Double standard for men?

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    Has anyone else noticed that situations or topics deemed "innapropriate for women" are fair game for men in nursing school? For instance, and I could write for hours, in clinicals the women jokingly asked to try catheter insertion on me in the presence of the instructor who smiled. I've also been asked in class, also in the presence of an instructor, whether I "could hurt the baby" due to being well endowed. It doesn't really bother me because it's a joke and the offense doesn't really get under my skin. However, it's a blatant double standard that might get a man kicked out of nursing school (or any other school for that matter) and yet instructors and students alike laugh innocently as if all is normative.

    This does cause me to ask a few questions. Do you think that in women dominated fields that a blatant double standard exists or is this peculiar to nursing? Do you think that instructors in nursing are less likely to see the normal boundaries that would be readily apparent in male dominated career paths? Am I the lone guy that has had this happen or is this systemic? Oh yeah, does it bother any of you?

    I'm really not going anywhere with this other than I'm really curious what you think. Let me know.
    spectrabrite likes this.
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  3. 29 Comments so far...

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    I haven't felt that there is a double standard. I think there is a different type of joking in healthcare that wouldn't necessarily be appropriate in any other context. I've joked about suppository problems while at the dinner with my gf (also a nurse). In class, we talked about nursing today. Apparently, because I'm a man in nursing, I'm gay according to patient perception. We got a good laugh in class. Not that we were making fun of gay people, just laughing at the assumption I suppose. I have felt a double standard but I suppose it would arise here and there simply because there are many more women than men in the field.
    spectrabrite likes this.
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    Thanks for the reply and it is interesting to see other people's insight on the subject.

    I understand joking about things we encounter and there is a different type of joking in healthcare. We all do it. But unless the suppository joke had a gender specific twist in the presence of many students or an instructor, it might not be what I'm talking about.

    You say, "I have felt a double standard but I suppose it would arise here and there simply because there are many more women than men in the field." My question is should it matter? If there are many more men in a field than women the men can't use the same excuse.
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    Sometimes it sure does feel like there is a double standard in classes. But then again when you have a profession that only has about 10% being guys, you expect some type of double standards to come up, but its mostly because guys and girls are so different. I think its mostly from the other students and to a degree from some lecturers not knowing how to handle us guys, and I dont mind it though personally.
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    I don't think the types of remarks you have described are fair. I work with male nurses and haven't witnessed these types of remarks in the work place but I think they are certainly inappropriate and if it was men singling out a woman in class there would be a stink made.Is the instructor approachable? I would certainly speak to her if she was.
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    Quote from loriangel14
    I don't think the types of remarks you have described are fair. I work with male nurses and haven't witnessed these types of remarks in the work place but I think they are certainly inappropriate and if it was men singling out a woman in class there would be a stink made.Is the instructor approachable? I would certainly speak to her if she was.
    Thanks for the reply. Your experience is that in the workplace this isn't happening. Maybe that is because the penalties could be higher in that setting. Also, it doesn't bother me so I won't be speaking to any instructors which may have some reason as to why there is a double standard. Maybe it is as simple as men, for the most part, not minding it as much as women. That would mean there are no complaints. No complaints mean everything is okay?
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    Quote from grpman
    I've also been asked in class, also in the presence of an instructor, whether I "could hurt the baby" due to being well endowed.
    Umm, how is it these lovely girls, including the instructor, are privy to the fact you are well endowed? Or was that just a general question, obviously meant to embarrass you, just thrown out there? Either way, it's all about timing; if you joke around with a female student today, she's cool with it, but tomorrow, either post or pre-test stress, she is looking to hang u by the balls! They are loose canons, just avoid such joking altogether, don't get wrapped up in their webs.
    Tuesday17, PMFB-RN, and Sturmgeist like this.
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    I don't think I've been subjected to double standards yet, however I have noticed a couple of differences between male and female interactions with professors:

    - I feel like males are sometimes held to a higher standard, but necessarily a double standard. I have felt that sometimes the questions asked of me, and when tested, I am given more difficult material. It would be like a female gets a Jeopardy Question of $200, and I get a $500 dollar one during a lab procedure or check-off. It's not a huge problem, but interesting.

    - This I also don't really mind, but some of my professors joke around with me alot and 'bust my balls'. It's never never downright insulting or harmful, but they poke fun at me occasionally. I set myself up for it, and I actually dish it right back, but it's interesting how our exchanges are never on the same level as female students.

    Just something to think about.
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    I have seen some double standards for men. However, it is usually "Oh good, you have men in your group...we have a few patients that are perfect for them" (read BMI of 40+). When I hear that I looked at my clinical instructor nurse and said something like "I will be more than happy to help reposition any patient, but I do not want to be assigned a patient based on their BMI and my strength." I only had to say that once and the nurse who said it looked embarassed and said "Oh, I was only joking...." and walked off. My nurse instructor said "And that is how you handle that...never allow yourself to be pushed into taking the patients that no one else wants b/c they are heavy etc." As for the catheter jokes...we have had them all used on us. The perfect come back line is "Sure, as long as I get to practice on one of you!" Everyone laughed and that was that.

    Butterfliesandzebras said it best though. The best bet is NOT to get wrapped up in joking around like that. Even if everyone in your group finds it funny and is okay with it. The way sexual harassment laws are nowadays, if someone overhears your joke (not a part of your group) and finds issue with it...you could be in trouble. Or if someone in your group was fine with it at the time, but many days, months etc...later is not...guess what? TROUBLE. Be careful.

    One of your comments really bothered me. It was the one that said "I've also been asked in class, also in the presence of an instructor, whether I "could hurt the baby" due to being well endowed." This is beyond inappropriate. Saying that you could hurt a baby if you perform a procedure incorrectly is an appropriate question. Stating that this injury could come about because of the size of your penis is beyond sexual harassment. It is foul humor at its worst. You should be upset at this. Your classmates just made a joke about you sexually molesting a baby!! How can that be considered humor? How would one of them feel if you stated "Hey, "could you give a fat guy a MI" if you gave him a lap dance? You would be written up or kicked out of school so quick. What they did was wrong...beyond words wrong.

    Hope this helps...and GL
    flyingchange likes this.
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    Quote from grpman
    Has anyone else noticed that situations or topics deemed "innapropriate for women" are fair game for men in nursing school? For instance, and I could write for hours, in clinicals the women jokingly asked to try catheter insertion on me in the presence of the instructor who smiled. I've also been asked in class, also in the presence of an instructor, whether I "could hurt the baby" due to being well endowed. It doesn't really bother me because it's a joke and the offense doesn't really get under my skin. However, it's a blatant double standard that might get a man kicked out of nursing school (or any other school for that matter) and yet instructors and students alike laugh innocently as if all is normative.
    As someone else asked...how do they know you were well endowed and why is it their business? The issue I have with the 'hurt the baby' joke is if you made a joke of a sexual nature about a particular woman's body, many people would be screaming harassment. Even if it was an innocent joke, you could get burned for it. This is definitely a double standard.

    In my experience, there was no different standards for males vs. females in my nursing school...but this is only one example.


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