Discrimination Of Homosexuals In The Fishing Industry
Discrimination of Homosexuals in the Fishing Industry<br />By: Tori Connor<br />Soc 235<br />Erica Dixon<br />August 11, 2009<br />
Abstract<br />Commercial fishing is a male dominated career; women have just begun entering into this work force within the last 10 years. This study it to determine if this hegemonic work environment would be discriminatory to homosexuals, based on hegemonic masculinity and homophobia. This study will also determine if men and women in the fishing industry will be more discriminatory to homosexuals of their own sex then the opposite sex. <br />
Background<br />No studies have been done of hegemony or homophobia in the fishing industry. <br />The closest related study was on construction sites, where homosexual slurs were used to emasculate other men (Iacuone 257). <br />In another study done concluded that heterosexual men and women had more negative attitudes and feeling towards homosexuals of their same sex (Whitley Jr. 287). This research supported my hypothesis in the sense that people would feel more uncomfortable working with homosexuals of their same sex. <br />Terminology:<br />Hegemonic masculinity- this is where men find it necessary to subordinate those they consider lesser; including women and homosexuals and men who don’t reach a certain masculine standard (Kimmel 10) .<br />Homophobia- The fear, discomfort, and hatred not only towards homosexuals, but also the fear of being labeled a homosexual (Kimmel 306). <br />In one study it described homophobia to no actually be a phobia but rather a cultural boundary created by history and society (AmaralMadureira 233).<br />
Background Continued… (My Feelings)<br />The fishing industry has been male dominated since the beginning, within the last 10 year it has been opened up to women; however with an average 5 member crew there may be one girl working aboard, and normally is a member of the captains family. With women just beginning to be accepted into this hegemonic work environment I believe that the majority of male workers would object for homosexual men to begin working aboard fishing vessels. I think that homophobia is a major issue especially in male dominant hegemonic careers. Women on the other had are more likely to accept working with a gay male, because they would not have fear of sexual advances. I also trust that men will be more accepting of working with a homosexual female. This is because they would feel that a lesbian is more masculine and could get the work done. I do however think that female crewmembers would be more uncomfortable working with a lesbian, they may fear being hit on or be uncomfortable; thinking they are always being checked out. I also think that for women entering the fishing industry, as well as other hegemonic careers, feel as though they too need to increase their masculinity to reach the standards of men so that they can receive respect from male co-workers. This is another reason why a lesbian may be more appealing to male fisherman for this line of work. <br />
Hypothesis<br />My first hypothesis is that, the fishing industry has a need for hegemonic masculinity, making this work environment discriminatory towards homosexual males. Homophobia, is a large contributor; captains would refuse to hire them, male deckhands would not work with them, however, females would work with them. <br />My second hypothesis is that female homosexuals would have a high chance of being hired; being a lesbian would make the men feel as though the females are more masculine and less feminine, and therefore more capable of doing their job. With this is mind I think that female crewmembers would be more uncomfortable with a lesbian co-worker and would refuse to work with them because of homophobia. <br />
Method<br />Method and Procedure<br />Objective<br />I created a single survey given to both captains and crewmember. All participants were asked to be open and honest when answering the questions. Required to finish the survey in a single sitting and to not talk with other people while taking their survey, so there would be no outside influence to their answers, also they were asked not to discuss it afterwards, so they would not influence other people who have not taken it.<br />They were given a single sided survey with 15 questions. The questions were mostly yes or no answers, some asked for an explanation so participants had a chance to express their feelings and reasoning. <br />The survey was as follows...<br />The Objective was to get a perspective on homophobia in the hegemonic work environment of the fishing industry the research also aimed at getting a range of ages, both men and women. These aspects could indicate more or less homophobia among the age and gender because of the different exposure to gays, as well as feelings about homosexuals who were of the same sex as the participant. <br />Subjects<br />45 commercial seiner fisherman; captains and crewman alike<br />20 women ages 16-47<br />25 men ages 18-83<br />
Are you a __male or __female<br />How old are you ___<br />Is a heterosexual male more capable to do the physical tasks required than a homosexual male? _____Explain.___________________.<br />Are you homophobic? _____. If yes would your homophobia prevent you from working with a gay male? _____. What about working with a lesbian? _____.<br />Would homophobia be the main reason you would not want to work with someone who was gay (male or female)? _____<br />If you were a captain would you hire a homosexual male? _____ If No, Explain. _________________________________________.<br />Would you hire a lesbian if you were a captain? _____ If No, Explain. ______________________________________.<br />Is a homosexual female more capable than a heterosexual female to do the physical tasks required? _____ Explain._________________.<br />Would you refuse to work with a homosexual female? _____. Explain. _____________________________________.<br />Do you think that lesbians are more masculine and heterosexual females? _____<br />Would you rather work with a homosexual male or a homosexual female? _____ Explain._____________________________________.<br />Would you be uneasy sleeping in the same quarters as a homosexual female? _____ <br />Would you be afraid of people off of other fishing boats thinking that you were gay if you worked alongside a male homosexual? _____. What about working with a homosexual female deckhand? _____<br />Would you refuse to work with a homosexual male? _____. Explain. _____________________________________.<br />Would you be uneasy sleeping in the same quarters as a homosexual male? _____<br />Fisherman Survey<br />Please answer the questions openly and honestly. Answer Yes or Nounless otherwise specified, and explain when asked.<br /><ul><li>Questions 1 and 2 were so I could categorize answers and find if the participants gender influenced their feelings.
