Help Wanted, Women Need Not Apply

An experiment revealed a very curious thing. Of the 44 comments (as of now), only one came from a woman (thanks, Kath). Why would that be?  Some obvious possibilities:

  1. Women do not read SJ, and its readership, as Cristian Farias suggested, consists of “hetero cis white males.”
  2. Women are “terrified” (whether of me, math or leaving comments), as Vin Messina suggested.
  3. Women, unlike men, either have no relevant work experience to offer, or nothing that compares with that offered by men.

If the first possibility is the case, it would be a particularly sad commentary on the state of gender affairs, as it suggests that women have no interest in reading about legal issues that don’t inure to their gender benefit.

If the second is the case, it would be an even worse commentary, clearly sexist, suggesting that women are only interested in blogs that pander to their self-interest and provide a safe and supportive environment. No one, without regard to gender or any other characteristic, is assured of a tummy rub here.

And if the problem is the third possibility, then the issue is societal, in that inequality has allowed women to avoid the hard and unpleasant labors that men appear to regularly undertake.  If the goal is gender equality, this is a terrible problem. If the goal is special treatment for women, then not so much.

A puzzlement.*

*The options are not, of course, mutually exclusive or comprehensive.

76 comments on “Help Wanted, Women Need Not Apply

    1. SHG Post author

      Not to take this into the gutter, but they tell me that it’s their right to do so, and to do so without consequences.

  1. Kathleen Casey

    I can only speak for me:

    1. I think I have friends who are “hetero cis (what’s that?) white males.” Maybe even the man I remain married to.

    2. I can’t think of anyone in shoe leather I’m “terrified” of. Those and other work experiences may factor into my attitude.

    3. I forgot some of them but I’ll let it it lie.

      1. PaulaMarie Susi

        Close but no cigar (every possible pun intended).
        Cisgender, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, relates to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.

        And, I’ve commented before, read SJ fairly religiously, and fear no one. I may have failed to comment (on that particular post) because I was away torturing the boyfriend…

  2. Noxx

    This is certainly a chat we’ve had before. You’ll never see a group of women protesting outside of a coal mine for equal employment, because mining coal is a shitty dirty job.

    In our society, women don’t dig ditches. They don’t pour concrete, lay sod, or climb high kv towers. Somehow, that division of labor is accepted and normal, but under representation of women in comfortable high paid jobs is the death knell of the civilized world? Something dishonest there. Something a little off.

    1. Patrick Maupin

      Historically, and with good reason, women were shielded from all the dangerous jobs except the most dangerous of all — childbirth.

      Also historically, men would do whatever it would take to get a good wage, because that was what attracted the women.

      Neither of these are strictly true any more. We’ll be in transition for awhile, and it will be interesting to see where we wind up. We’ve certainly made some (IMO) missteps along the way. For example, physical standards for firefighters were originally meant to exclude the unworthy men, not specifically to exclude women, and if you relax them for women only, that’s one set of problems, but if you relax them for everybody, that’s another set of problems.

      As other commenters have noted, a lot of women just go and get the job done with no muss or fuss, in fields like law and tech. And a few women even manage to do the same with jobs like firefighting. More power to all of them.

      As far as the women who complain, and the men who counter-complain, yeah there are always complaints about transitions. They simultaneously go too fast, and not fast enough.

      1. mb

        “As other commenters have noted, a lot of women just go and get the job done with no muss or fuss, in fields like law and tech. And a few women even manage to do the same with jobs like firefighting. More power to all of them.”

        You raise an interesting question as to what cost should be acceptable in order to avoid any exclusionary policy. Suppose that for a particular job, only half of qualified male applicants make it through training, while only a tenth of qualified female applicants do. Further, suppose that you spend about half as much on someone who washes out as you do on one who passes. This would mean that a female recruit cost more than four times as much as a male one on average to train. In the absence of any evidence that women were five times as good at the job, is it not entirely reasonable to simply exclude women from the job? I mean, we may not like a society that has any male-exclusive jobs, but reality doesn’t let societies exist if they suck at allocating scarce resources, whether we like them or not.

