Tuesday, February 10, 2009
layoffs and gendor
Copied and Pasted by Rie Umano
Jonathan Steuer of New York has the familiar characteristics of an “evolved man.” He can speak fluently about the different waves of feminism, and he shares child care and household responsibilities with his wife.
But on the subject of job loss, he contends that the stakes are much higher for men.
Mr. Steuer, 43, was recently laid off from his job at a small research business. “It’s hard not to imagine yourself as the breadwinner,” he said. “A lot of your ego eggs are in the job basket. I can’t shake the psychology that I’m supposed to provide.”
His wife, Marjorie Ingall, a columnist at The Jewish Daily Forward and a contributing writer at Self magazine, says she believes that it is impossible not to absorb the cultural message that the man is supposed to provide for his family.
As job losses reverberate across the economy, differences in “his” and “her” layoffs are beginning to take shape — revealing gender dynamics that may not have been as apparent when the Dow was at 14,000.
Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of “The Female Brain” and a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, says that women who lose their jobs “aren’t going to take as much of a self-esteem hit” as men. That is because the most potent form of positive social feedback for many men comes from within the hierarchy of the workplace. By contrast, she said, women may have “many sources of self-esteem — such as their relationships with other people — that are not exclusively embedded within their jobs.”
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