Question 3 was to find out if people thought that homosexuality in males made them more feminine.
Questions 4, 5, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 15 were asked to determine if the participant was homophobic or not.
9 and 14 was also to determine if people would even consider working with a homosexual and why or why not.
Questions 6 and 7 was asked to get a perspective of what a captain would do and why (if it had anything to do with crew).
Questions 8 and 10 to determine if people felt lesbians were more masculine and able to do physical tasks required compared to heterosexual women.
Questions 11 was to find out if they preferred to work with a homosexual male or female.</li></li></ul><li>Results- Females<br />Chart 1.1<br />Question 11, the majority of women, 13 out of 20, stated that they would rather with a homosexual females rather than a male. They used explanations such as; “would feel more comfortable”, “be harder working”, and “feel more equal”. 6 women said that they would rather work with a male because; they were more comfortable and one person stated “I am female”. One person said both, because she was comfortable with either gender. This question was very important because it proves that the majority of the women in this industry are not homophobic to other females, because if they were they would have chosen a male, proving this part of my hypothesis wrong. <br /><ul><li> Question 3 was what I had expected; the majority didn’t think a heterosexual male was more capable of a homosexual male.
Answers 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 all resulted in females in this industry not being homophobic.
In question 6 I was surprised a majority of people said they would hire a gay male, I imagined that they would think more about the crew; however, there are no women captains of seiner in Alaska which could be a reason for them not considering the crew.
Question 7 everyone said that they would hire a lesbian; surprising, yet it supports that that are not homophobic.
A majority of females did not think that lesbian were more capable that heterosexual females, in question 8.
In question 10, the majority did find that homosexual females were more masculine than straight women. </li></li></ul><li>Results- Males<br />5 people refused to fill out a survey once they realized what it was about.<br />Question 3 surprised me, 15:20 did not think that a heterosexual male was more capable than a homosexual male. <br />On question 4, two people said they were homophobic, and in question 5 one person said that homophobia would be the main reason for not working with a homosexual. <br />Almost half of the people said they would hire a homosexual male, while 10:20 said that they would not because they had to think of the crew as well.<br />12 people preferred working with a lesbian, saying it would make the perfect work environment.<br />Question 13 showed that fisherman’s homophobia is not because a fear of being misrepresented as a homosexual, when everyone answered no. <br />In question 14, all but one person said they would not refuse to work alongside a homosexual male, whereas one person said maybe. <br />The majority of the people said no for question 15, they would not feel uncomfortable sleeping alongside a gay male. <br />Question 7, 9, 10, and 12 were all answered how I had predicted. The majority of males said they would hire a female homosexual in question 7. No one refused to work with a lesbian; question 9. In question 10, the majority of people thought that lesbians were more masculine then heterosexual females. Finally in question 12, everyone but two people said they would not feel uncomfortable sleeping in the same quarters as a homosexual female. <br />Last in question 8, I was surprised when 17:20 said that homosexual women were not more capable then heterosexual women.<br />
(Note- 5 males are not identified on this chart because they had refused to fill out a survey after realizing it was about homosexuals; their ages were 68, 53, 48, 34, and 19.) <br />Table 2.1<br />Table 2.1, shown above, is presenting male and female answers for questions 4, 5, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 15; the questions which I asked to identify if the person was homophobic or not. Overall, this represents that homophobia in the fishing industry is very low compared to what I had originally believed<br />