        1. Patrick Maupin

          It’s an interesting question. Many current training regimes are probably premised on an even higher pass rate, because even at 50% the cost of post-training failures becomes noticeable, whereas above 90%, it’s probably in the noise.

          So if an influx of women wanting to join causes so many additional post-training failures that it becomes prohibitively expensive, and it’s not politically expedient to use the presence of a Y chromosome as a proxy for the requisite upper body strength, then one possible solution may be to “fail fast” — to administer the hardest part of the physical tests before candidates are accepted for training. You could even make the candidates pay for the nominal cost of administering the intake test, which should be much less than the cost of training.

          A whole cottage industry will spring up with trainers to help people get ready for the test.

          Bathrooms and living quarters are another question, but we’re already going to need separate facilities for the 20 year veterans who decide that Caitlyn Jenner is their hero.

          1. mb

            So the formula would be political expediency minus possible solutions equals please don’t call me a misogynist?

            I would suggest that a better solution is the value of checking off the box that says “women can do that too” equals zero minus however many dollars we’re supposed to borrow against our children’s credit in order to do it.

            But then, it costs me nothing to tell people no. (as long as it’s anonymously on the internet)

            1. Patrick Maupin

              Such a checkbox would never be abused, right?

              Somehow, I don’t see “We need manly men and that one has tits.” working very well right now. There may be an argument that you should be able to get away with it in private enterprise — freedom of association is certainly in tension with discrimination laws, but government actors theoretically shouldn’t have that tension.

              According to a New York Post article about Rebecca Wax, 14 male recruits and 1 female recruit out of a group of 317 male and 3 female failed to pass all the tests, which means that the inclusion of females bumped the overall training failure rate from 4.4% to 4.7%.

              When considering dromedary probosces, that doesn’t seem like nearly as bad a problem as the one that they decided to relax their objective criteria to allow Rebecca to become a firefighter despite the failure.

            2. mb

              “Somehow, I don’t see “We need manly men and that one has tits.” working very well right now.”

              If your position can’t be argued without inventing additional facts, that’s a pretty good sign that it is based in emotion, rather than reason. There is no phony, cartoonish machismo in anything I said. If the failure to exclude women from a particular job results in additional costs to future taxpayers, while not producing any tangible benefit whatsoever, is that not a sufficient reason to limit the field to male applicants? Whether the costs arise due to lower pass rates in training or from added housing or insurance costs, higher likelihood of exiting the job early, or from any other difference between the sexes is immaterial. The fact that women sometimes sue for having been treated no better than similarly situated men is relevant, but only as another potential source of costs.

    2. matt w

      You should read the story of Marilyn McCusker, who sued to be allowed to work at Rushton Mining Company, and was killed in a mining accident two years after the suit was settled.

  3. RollieB

    Why would people walk into a place where they are treated with distain? There is nothing difficult about understanding the lack of female involvement at SJ; SJ offers a narrow, misogynistic view of life, especially on the legal side of life.

    1. SHG Post author

      I suspect there’s a lot of truth in what you say, notwithstanding your misuse of “misogynistic.” The difference between our views is that I think more highly of women than you do. Everyone is treated the same here, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, whatever. Reason prevails, no matter who says it. How sad that you think women are incapable of reason, nothing more than puddles of self-serving emotion.

  4. Vin

    My tweet was partially tongue in cheek and while related to woman not commenting on this thread, covers the broader spectrum of the way both men and woman might feel leaving a comment on your articles, or tweeting responses to your tweets. And, in a hilariously ironic twist, your characterization of my tweet as being “clearly sexist” is QED.

    Your blog is easily misconstrued by the casual reader, both male and female, to be one that doesn’t support gender equality. Your articles and responses to people who comment depict a person who has very little patience for arguments that either stray from the original posts point or get too emotional, no matter the topic.

    When you combine these two things, and consider your history of handling people who get mushy on your articles, there is a strong possibility that woman are either not interested in your style, not willing to submit to the public scrutiny of your response or they actually just hate your guts because they can’t put their bias aside for the few moments it takes to understand that you are all for gender equality.

