Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stage Management as Gendered

I meant to post more yesterday, but I was exhausted, so I will post a few times today instead.

A friend asked me when I mentioned it in an earlier post how stage management is gendered and what I meant by that.  Now when people of the general populace think of stage management, they aren't going to think: Oh that's a female job.  More likely, they aren't going to know what a stage manager is.  However throughout the course of my time in theatre I have met five male stage managers.  I am currently working under a male stage manager, I trained a young asm as a stage manager, I met two male stage managers at a conference, and I met one male stage manager at my internship.  And I will just say that I have met probably close to a hundred female stage managers.

For a long time I just couldn't figure out what it was that drew mainly women into my field.  It's not like professors or people were out there encouraging women to join.  Generally students at my college were discouraged to stage manage because of the amount of time commitment involved.  But somehow, women tended to be more drawn to the profession.

I have been thinking about it for awhile and my thoughts were leaning towards: there are more female stage managers because there are more female actors and a lot of female actors decide that they would rather have more steady work stage managing instead.  But beyond that, I couldn't come up with many reasons why stage management was gendered.  Then I talked to a friend yesterday and she pointed out that stage management involves extreme organization and people skills, which are two traits that society thinks women are inherently good at.  When she said that, things clicked into place for me.

This revelation revealed something else that hadn't occurred to me: having a majority of women stage managing is in fact a problem.  It's just as much of a problem as having the vast majority of computer science people be male.  I hadn't thought of it as a problem because women are under-represented in most fields and so, in my head, the reverse of the normal situation shouldn't be a problem.  But that's the thing, if I truly believe that women and men are much more similar than different (and I do), then there shouldn't be a gender disparity in any job to begin with.  Women are channeled, sometimes incredibly subtly towards some jobs and men are channeled towards others.  Even in a profession like mine, where general society doesn't have much sway, women tend towards stage management more than men because it involves skills that are "feminine" and "for women".

Note: There are obviously many more male stage managers out there than I've noted.  I am simply saying that I have met very few personally and while my experience easily could be disproportionate, I don't think it's so disproportionate that there actually isn't a gender disparity.

No comments:

Post a Comment