I′m Not ″one of the Guys″

 

I′ve been debating this post for a while now, not because anything happened, just because I randomly think about it and then let it go. The whole ″one of the guys″ thing has bothered me for a while, for reasons I really couldn′t quite put into words. That was, until this morning after a conversation with my fiancée.

We′re discussing the future as all betrothed couples eventually do. She′s going to be graduating soon and is currently looking for work. I, on the other side of the coin, am established in a job. Thankfully for both of us, I could drop one job and make a passable living at writing OR she could perhaps work remotely. We′re going to make this work, we just have to figure out what parts of my puzzle fit properly with hers.

However, the idea of dropping my established job makes my chest seize up unexpectedly. It isn′t that I′m working in a gay-friendly environment. In truth the HR department turns up the professionalism to about 9000 when I mention partner benefits or my marriage. I′m in the closet because I am legitimately worried about losing my job over my sexuality. What I have found isn′t a place where the company itself is that worthwhile. Instead, I′ve found a team that I belong on.

I′m the only lady in the biomed shop as a technician. I′m a damn good technician and I work closely with everyone else on my team. They accept my pink hair, my tattoos, and well, like R said yesterday at E′s retirement lunch: ″We′re techs, everyone of us is quirky″.

It hit me with those words that I′m not one of the guys to them. I′m me. I′m Lily. To them, Lily isn′t the token girl or a dude. I′m a person. A person that they may not always understand or agree with, but a person just the same. This is the acceptance I′ve found in my friends and I′d much, MUCH rather be Lily than something I′m not. I′m not a guy.

I think that′s what bothered me all this time about that phrase. Being ″one of the guys″ often means hiding individuality. It requires, in part, sacrificing things that make you who you are in exchange for fitting the appropriate ″uniform″ of culture. This means that you′re not supposed to call out things that bother you, that you′re supposed to just accept certain things. I′m not going to do that anymore.

While I′m sure it′s made me abrasive to some, and certainly I know people dislike me. However, what it hasn′t lost me? Is real friends. Instead I have found that the people I love are still right alongside me. Because they are there for me, not for any role I play.

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5 Comments

Filed under Year of the Protagonist

5 responses to “I′m Not ″one of the Guys″

  1. This is really what it’s about. I kind of cringe at the phrase “as good as a man,” when describing a woman. Equality of the sexes isn’t about “as good as”–that’s implying something humane people don’t believe. Men and women are equal in their own rights, and we don’t need to become men anymore than men need to become women to prove that.

    Being accepted for who you–period, end of story–is what this is about.

    Your post reminded me that not only am I in a mostly-male space to begin with, I’m moving into one that is even more inequal in that respect. In religious circles, I’m easily the only woman present, and I’m an extremely feminine one at that.

    I used to present myself more androgynously to be “professional” and “accepted” as serious: dark suits, button-downs, plain shoes, minimal jewelry. Now I have collections of skirts and frilly blouses, my Docs have ribbon laces, and you can see some of my earrings from outer space. I was so desperate to be “one of the guys,” but it was at the cost of scorning femininity and thinking less of other women to get by.

    I realized if I wanted respect for myself as a woman (and it would have to be respect as a woman because I am a woman and will always be considered such), I had to change others’ behaviors, not my own.

    I’m more comfortable and confident as me. I’m more outspoken, and even though I’ve taken flak, I’ve gained a lot of support for it.

    I’m glad you have your friends, I’m glad you have your team. And I hope you continue to gain acceptance for all that you are, where ever you go in life. ❤

    • “I was so desperate to be “one of the guys,” but it was at the cost of scorning femininity and thinking less of other women to get by.”

      I think that’s really a huge problem in a lot of professional circles and it’s picked up on by younger generations. Women, even ones in queer spaces, feel that they need to take up less space and be more “androgynous” to get by. However, they don’t mean andro, they mean less feminine. If you’re naturally a feminine person, this, obviously leads to burnout because going to work or class turns into a war against yourself.