    OR, they just hate your style, which in reality can be unsavory for both men and woman who may not need a “tummy rub” but may not enjoy a totalitarianistic blog.

      1. Vin

        Let’s be realistic here. First, I love you.

        Second, your blog is like that game Operation. A reader comes, reads, gets all excited about making a thoughtful comment, reaches down to type it in, does the math, hits post….and then…BZZZZZ!!!

        Also, even Sparta has woman trained to not shrivel in the face of danger.

    1. Kathleen Casey

      “…a person who has very little patience for arguments that either stray from the original posts point or get too emotional, no matter the topic. …”

      Like most or all the judges we see from the defendant’s table.

  5. Elizabeth Ferguson

    I am a woman and an attorney who follows you on Twitter and regularly reads your blog. I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I would not expect them to all be white hetero cis males.

    I am not terrified of you, math, or leaving comments. I will admit that this is my first comment on your site, but that’s just because I don’t know you and I don’t read or respond because I want tummy rubs. I am responding today because I don’t want people to think women aren’t interested in what you say and don’t read your blog. I don’t always agree with you, but I don’t learn to think about new things by only reading stuff that fits with my beliefs.

    I had meant to respond to the work experience post, but time got away from me. Here’s my info:

    1. Taco Bell in high school – cashier and food prep. My first “real” job that wasn’t babysitting for the neighbor’s kids.
    2. Salesperson for Cutco knives for a short time after high school.
    3. Part time microfiche operator at my local community college when I was a student there. $3.35 per hour at the time. Worked there up until my first year in law school; I was making a little more by the time I left.
    4. Proofreader for one of my Criminal Justice professors on a textbook he was writing.
    5. Law clerk in a solo firm for the man who is still a mentor to me. His paralegal at the time was my law school classmate. I now rent office space from them.
    6. Law clerk for a different solo. I learned a lot of things lawyers shouldn’t do from this person. He is no longer a lawyer.
    7. Staff attorney for legal aid. Pay was lousy, carpooled with another attorney as office was 40 miles away and gas was expensive and wages were low. Did get a caseload right away and learned a lot.
    8. High ranking administrator in HR at the college I started out at. Good pay, mostly good people, left because it was no longer a good fit for me.
    9. Solo attorney for the last couple of years. Building up my practice so there isn’t a ton of money yet, but I’m happy.

    Some of my work experiences were bad, some were okay, and some have been great. My plan is to keep working for what I want and moving forward. I expect to work for what I want and do not expect someone to hand it to me. I am not sure it would be worth it if it was easy.

  6. John Barleycorn

    Did you go and hire Patti Smith to write some nearly original songs and poetry to spruce up your favorite posts themes around here or are you taking another hard look at updating your banner?

    The font on “the button” is fine. Don’t fuck with it.

    Well, I hope your readers will take this leap day bout of demographic insecurity to heart as an example of what can happen to a person who reads that newspaper you read everyday.

    They have a twelve step program that can help you with that habit of yours esteemed one. Great place to meet women too, when you are ready that is.

    Now, now, you just relax, and head on over to The Manhattan Chapter of the Feminists Underground Enforcement Squad’s clubhouse for lunch this afternoon and rest your weary little head on the lap of someone who can help you find a suitable program location and schedule that will work with your schedule.

    P.S. You really need to get out of the house more. Happy hour is evolving and some people still drink beer with lunch you know.

  7. mb

    Regarding “problem” number three, if I had come to realize sometime in my early childhood that eventually I could make tiny people come out of my body and that they would live for several months off of milk that they would suck from my nipples, I’d have been too traumatized by that revelation to ever be able to take on some of the tasks I’ve had to do. Women just take this in stride. I certainly don’t fault them for not building or growing or extracting as many things as men do.

  8. AH

    I am a woman who regularly reads your blog, has commented in the past, and sometimes disagrees with you. I was moving this weekend so not really paying attention to the internet. That being said, had I read the post I don’t know if I would have replied, simply because I don’t know that my experience adds enough to the mix to make it worth the effort. I do agree with people not having summer jobs anymore and it is shocking to me when we are recruiting and see resumes from people who have somehow been able to make their way many years of university without gainful summer employment. I always see that as a red flag.

