Stereotypes- Man and his Employment

Men Working_caution026

Construction laborers, public safety workers, alligator wrestlers, business executives, rodeo clowns and customer service providers are all necessary job functions in society. These jobs all pose a significant risk, both too life and limb and to a person’s mental health. The question when considering these occupations is who takes the most risk? Risk is controlled as much as possible and mitigated to ensure safety. In addition, a mental picture or stereotype is formed when assessing known information about these positions. This is reasonable to do. We need to form mental pictures of thoughts or situations. However, when these presuppositions begin to affect our interpretation of reality problems set in. This brings us to the point. I have changed the names to protect the innocent; please welcome my friend. We shall call him, “Q”.

“Q” is a man’s man. He is a husband, father, and friend. From all outwards appearances, he is fully aware of his responsibilities and makes all arrangements required to fulfill those obligations. His wife and his children adore him and his friends respect him. “Q” is at ease when opening a car door for his beautiful wife, hugging his children or “tossing” back a beer with a pal. This man is getting it done. He is leading and providing for his family, and affording them each a positive influence by pouring himself into to them. The “thing” is, “Q” is a hairstylist.

It shouldn’t be surprising that “Q” is a hairstylist. It is an honest profession that he is very skilled at, and he works hard to improve at his craft. The shocking part should be that in the 21st century there is still the undercurrent of gender stereotypes in certain employment situations. Out of the typical male dominated occupations listed above, which if any would consider entering the arena of cutting, shaping and coloring a woman’s most outwardly exemplified expression of herself. None! Furthermore, “Q” gets paid, quite well. He is compensated to never have a bad day performing his art. He is reimbursed to provide nothing but absolute perfection with every customer transaction. He stands with nothing to hide behind at the end of a cut, color and style. It is job location directly front and center in a gladiator’s stadium, with nowhere to run. In fact, there are mirrors all around to point out any glaring mistakes or omissions committed.

Who would want to labor under such conditions? Not many would or could survive, and even if forced probably would succumb to the pressure quickly. In many employment circumstances, effects from an “off day” are mitigated. Business contracts are rechecked, new pieces of construction material can be obtained if cut incorrectly and other remedies can be found in service situations. (Alligator wrestlers well, that maybe our closest comparison. Never want to lose a limb!) To encapsulate the point, a man’s employment does not define him. His allegiants to his faith/belief system, his work ethic, and his responsibility to his family, are the defining factors of a man.

Thankfully, infrequently incorrect perceptions are drawn to what “Q” is. A defense of “Q”, to right all the wrongs in this world is not the point of this posting. “Q” is of very sharp wit, and provides his own defense quite well. Nevertheless, if required I would come to my friends protection. As Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) states, “As Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” That is what one man does for another man.

Contemplate these points when observing anyone. Consider Jesus calling of Levi (a tax collector was despised in the first century) as a disciple. Jesus distinguished between Levi’s outward occupation and his mission of discipleship. (Luke 5:27-32 ESV) You never know what is sincerely on the heart of a person. The outward appearances could be very different to what is truly inside.