November 12, 2012 2:02 PM Subscribe
How can a male (myself) defray the risk involved in entering a career (dental assistant) dominated by the opposite sex?
posted by gorgor_balabala to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not that dentistry itself is dominated by females. The opposite is apparently true, and that may be part of the problem. If I were trying to become something that requires a lot of preparatory education and skill - for instance a dentist - and were female, I could feel confident that my thorough knowledge of dental anatomy and treatment would be the deciding factors. But because dental assisting is not an especially qualifications-heavy job, I have serious misgivings about my prospects, and serious fears that the big checkbox labelled Female at the beginning of the eligibilities will be unchecked before I even have a chance to walk through the door.
One concern is that sexist attitudes may be responsible for keeping males out of supporting roles, because the dentists are the ones in charge of the practice and therefore create the culture of their office. I don't pretend to know the ultimate reason why they are skewed so heavily towards females, but given that they are skewed that way, am I being foolhardy by trying to become one? Is there a prevailing assumption among practices that patients are "put off" by male assistants (as I have read)? Is it justified? Should I focus on trying to work for female dentists? Would that somehow make my role "normal"? What is the reverse-gender equivalent of what I want to do (that is, if I were female): Construction? Being a natural to more supporting work roles, I can't see where the gender-normativity begins and my nose ends. It's funny, when I happened upon this idea for a job, I didn't see this issue until I started reading statistics on it.
I'm hoping someone can contribute a new way of looking at the problem, which at heart appears to be sociological more than anything, and give me some hope that I'm not getting ready to bump my head against a wall.