    My summer jobs:

    1. Shipping and receiving in a parts department, worked my way up to:
    2. Driving the parts truck (did this for many summers, you get a great one-armed tan); then to:
    3. Working in the parts department as a parts adviser (also for many summers); then finally my really cushy job:
    4. Research assistant at the University I was attending.

    I disagree with Noxx that women won’t do the non-cushy jobs, I think it obviously depends on the woman. I will say that in the parts department I had more than one person refuse to deal with me because I wasn’t a man. I also saw my fair share of inappropriate comments while delivering parts. None of which prevented me from doing my job or caused me to draw conclusions about the behavior of ALL men. It would be great if those like Noxx could similarly refrain from drawing conclusions about the behavior of all women from the actions of some.

    1. Noxx

      Ok, lets not jump to conclusions and start using the “ALL” and “EVERY” traps of rhetoric. Obviously there are outliers and exceptions, I’ve worked with them over the years.

      However I want to point out that we are not discussing the same thing at all in terms of “work”. Picking parts is surely a blue collar job. It brings one into contact with a great deal of the casual misogyny of that world, from calendars to comments to open discrimination. In that world, it’s a pretty casual job. It’s the sort of thing working people retire to, or young people use as an industry foothold. I still go climbing around in the guts of very large machines, but I considered my current job “retired on my feet”.

      When I say there are jobs that I don’t see women advocating for entrance to, I’m talking about the world of heavy industrial labor. Jobs that involve, to abuse an old cliche, “Mud, blood and shirttails hanging out”. Wrestling 500MCM conductors in a muddy vault in the middle of the night, hauling eighty pound motors up a fixed ladder inside of a baghouse silo where no lifting equipment will suffice, wrestling a sixty pound chipping hammer in a thirty inch crawlspace. There are many others, these are loose examples from my own experience.

      It is not my intent to belittle your experience, but I feel it’s necessary to clarify that it’s not terribly relevant to my point.

      1. AH

        I take your point. However, as a woman who has been accused of liking allegedly “manly” things, I would posit that the reason women aren’t clamoring for those jobs, is because they are not physically suited for them, not because they don’t want to get their hands dirty. It does not bother me to admit that the majority of women would not be capable of hauling an eighty pound motor up a fixed ladder or use a sixty pound chipping hammer. I certainly would not be able to do it.

        So to me, arguing that the fact women aren’t fighting for jobs in the heavy industrial sector somehow makes their push for equality in other sectors disingenuous is unfair. You are asking women to fight for jobs that have components that most women cannot physically perform in order to justify their desire for a fair shake in professions where they are equally capable of performing as a man. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that women would fight even harder for those jobs that they can do given that there will be a number of them that many women physically can’t do?

        In my part of the world, at least until recently, the types of heavy industrial jobs you describe were some of the best paying around. Better than those you have described as casual blue collar. Frequently better than those traditionally believed to be “comfortable high paid” jobs. I think there are many women would would be interested in pursuing them if they were physically able to do the work. All things being equal physically would as many women as men want to do them? and if not why not? That to me would be the interesting question to look at but impossible to determine.

      2. Michael Marr

        On behalf of all the 5’5″ and shorter men who weigh less than 130 lbs, please cut it out with the “manly” jobs; you’re giving me a complex. I don’t want a dirty job either but it shouldn’t be closed to me because of gender (Me, lawyer, 23 years. Formerly, parts stores, moving companies, construction unions).

        Found this blog by googling author’s name after seeing his comment regarding nuanced arguments in a sex offense case in Georgia.

  9. Dragoness Eclectic

    Like I said on the Help Wanted post itself, I don’t read your column every day, and not on weekends. That’s family time.

    1) I read your column, and I am not a “heterosexual male” of any color.
    2) I’m sure you’ve seen enough of my comments to know that I’m not “terrified” to post here–yes, you sometimes slap me down, but you’ve taught me to more assertive by doing that–and more selective about what I have to say. Also, thank you for making me less stupid about the justice system and what lawyers do–you and Ken White between you have been very enlightening.
    3) HA!

