me to correct that impression (or use it to my advantage). So far, professionally, most clients were positively suprised and wanted me to come back.


    I can see how in some areas that demand a lot of aggression this could become problematic, but even in a conservative country like Germany that has fewer women in high positions than most other industrial countries, this is changing. What really pisses me off is when women with political power are measured by different criteria. I disagree with Merkel´s politics, but get worked up when journalists talk about her hair cut or her choice of wardrobe rather than her fiscal policies, etc. This was much more of a problem during the first year of her administration, later on people got used to it and that was that. But a former class mate of mine wrote a book on the portrayel of female politicians in the media.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    It cites research that demonstrates how women who excel in traditionally male domains can end up 'discarding' their femininity as something which is incongruous with their chosen profession. And that this seems to be a somewhat unconscious process - a way of reconciling the cognitive dissonance created by jarring implicit associations (e.g. "Women suck at math", "I don't suck at math" ergo, "I am not a woman".)
    I remember learning about this in an intro psych class, it was pretty interesting. Furthermore, studies have shown that reminding of gender before the test actually makes women do more poorly on math tests. From what I recall similar things were found for minority races in other studies - reminding students that they're in a "stereotypically worse at X" group actually makes them perform more poorly at X. Very interesting!

    What we believe and what we think we believe are not necessarily in harmony.
    This is a very good point and also interesting to consider (it reaches very broadly, far beyond this topic). Mind you, it's also good to keep in mind that most things in psych aren't necessarily proven or even well-supported by the facts. A lot of people like to just say things and talk a lot about them as if they were solid fact.


    So I want to ask Female Ts: does any of this resonate? A bit, I can see the logic but I don't recognize it happening (yes, I realize it would be unconscious anyway sooo...)

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study?
    No, there are a lot of females in this profession, but many/most females in my field are not really as feminine as the stereotype. For example bleached blondes with heavy makeup are the rare exception, not the rule. This is a big bonus for me. I fit right in without changing at all.

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions? No, I can see the logic, but it doesn't resonate with me. I've never had a case where I've had to do this.

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field? Perhaps overly feminine to the point of being ridiculous, but not feminine as I see it.

    Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place? Yes, exactly. Some, but not most. If anything I've become more "feminine" over time as I stopped rebelling against the stereotypes and realized I can pick and choose interests instead of being all "feminine" or "tomboy" - despite going into a career in science. So it's actually the opposite trend for me.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    ¡MI TORTA! Amethyst's Avatar
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    Does any of this resonate? Not as much today as say, thirty years ago. I've heard horror stories from some people, one of them my professor, and how she wanted to go into the engineering field in the 60s or 70s, and how her professors did everything they could so that she would fail out of the program (as she was the only female in it, and there was a reason for that).

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study? No, I'm not that feminine in the first place, I would think.

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions?
    Not at all.

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field?
    What I'm majoring in now, I don't think so...If you show you have talent, are persistent and hardworking, and intelligent and thoughtful, regardless of gender, people will acknowledge it, and you will be taken seriously based more upon those qualities. I think if anyone is on the extremes of femininity/masculinity, they'd be taken less seriously.

    Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place?
    My interests are my own, and I don't really care to categorize them into a gender, even though people seem to do that anyways. Whether they fall into a female or male category is for society to decide, which for the most part I don't care what it thinks of me anyway. If I was to be judged on this, I would think that I have slightly more masculine interests, but I'm pretty balanced.

  8. #8
    L'anima non dimora Donna Cecilia's Avatar
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    Does any of this resonate?

    No.

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study?

    Not at all. Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with being feminine neither in Tourism (where I am working now), nor in Advertising (where I will be working next).

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions?

    No, I never did, and never will do so. But maybe my own identity has to do with that:

    I'm feminine to the bone in appearance (clothes, makeup, perfume), my manners, and how I carry myself.

    But not precisely in character: being (sometimes) overly serious, not afraid to be agressive when needed (but not physically) and, I'm neither talkative nor cheerful; which are all deemed as masculine traits.

    All this put together, is the reason why I use my real name as username in forums. Because I don't have pictures of me in most of them; I got tired of people thinking that I was a man, or accusing me of lying about my gender.

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field?

    No. I'm all right being the mix I described above, since my character helps to wipe away all the wrong impressions that people get when they first see me. Once they get to talk to me, they know that I'm not someone to be taken lightly because of gender identity.

    Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place?

    As for studying and career interests, they both have equal proportion of male and female adepts. There aren't such prejudices there. But my hobbies are considered as stereotypically male, at least where I live.

    Honestly, I've never cared about prejudice of any kind (gender, age, ethnic, etc.). And that goes for all aspects of life. If I am interested in something, I just go for it.

    "An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise."
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  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor
    Glad you did a serious thread on this! The original thread was all over the map.
    Yes, thank you for restarting this thread with an actual focus.

