Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is it just me, or does it seem that quite often in the past, as soon as it was shown that a woman could do a job, men quit doing it?

Here's what I mean. Today, among other things, is Nutt Day. Emma M. Nutt was the first female telephone operator, in 1878. Yes, when we see most classic pictures of telephone operators, it is a female sitting by one of those old fashioned switchboards. When telephones were first being installed however, mostly in businesses at the beginning, all of the operators were male, mostly in their teens. They also stood up, because at first no one thought to give them chairs.

Then, they hired a female, and next thing you know, the stereotypical operator is female.

The same happened with school teachers. No one dared even think of using women to teach. Then, once they did, men got out of the business almost completely. Secretarial work, same thing, and professional nursing, too.

By the time Gene Roddenberry was making the original Star Trek series, it was so ingrained that being the operator was a woman's job, that the only female on the bridge was the communications officer, Uhura. She was really just a glorified operator/receptionist. (Yes, later this changed. In the most recent movie, she is shown in a different light. In the 1960s, that is how she was portrayed, at least to me.)

This happens with names, too. As soon as parents start using what was once a name for either boys or girls more frequently for girls, parents of boys drop it.

Of course, it doesn't happen with all jobs. There are more males than females still in lots of positions. It just makes me wonder, in the past, what was the tipping point? Just what percent of holders of that job had to become female before males dropped doing it? And is there a tipping point today? Will we someday see this happen with certain jobs now?

Something for a Ph.D. dissertation, for someone with the time to research it. Meanwhile, something for my abnormal brain to just meander over.


Today is:

Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day

Chicken Boy's Day

Constitution Day/National Day, Slovakia

Creation Day

Draft Horse Day

Ecclesiastical Year begins -- Orthodox Christian

Feast of the Hermit, NM

Feast of Macuilxochitl, Mexico (5 Flower God)

Independence Day, Libya, Uzbekistan

International Balloon Tournament, Belgium

Iroquios Indian Festival

National Cherry Popover Day

National Day, Slovakia

Nutt Day (For Emma M. Nutt, the first female telephone operator)

Oyster Season begins

Partridge Day (Partridge Hunting Season begins)

Presidential Message Day, Mexico

Revolution Day, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Royal Highland Gathering, Scotland, UK

Sneeze-Wobbling Festival -- Fairy Calendar

St. Fiacre's Day (patron of gardeners, cabdrivers)

St. Giles' Day (patron of the disabled, beggars, nursing mothers)

St. Simon Stylites' Day -- Eastern Orthodox Christian

St. Verana's Day (Patron of millers)

Toy Tips Executive Toy Test Day

United Arab Republics Day

Wattle Day, Australia


Birthdays Today:

Gloria Estefan, 1957
Dr. Phil McGraw, 1950
Barry Gibb, 1946
Lily Tomlin, 1939
Seiji Ozawa, 1935
Conway Twitty, 1933
"Boxcar" Willie, 1931
Rocky Marciano, 1923
Yvonne DeCarlo, 1922
Vittorio Gassman, 1922
Edgar Rice Burroughts, 1875
Englebert Humperdinck. 1854 (composer, esp of opera Hansel and Gretel)
Johann Pachelbel, 1653


Today in History:

RAbbi Moses Ben Nachman establishes a Jewish community on Jerusalem, 1267
The first yacht race is held, between England's King Charles I and his brother James, 1661
Great Fire of London begins, 1666
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa forms in California, 1772
Narcissa Whitman, one of the first white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrives at Walla Walla, Washington, 1836
The first Pullman sleeping car is put into service, 1859
Joseph Lister performs the first antiseptic surgery, 1865
Robert T. Freeman becomes the first African American to graduate from the Harvard Dental School, 1867
The first underground rapid transit system in North America, the Boston Subway, opens, 1897
Alberta and Saskatchewan become the 8th and 0th Canadian provinces, 1905
Martha, the last passenger pigeon, dies at the Cincinnati Zoo, 1914

1 comment:

  1. That is interesting to ponder! Your list made me hungry for a cherry popover!!!

    ReplyDelete