  10. Kelly

    I read your blog all the time – I just didn’t get around to commenting until this morning. (I’m the one in the comments who smelled like bleach and chlorine all through HS.) I would say “none of the above” to your three possible explanations for a lack of comments from women. But, if you want comments from a woman on the three options you listed: (1) Wrong. (2) Pbbbbtht. (3) Seriously?
    My father rented out my bedroom my soph year in HS, and I had to sleep in the den and share a bathroom with the tenant, who was a creepy male adult co-worker of his. I worked fast food all through HS to pay for food, clothes, school activities, etc. Still got top grades, varsity-lettered in two sports, and received merit scholarships to college.
    Moved the hell out as soon as I graduated HS and could work more hours to pay for my own place, and put myself through college. I can’t remember a day since I was 15 that I wasn’t working my ass off to support myself. Did so in college, through grad school, law school, and today. Some jobs literally stunk, made me sick, and left me sleep deprived. But, what’re you going to do when you have no one but yourself to rely on?
    I don’t understand kids today who don’t think they have to suck it up and drive on to get anywhere. I blame their parents, some of whom are my peers. I have a friend whose son graduated $$$$ private HS, and was preparing to go an Ivy, with my friend (dad) paying for everything. Over the summer, dad suggested his son get a summer job so he’d have some money for school. Son’s reply? “Fuck you, dad.”
    And then he took his shiny BMW out to get pizza with his friends. I asked my friend how he disciplined his son for that behavior – he sighed and laughed it off.

  11. PAV

    Your readership is not all hetero cis white men. I am terrified of leaving comments around self-proclaimed feminists, due to the vitriol I see in their twits and blogs and how that gets aimed at anyone who offends them, not you. You’re just curmudgeonly. I comment rarely because I am far more interested in reading what you have to say than I am in hearing myself talk.

  12. SM

    1. Not a dude, regular reader for the past several months
    2. When I have something useful to add to the conversation, I’ll add it. Until then, I’m going to keep my mouth shut and try to learn something (current comment notwithstanding). For a while I considered going to law school, and thanks to blogs like SJ, Fault Lines, and Popehat I can revel in deciding it wasn’t a good plan for me before spending copious amounts of money towards a law degreel. Instead I can read about the system so that I can become less ignorant of how it works and realize just how ignorant I still am at the end of the day.
    3. I’ve been decently lucky with jobs and I know it. My brother has been decently lucky with jobs too. On the whole I agree with Dragoness’ sentiment: “HA!”

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m both glad and sorry that we put you off of law school, but when that happens, it’s almost always for the best.

      1. SM

        Reading legal blogs wasn’t the sole reason I decided against law school, but it has certainly been for the best.

      2. Patrick Maupin

        Oh, noes! Don’t you know there’s a deficit of women in your field, and it’s all the fault of people like you??!?

        What are you thinking????

        (Seriously, though, it’s awesome if you have even a small hand in helping people figure out their niche.)

  13. Natalie

    What about the reality that there are women who read SJ and have nothing more to add? I’ve been a public defender for 10 years, am in court every day, and am too consumed with a caseload, trials, and real client emergencies to post the thoughtful comments your blog deserves (nor do I wish to waste anyone’s time with a simple “Amen, SG!” comment). I do enjoy and learn from your criminal-defense-oriented posts, though. The quasi-feminism quandaries you’re taking on of late just aren’t as interesting to me, as I was a women’s studies major in college and just don’t have patience or time for the low brow drama (and it’s beneath you to engage it, IMHO). Nevertheless: Amen, SG! Now back to the front line.

    1. SHG Post author

      I have the discussion every once in a while with people who ask me how I can be so right about crim law and so wrong about feminism and social justice. This is something that comes out of time, experience and institutional memory. They’re far more closely related than may appear. I see how the hysteria 40 years ago led to disastrously bad law and practice that we’re fighting to undo today. I see how 30 years from now, you will be fighting to undo similar disasters for clients being prosecuted for crimes growing out of today’s social justice and feminist agenda. When that happens, the “low brow drama” will make sense to you, but I have no expectation that it will make sense to you until then.