    So I want to ask Female Ts: does any of this resonate? In what recent experience I have had, not too much.

    Do you feel you’ve had to compromise or camouflage your femininity to fit into your chosen profession/field of study?

    My former workplace (software dev) was very male-dominated, there were only six women to about 40-50 men. One women was INFP (the tech writer), the other five were T's (ESTJ, ISTJ, INTJ, INTP, and ESTP). Everyone simply was who they were, and "femme emoting" styles ranged from very masculine (the only "feminine" quality of the ESTP was her long hair, which she never styled but just tossed into a ball cap) to somewhat trendy feminine attire (the ESTJ) and overt feminine mannerisms.

    I never felt femininity was unnaturally suppressed. Instead, what I found was that the obvious signs of femininity never became an issue unless the male staff thought you were incompetent -- in this case, the ESTJ, and she actually was an incompetent project manager, as she seemed to just be a glorified scheduler without any real understanding of the tech the rest of her staff was building. So I felt a vibe of "dumb woman" toward her running through the staff.

    (The INFP tech writer also had a reputation for being ditzy because of her artsty/eccentric attire and F-ish ways + some of the approaches she took to writing that the male techies thought were irrational.)

    Now I work in software dev for a Federal government agency, which has strict policies against gender discrimination, and the majority of my coworkers are professional women, the majority of them T's, and I don't sense an anti-feminine vibe per se. All varieties of femininity are on display.

    HOWEVER, the caveat is, again, you had better be competent. One of the managers is an ESFJ who definitely projects outspoken femininity and seems to constantly be in Fe mode without showing any sort of "logical" thinking -- she's all about the touchy-feeler stuff and socializing, sort of a hard-edged Mrs. Garrett from that old sitcom "Facts of Life" -- and I've even found my own attitude toward her diminishing the longer I've had to work with her. I find I just don't respect her technical competence, even if I would be okay with her as a woman.

    You have to show you've got the "right stuff." It's all about your professional competence. No one gives a crap if you can show what you're made of and that you belong there.

    Can you identify with this idea of casting elements of your identity overboard in pursuit of your ambitions? Not generally, although I think what I typically do is simply find the parts of myself that allow me to fit in and connect, and those are the parts I put out there most blatantly. The other elements are not cast out, they merely take a back seat. There is no overt pressure to do this, it's just something I naturally do in order to create a stable and secure environment around myself, but I still will utilize those non-spotlighted aspects if necessary, I just don't lead with them. If I get into a situation where I would have to suppress too many things, too much, for too long, I wouldn't be happy and would rather sacrifice my ambitions.

    Do you see a conflict between being feminine and being taken seriously in your field?

    See above. I do think the more stereotypically female you are, the more you do have to project other aspects of yourself to be taken seriously in my line of work. The capacity to think and explain things rationally (not self-expression, not emoting, not trying to shore up someone's feelings, etc.) is what is part of my job, so the more feminine cliches you might indulge in, the more you just need to make sure you are on top of your game elsewhere so that people are aware of your professional abilities and realize you do have the necessary skill set and aptitude.

    Or perhaps you feel you never identified strongly with typically feminine interests in the first place?

    I'm comfortable now with a range of feminine and masculine interests. For example, my office looks fairly feminine in decoration, and my attire lands me on the feminine side rather than being androgynous; but I also just built my own computer system from components and had to run into the local computer store and chat up the sales staff there about special internal parts and cables I needed. (I wondered what they were thinking when this visibly feminine woman walks in, then starts "talking the talk" with them and asking them stuff most of the male customers probably don't. They seemed to warm up to me quickly.)

    I do things all over the map, and I like myself because I am diverse and have that range of self-expression and competence.
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  10. #10
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Thanks, all, for your comments. Some interesting (and somewhat internally conflicting) thoughts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I remember learning about this in an intro psych class, it was pretty interesting. Furthermore, studies have shown that reminding of gender before the test actually makes women do more poorly on math tests. From what I recall similar things were found for minority races in other studies - reminding students that they're in a "stereotypically worse at X" group actually makes them perform more poorly at X. Very interesting!
    Yes. Just ticking the box for "I am female" has been shown to degrade performance in a math test. Gregory Watson (of Stanford Uni) proved that negatively stereotyped female students' academic performance 'is like the time of a track star running into a stiff headwind: It underestimates her time without the headwind.' Apparently, when you remove "stereotype threat" women often outperform men. This kind of research provides strong support for positive discrimination.

    If anything I've become more "feminine" over time as I stopped rebelling against the stereotypes and realized I can pick and choose interests instead of being all "feminine" or "tomboy" - despite going into a career in science. So it's actually the opposite trend for me.
    Doesn't the fact of your "rebellion" and later readjustment suggest that, in fact, you did reject certain parts of your identity as not fitting in with your career choice? Albeit temporarily?

    I think this is true of me, too. This idea of finding a middle ground.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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