Deano’s answer to: “What is it like as a male working in a female dominated industry?”

Off the top of my head, the following emotions are strongest:

  • A generalized "a-ha" twinge of how things must so often be for women in traditionally male-dominated roles,
  • A more personally-focused "but… ow" nausea emanating from the general unfairness of the gender-sourced imbalance, and
  • An almost forlorn "dammit" gut-punch that arises from the disparity not only of support or stature within a given industry, but also the ongoing basic differences between male and female behavior that make it so – and as a result make it unlikely that even a world filled solely with equality-minded men and women would significantly change the picture.

There are a whole host of other, more subtle, perhaps even more dangerous undercurrents… But essentially, it's those three that keep rising to the top.

Talking to other men in similar situations, I could also add that such work often carries with it similar burdens for men as male dominated industries do for women:

  • Lower pay
  • At times hostile reactions from other men who don't understand why another man would do such a job when other "manlier" work exists,
  • Similarly hostile reactions from some women, who don't like the idea of men "horning in" on one of the comparatively few fields where women are higher-paid, more appreciated, etc.

Even where money isn't really involved (among the other jobs that qualify for this question, I've had a longish, and mostly-unintentional stint as a stay-at-home dad for a couple years now), general societal attitudes of what's okay for men and women is still well behind the "enlightenment curve", shall we say.

The worst bit is probably all the folks who truly seem to want to be more open-minded about it, but clearly still fall back on very different inherited teachings in terms of how they treat/interact with such a man. This last bit is almost identical to how single people treat the newly married – not exactly shunning them per se, but just assuming they're no longer interested in certain activities or events.

What is it like as a male working in a female dominated industry?

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