  14. Noxx

    Just throwing this in there, persons who are “afraid to comment” on a blog because they might experience negative reactions need to grow the hell up. I comment often. Sometimes Scott responds to those comments by telling me my input is stupid/ off point / otherwise valueless. The only effect that has on the rest of my day is that I (sometimes) try to put a little extra thought into my comments, having been chastised. I don’t need to see my therapist over it. I don’t need a safe space to retreat to. I don’t need a signed certificate from Scott assuring me that I have value as a person and he respects my “lived experiences”.

    Frankly, if you need all this bubble wrap to interact with other humans just, you know, fuck off? Life is dirty, people are shitty, dirt and shit will get on you at some point.

    1. Patrick Maupin

      I’m not sure the emotion is always fear, or that there is a lot of growing up needed. Sometimes life’s too short to engage. Do you comment on lots of feminist blogs?

      Look at it this way — if a lurker isn’t responding because they don’t want to defend their opposing viewpoint, at least they are reading stuff here that they aren’t agreeing with, e.g. they aren’t living in an echo chamber.

      1. SHG Post author

        I can completely understand someone not commenting because they don’t want to defend their view, or even take the risk I’ll be an asshole toward them. But comments on the Help Wanted post were benign, no viewpoint to defend, no challenges or questions. If there was ever a post here ripe for easy comment, that was it.

            1. Patrick Maupin

              All the time. But do you really expect us to believe that you haven’t noticed that commenting on your blog is like crack to some of the regulars? Or that, with few notable exceptions, such as the Dragonness, the ones requiring the most frequent hits are all guys?

              You’re just playing us, like one of those life forces in Star Trek that feeds off emotional energy.

              Or, wait — maybe that’s the MSM — I get really confused when I comment as much as I did today. (Or maybe it’s just the stomach bug that has me throwing up for the first time in a decade.)

  15. ch

    As a professional woman I can state for myself it was none of the above. While I read a wide range of material including this blog I very rarely comment on any of them.

    My early jobs while mostly less physical included:

    – paper run – from early primary school first helping on an older siblings run and then with my own run.
    – telemarketer
    – laboratory assistant grinding and preparing laboratory samples. These were marked with names such as sludge from process X.
    – after school and holiday care for primary school children
    – scout leader for 7 years for 8 to 11 year olds
    – tutor

    1. meep

      I assume, given a comment below by SHG, that he may have an idea of how many people read without commenting.

      It may be that women rarely comment…because we’re busy posting cute pics of our kids on facebook.

      Also, my crap jobs were more of the tutor/babysitting/data entry type. Weren’t all that bad.

  16. The Real Peterman

    Or the number of comments at this august blog isn’t high enough to be a sample size capable of drawing conclusions from.

  17. Sara

    You did specify that the jobs should be “nasty, weird, hard or particularly unusual.”

    Some of my unpaid chores (taking care of the chickens, weeding the garden) are more likely to qualify than my paid gigs. As a kid I did once get paid 25 cents an hour to spend all day pulling rocks out of the dirt so they wouldn’t damage the newly laid pipe for a few weeks.

    In second grade I started making change at an ice cream stand for minimum wage, which was exciting, because otherwise I mostly earned $1 or $2 an hour to help people with their cleaning chores. Later there was a paper route.

    At 11, I started babysitting (this would now be illegal most places) and spent some time both serving and making change at an ice cream stand (that was hot and it was difficult to stay hydrated as I was working alone and couldn’t just leave the stand for a bathroom break).

    Later I worked backing up the computers, stocking shelves, cleaning, and working the cash register in a bookstore. Then there was a real estate magazine where the work was tedious enough that my coworker and I sometimes made up games to play while we worked (Death to all modifiers! This month, rewrite the descriptions of all the houses to exclude X!). And then there was office work, answering phones, making copies, stuffing envelopes, running errands, filing, etc., summers helping with new student orientation. And then being a research assistant to fun grad school.

