Human beings are all different and those differences are exciting and exist irrespective of a person’s sex or their gender identity.
Only a few decades ago, society forced these individual differences to fit into the small and suffocating boxes of gender roles but, thanks to the bravery of men and women from all areas, speaking out and pursing their own passions, this has begun to change.
Although there is often a lot of media emphasis on the importance of breaking down barriers for women to have the same employment opportunities as men, and rightly so, sometimes little attention is paid to the men trying to make it in a so-called “woman’s world”.
The lack of male applicants in some areas and the way they are still marketed suggests that the idea of gender roles still exists.
As these attitudes and implicit biases can only be challenged by all individuals pursuing the careers of their dreams, or the jobs that best suit them, regardless of tradition, read about these five men who are bucking the trends.
THE Avon rep
Avon is a cosmetics company selling beauty, fashion, home and kids products. Avon Representatives sell Avon products to customers all over the world through Avon brochures and online, and through the recently introduced My Avon Store
, the brand’s social selling platform in the UK.
Avon claims that selling their products is a good way to set yourself up in business and make your own money, rather than waiting to get a full time 9 – 5 job.
They have a point – as we often say on this site, there are lots of ways of making cash for yourself either as a ‘bit on the side’ or as a full-time occupation. Working through Avon is just one of them.
Being an Avon Representative is good for people who only want to work part-time with flexible working hours, as the amount of work you put in is entirely up to you – some people even work as an Avon Representative while holding down a full-time job.
The next step up is to become a Sales Leader, who manage the people working under them.
Although make up is often classified as a product for women only and Avon’s core advertising strategy centers on postergirls rather than posterboys, not only are more people of a variety of gender backgrounds wearing make up but a whole range of people are selling it.
Sharing his experience on the main MoneyMagpie article on the topic, one man said that working for Avon changed his life:
“I am a male Avon rep, I have been doing Avon for 11 years, starting in 2007, 3 years after the death of my wife, and I must say it was a saving grace, not only did it help me financially, but I have met some lovely people some who are still my customers today, I have about 25 customers and I make anything from £50 – £80.00 commission per campaign and usually a lot more at Christmas time, and yes it`s true you do have to be committed and put the work in but I would recommend it as an ideal starting point for earning extra income.”
For more information on working for Avon, click here
According to the Boston Globe
, 92.4% of all hairdressers are women and of the 7.6% who identify as men, all are assumed by the majority of people to be homosexual.
While of course a percentage of male hairdressers are homosexual, a quick Google of the profession will show that there remains significant amounts of homophobia and stigma as online forums ask whether it is socially acceptable for them to be a heterosexual man and a hairdresser.
Although this could be more indicative of the echo chamber that is the internet, films and TV shows still continue to stereotype the male hairdresser as the male homosexual.
But hairdressing is obviously a fantastically flexible and creative occupation that is open to men and women of any and all sexual orientations.
Here are 5 reasons why you should think about becoming a hairdresser:
- You can become a freelance hairdresser and set your own hours.
- You don’t need formal qualifications and you can learn on the job.
- People tell their hairdressers anything and everything so your job will never be boring!
- Competitions in the beauty industry mean that there are many opportunities for you to make a name for yourself.
- You have the power to make people feel fantastic.
- And you’ll always have a job as someone will always need their hair cutting!
Want to find out more about becoming a hairdresser? Click here.
The Social Worker
Having a diverse work force is important in all sectors but it’s of extreme importance in a field such as social work where the range of professionals needs to reflect the broad range of human experience in the world.
In a blog post on men in social work, Julie Fanning
writes that some of her male colleagues say one of the social barriers to entering social work as a man is the idea that men should be stoic blocks of ice who are unable to express or understand emotion.
Speaking for Frontline, a social work graduate program, external relations director Mark Potter says that men need to be better represented in the profession men as sometimes they can “advocate more effectively for a father in a situation involving children, or can act as a role model for boys in care.”
He told The Telegraph
: “You could be in a conference about a child where every single voice around that table could be a woman. You’re not there to speak on behalf of a man, but you are there to speak from a male perspective”.
Henry Smith, a tutor on the scheme, “added that in one of his previous jobs there had been no men in a social work team with more than 50 members.”
Social work, however, is challenging, rewarding and perfect for people who enjoy working with others to solve problems that involve complex vulnerabilities and sensitive issues.
Assisting someone on their journey toward greater independence, recovery and strength is something that people from all backgrounds are able to do, and that includes men.
to find out more about becoming a social worker.
The Preschool Teacher
Although all mixed preschool classes have a 50/50 ratio of boys and girls, only 2.5% of the preschool teacher population are men.
Writing about his experiences as a male kindergarten teacher in Slate
, Aaron Loewenberg
says that one of the most common reaction he gets when he enters a new classroom is, “Wow! You’re a man!”
Describing his decision to teach early-years, he writes about how rewarding it is to see students make great strides in maths and reading and how he was struck by research that “shows the long-lasting impact
a high-quality teacher in the early years of a child’s life can make.”
He suggests that as it has become more socially acceptable for fathers to take a more central role in childcare, so it has made it easier for men to consider teaching as a profession.
With 9 – 5 hours, a steady salary and a laugh a minute working environment, the reasons to be a teacher would fill up a blackboard.
But sharing his experience in a blog post on Catalyst
, Devin Lipsitz says that the key reason why he wanted to be a preschool teacher was because “I want to help create a society that’s as open as a young child’s mind.
Little kids believe anything is possible, until we tell them otherwise. I’d like to help them hold onto that belief.”
Interested in teaching? Find out more about how to become a teacher here
The Occupational Therapist
So, firstly, what is occupational therapy exactly?
According to the University of Queensland, “occupational therapists help people of all ages to overcome barriers that affect their ability to engage in the everyday activities that are meaningful and important to them.”
This includes helping people rehabilitate after a life changing illness or injury, supporting people in your local community and assisting with the provision of mental health care.
When asked about the significant absence of men in the profession, Josh Springer and the boys at brOT Movement said, “Not only men, but individuals from varied cultures are needed in OT because they provide unique perspectives and inputs that can drive the profession forward.
We believe that in order to serve the needs of our clients, we need to have a diverse workforce.
We contend that increasing cultural and gender diversity is the vehicle through which occupational therapy will reach a position of power among the health care professions.”
In a similar vein to the above mentioned professions such as social work and hairdressing which incorporate important caring elements, some speculate that the reason why men feel less welcome in such environments is because of the discomfort some still feel about expressing emotion and exhibiting what were once though of as effeminate traits.
It’s clear that change still needs to happen.
So be yourself.
Be the career you want to be.
And be the change.
Do you have a job that challenges society’s idea of what it is to be a man? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.