      Obviously, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being masculine, either. If you’re naturally predisposed to what we consider “male” traits, that’s absolutely fine. However, I find that most people are not hard coded to be masc or femme. I think that everyone, myself included is a mix of those traits. I’m a girly girl who loves makeup, my pink hair, and clothes that show off my figure.

      And, like you said, that doesn’t go away when I’m aggressive in the workplace, when I’m outspoken, or when I apply myself to my trade. It’s still there and I don’t have to switch hats to be good at my job. I’m good at what I do because I am doing it, pink hair and 18 shades of green eye shadow included.

      I’m blessed to count you among those friends. ❤ Happy New Year.

  2. Allahweh

    Sometimes it is hard to balance your own wants in your career and life with what it is perceived that others want. I’ve fought rather hard with this here in recent times, particularly with my work with the National Guard. As an officer and one no less with a position of power in my state, it is easy to seek acceptance from the male-dominated cadre here. Naturally, in uniform is one thing because of our dress codes and all of that, but when it comes to social functions or anything outside the professional work place, I strive pretty hard to just be myself. Now, I’m not really looking for acceptance, even by the mostly-male cadre, I just want to stand on my own merits. I think that I have a lot to offer, and in our 21st century society, I don’t think we should be trying to fit in with the male world really anymore.

    As Sophie said, we should stand on our own and be equal in our own ways, not just fitting some mold.

    I’m glad that you like your job and your environment. Do you really worry though that your current job could end due to their views on your sexuality?

    • I think that you’re hitting the nail on the head. I have a “uniform” myself at work, I wear scrubs. That’s one of the reasons I felt compelled to dye my hair the way that I do. I’m myself this way. When I’m not at work, however, I’m not going to conform to the “geek uniform”.

      Do you find that it’s difficult to get respect as a woman in the Guard? I’ve heard that experiences are really dependant upon location, but I’ve never been military so I can’t really speak to that being true.

      And as to your question, the sad answer is yes. I work for a Catholic health partnership, and in my city/state there have been a few cases of educators and other professionals let go from their jobs because of their same-sex relationships. The higher level management is still holding true to “Catholic Values”.

      And while I’m open and opinionated at work and I think that my close staff either knows or wouldn’t care, truth be told, you don’t really know a person you work with. Just because I can talk to them about most things doesn’t mean that I can discuss my personal life to the level that they do. There’s a number of people who when they find out they react hurt, as though I was lying to them or hiding something from them. Even if I wouldn’t be fired outright, there’s always the possibility of being pushed out.

      It brings up my own sort of passing privilege, and a lot of other sticky issues.

      • Allahweh

        I live down in Mississippi currently, and this brings its own problems with it. This is a beautiful state, don’t get me wrong, but there are a lot of people that really stick to very strict, traditional values. Work-wise, I have reached a point (almost a Major and Personnel Officer for the whole state) where people pretty much cut me the slack to do whatever I need to get done. There are a few soldiers and officers I am pretty close with outside of “work,” but I’m like you where at work, I keep things mostly business. I may mention now and again little things going on when asked, but usually I focus on whatever my work is and keep it that way.

        I’ve always had this belief that I don’t need to know what is going on in someone else’s personal life unless they decide of their own free will to just tell me themselves. I don’t need to know who someone is sleeping with or how their sex life is or any of that, and while I am not against discussing it if that is what they elect, I just don’t find it polite to inquire at all, outside of exceptionally rare situations. Dan Savage (have you listened to or read his stuff?) mentions quite often that he doesn’t want to think about this 75 year old senator and his wife “getting it on,” so likewise that senator should not be acting repelled thinking of Dan and his husband.

        Anyway, I’m a pretty pansexual and open individual for many reasons and my views on sexuality and a lot of things are WAY different than most people around here. I just don’t generally discuss it. I figure, I am who I am, I am attracted to the people that I am, I appear as however I want outside of work, and that’s that. I honestly no longer care what others think about, which brings up another topic related to my family and their own judgments and why I need to excise myself from that situation as well.

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