    Some of it was tedious, but none of it “nasty, weird, hard or particularly unusual.” I’m still of the generation where you were expected to have part-time and summer jobs, and the majority of my female friends waitressed (a popular high school job was at the local retirement village) or worked in sandwich shops (again, not particularly unusual). And I’m still of the generation that excluded women from certain jobs (even as pizza delivery drivers). Not that anyone would necessarily come out and say that the jobs were only open to men, but a quick look at the work crew made it obvious.

  18. SlimTim

    Half of the screen names in the earlier article don’t imply gender. Maybe your female readers are just less likely use screen names that contain their first name.

  19. Angie NK

    I’m one who didn’t reply because I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to add. I’m still a college student (Just got my LSAT score: 168!), and all the part-time jobs around here are retail. Cashier at a used book store, bagger at a grocery store, cashier at a grocery store.
    See? Nothing worthwhile to add.

  20. Alex

    I hadn’t read the original post, but I went back and read it just now, including the comments. Had I seen it, I guess I wouldn’t have had much to add for two reasons:

    1) As a result of my family’s financial situation growing up, I spent my summers up until job-seeking age hanging out on our boat or at the yacht club. When summer jobs time came around, I picked jobs that let me be at yacht clubs and approximate the experience while collecting pay — yacht club waitress, lifeguard at the pool. When it came time for more serious stuff, I worked in an accounts payable department. That was less than exciting – it was basically hours on end of data entry followed by mind-numbing shredding of documents, but certainly not difficult and not all that unpleasant. I really didn’t find any of the jobs I did to be difficult or unpleasant. I guess I got really lucky there. It had nothing to do with being female. I have plenty of male friends who did the same or even more fun things – lifeguarding, driving the launch at the yacht club, sailing instructor, swimteam coach, etc. We knew to look for those jobs or had access to them because we grew up around them, both genders. We were extremely fortunate in that sense.

    2) The jobs people listed as dirty, hardwork jobs were, in some cases, jobs I had during college and law school, but I didn’t find them particularly dirty or unpleasant. Several commenters mentioned tending bar and DJing. I was a bartender for years and I still DJ when I’m so inclined. I think they’re fun jobs. Considering some of the other jobs people listed — working in 130 degree heat, flipping burgers, etc. — I think bartending and DJing shouldn’t even make the list. OK, bartenders have to carry heavy boxes of wine and barrels of ice, but really? It’s far from grueling labor. DJ’s have to stay up late and deal with people shouting requests at them through terrible beer breath at 2 am, but again, far from grueling labor. I had great fun at both jobs.

    I don’t think that this means women in general do not have any “relevant” work experience to offer, or any work experience comparative to that of men. I would suggest that maybe your readership consists largely of highly educated women in white collar jobs who either had similar upbringings to mine and/or were steered at any early age toward summer office jobs as I was (accounts payable, law firm admin assistant type work, etc.). I think we’re generally steered from a young age toward white collar or at least pink collar work. Most girls are not really told “hey, you should consider being a contractor / becoming a mechanic / pursuing a career as a geologist and working in the oil fields.” And that sucks. If I could go back and do it all again, I’d become a marine mechanic. The general dogma around my household was that you go to top colleges, get a high level office job and that’s how you become a successful adult. If I had been told “you can, btw, earn the same money by fixing diesel engines on yachts” I would’ve more likely gone for summer jobs that would make me marketable in that field — mechanic shops, fiber glass repair companies, marinas, and yes, probably driving the launch at the yacht club, too! Can’t speak for everyone but that may be part of where you’re seeing your disconnect. On a less maritime level, I know plenty of female friends who worked at McDonalds, worked as hotel maids (that is beyond yuck…probably better to make shingles at 130 degrees), nurses’ assistants (bodily fluids and heavy lifting abound) and as flaggers on road construction crews. They’re out there.

    1. SHG Post author

      Glad you didn’t have much to add. It certainly saved me a lot of time that I would have otherwise had to spend reading.

  21. Matt

    I used to read your blog regularly because I enjoyed the vigorous writing. The reason I stopped reading (this is my first visit in months) was that I found your posts about women off-putting. Occasionally repellent. And I’m a man. So count me among the unflabbergasted that so few of your commenters are women.

