When sexual bodies cross the invisible, symbolically insurmountable, borders that make up the labour market, sexism, ever present, but usually impalpable and silent, re-emerges forcefully as if to re-establish a violated order.
Women and men who choose (or find themselves) in jobs not culturally conforming to their own gender, violate an unwritten symbolic domain, in both cases bringing into discussion the power of male over female, as if such a domain were weakened by contamination with the female in non-neutral environments. Men and women can now live together in many sectors, those of the grey zones of a hypothetical continuum, provided they are symbolically divided by differentiated recognitions (retributions, responsibilities, career possibilities), but here are some extreme areas, those exactly of women’s jobs and men’s jobs, which society would like to be pure. Chance or choice induce some people to go beyond these limits, and society reacts to bring back order. But the reaction changes depending on the gender of the person breaking the rules.
When it is He who transgresses, perhaps becoming a kindergarten teacher, the discrimination is, very often, only initial, but once the fears about the person’s integrity and ulterior motives have been overcome, the man will easily be placed on a pedestal, becoming in the eyes of everyone (male or female), perhaps especially in the eyes of the women, the best. Instead, when it is She who transgresses, the discrimination is not only at her entry but it seems to persist at length, or remain in any case in ambush, aiming at a progressive and wearing process of invalidation.
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