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Men & women and tools : reflections on male resistance to women in trades and technology Braundy, Marcia Ann

Abstract

Men & Women and Tools is an exploratory study, where new knowledge is created in the interplay of voices: narratives of lived experience, a data play of participants' voices, research and exposition in the literature, and the space between the audience and the text. Male and female workers, equity consultants and advocates discussed male resistance to women in trades and technology. In one interview with trades workers an explicit clarity emerged, provoking an emotional understanding of the issues. That interview became a fifteen minute data play, creating a mirror where, in a moment of reflection, individual audience members can choose whether to continue the constructions of gender they find. Most of the words, thoughts, and sentiments found in the play are direct quotes from the interview. Reflecting on their experience integrating women on their worksites, those interviewed poignantly demonstrated the struggles facing men and women in a society that constructs and limits their vocational and emotional relationships, while embedding expectations regarding their contributions to society. They exposed their own fears, and concerns. But also interwoven was a construction of women and their place in these men's interpretation of the social order. The notions of patriarchal masculinity were overpoweringly present. The interview resonated with my own experience as a trades worker. It struck cords with equity interventions undertaken with both men and women to change the social construct of gender and work. The voices embodied and echoed hegemonic struggles in contention for the past 250 years. Performed at the Brave New Play Rites Festival at UBC, Men & Women and Tools was digitally videotaped and edited. The artefact, a performative authoethnography, is a personification of a social reality. Interweaving scholarly voices naming the historical, sociological and cultural roots of gendered practices with the voices from the play, this dissertation illustrates the ways that social reality is constructed and reconstituted in the cultures, practices and motivations of society, and how the resistance has emerged. The research findings are embodied: a reflection, a provocation, a pedagogical tool to be used in schools and union halls to interfere in the mechanisms of gender relations in the 21st century.

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