    1. SHG Post author

      As has apparently gone over your head, there are many women commenters and readers here. And they want you to go away. Intelligent women neither want nor need your sad ally tears.

    2. Kathleen Casey

      Emotion has its place but it is almost always second place to reason and objectivity. Nothing about Scott’s posts about women is off-putting or repellent because he is very plain about the human condition, IMO. Some of the dumbest people are women. That I noticed from first grade. Sometimes me, even recently.

      But then again I let go of defensiveness and learned to think, and laugh, working for tough people. And living with tough parents.

  22. R

    I am a woman and a criminal defense attorney. I read your blog. I also represent victims of “revenge porn”. I have learned more useful information about how to win these cases from this blog than any other source.

  23. Amy

    I’m a woman, a criminal defense attorney, and a fairly regular reader. I commented a few times early on in my readership, and then I made a conscious decision to stop. The reason I rarely comment is because I’ve found the experience unpleasant. Not scary or hostile or sexist; just not fun or edifying or even very interesting. I’ve mostly found the experience of commenting here (and for that matter, of reading the comments) ranges from boring to moderately irritating. You’ve made a choice about how to run your comments section, and that choice is yours to make; I’ve just made the choice mostly not to participate in it because apparently, you and I have different ideas about what’s enjoyable or engaging. I’ll stay a reader as long as I continue to like your content. I don’t like your comments, so I just ignore them.

    (And with that, I’ll go back to not leaving comments. Hope this one turns out to have been worth my time, though my expectations are pretty low.)

    1. SHG Post author

      The good thing about low expectation is that they’re easily met. I trust this reply will meet yours. One of the first things you figure out when a blog gets some traction is that you can’t please everyone. The only viable response is to not try. Whether you read or comment is, of course, up to you, just as it’s up to every other person here. That’s a given, though you’ve felt the need to say so.

      But what’s curious is that you felt that need, and felt the need to do so in a passive aggressive way. Do you really think that challenging the response to your comment to be “worth [your] time, though [your] expectations are pretty low” suggests anything other than narcissism? Is there something that makes you feel that you, and your expectations (whatever they may be) are what this blog and its comments all about?

      While it’s hard to understand what it is you hoped to gain from your comment, what response would have made it worth your time, but since you made the effort to let me know that you find the comments unpleasant (which is fine with me, by the way), I will return the favor. Your comments were better than most, nothing particularly illuminating or interesting, not funny or engaging, but contributed information or ideas. It’s unfortunate that you don’t comment to the extent your comments have made SJ more substantively informative.

      But then, like everyone else here, it’s entirely up to you whether to read or comment at all. Whether any of this is worth your time or meets you expectations is also up to you. And how I handle comment here is up to me. I’m good with it, regardless of how you feel about it. SJ was here before you showed up. I suspect it will be here after you’re gone.

      1. Amy

        Actually, you’re right, the parenthetical at the end was gratuitous, and I apologize for it. I’d had a really long, stressful day, and I was a little on edge, and I shouldn’t have said it.

        The rest, I honestly meant as a good faith explanation of why I, a woman, don’t generally leave comments, in response to your broader questions in the posts about why fewer women than men comment here. And I think it’s just one of those things where people prefer different types of interactions. I don’t have any reason to think those preferences have much to do with gender here, just an honest difference in preferences. That’s mostly what I meant to express, and it seems pretty clear from your response that you already know it: that sometimes people just have different preferences, and that nothing any of us does is ever going to be enjoyed by everyone.

        I’m glad there are things on the internet I like (such as the blog), and I’m glad there are things on the internet that other people like, even if I don’t like them (such as the comments). I plan to remain a reader, and I’ll probably keep mostly staying away from the comments. But I’m glad that you have them, since it seems like you and others enjoy them. And again, I’m sorry for getting weirdly hostile in there (it actually comes off as more hostile now, on rereading, than I meant to at the time; I meant to come off as sort of joke-y and light, and I clearly missed the mark. But even if I’d pulled off the tone I was going for, there still really wasn’t a need for it.) Thanks for writing the blog.

    2. Suzi

      I like the posts. I like the comments. Except yours. So should SHG meet my expectations or yours? Or is this going over your head?

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