Conclusion<br />My first hypothesis was neither wrong nor right in all components; however there many things were as I had theorized, while others were completely the opposite. The fishing industry does need hegemonic masculinity, but it’s not enforced through homophobia. Also, there is discrimination toward homosexual males from some people but not from all; it would be completely expectable for a gay male to work on a fishing vessel. My hypothesis was again correct in the aspect of females being comfortable with working with male homosexuals. My first hypothesis was however wrong, in the sense that captains would refuse to hire male deckhand, there are many captains who would not hire them, but a significant amount more than I had originally thought. <br />My second hypothesis was right when it stated men felt lesbians were more masculine and would be comfortable working alongside them. I was wrong in thinking that female crewmembers would be more uncomfortable with a homosexual female co-worker, when really they are not homophobic, and that the majority would prefer working with a lesbian over a gay male. <br />After I concluded my results I was more than satisfied, although my hypothesis was not completely correct the outcome came out for the better. I think there are still issues which need to be resolved involving homophobia, and discrimination. But, it is much further ahead than other hegemonic careers, such as construction. I am happy with my results, however, I feel as though if I could do this study again I could come up with more accurate and detailed results. <br />Conclusively, I found that men in the fishing industry are homophobic, but not to the extent I had expected. Most would be comfortable working around and living with a homosexual male. There are however those people who are at the extreme homophobic, to the extent that they would not even fill out my survey. I also realized hegemonic masculinity is visible in the fishing industry, however homophobia dose not play a large role in it, if any. Men in this career are comfortable with who they are and are not afraid that they would be misrepresented as being gay. Also, if a captain was put in the situations of hiring a homosexual; I was right in thinking that they would hire females the majority of the time, but, unlike I had predicted there is a greater amount of captain who would hire gay males. I was also correct that the reason they would not hire them was because of the other crew members, however those who said that they would hire them didn’t mention their crew, and commented on personality and if they could do the job. <br />The results from the female’s surveys were different and similar from what I had expected. As I thought they were comfortable around gay males, most would hire them if they were a captain and would work with them, and not feel uncomfortable living in close quarters with them. Unlike I had suspected, they were also just as comfortable working with homosexual females, if not more comfortable. <br />
Conclusion Continued…<br />Things I would do differently:<br />I would create two different surveys one for captains and one for the crewmembers.<br />the surveys would have more questions that related to hegemonic masculinity. Along with more in-depth questions about homophobia, and people’s comfort levels with homosexuals. <br />Another thing is, I would survey a greater amount of people; trying to get 50 captains and at least 50 crewmembers, I would also try and get a larger variety of ages. <br />Possible alternate explanations:<br />The males who took the surveys could have been more excepting of homosexuals because the majority of them were from a younger age groups, and it is possible that the older age groups are less accustomed to homosexuals. <br />Also the way, in which the questions were asked, could have altered their opinions. Example: Homophobia, they may have thought I was asking if they were afraid of homosexuals..<br />This research could help in the overall fight for equal rights of homosexuals because they could look at this study and realize that even in hegemonic careers there is acceptance of homosexuals. Also, any homosexual who was looking at fishing as a possible career they would find support from this study because they would know that many captains would be willing to higher them and crewmen willing to work with them, if they could show that they were just as capable of doing the physical tasks required. The research from this study could also be used for a social policy, to make a rule stating that; if a homosexual, of any gender, is as capable as a heterosexual they will not be denied a job, based on their sexuality. <br />After finishing my study only more questions arose. To begin, I would like to understand the underlying reasons for homophobia, if it is not an actual phobia what causes people to have this hatred for homosexuals, it is solely culture? If so what part of culture plays the biggest part? Is it the idea of masculinity or what people are exposed to at a younger age; of how a relationship should be, something between a man and women? I also wonder if the reason people are so afraid to be labeled as being homosexual is because the term gay, has become something other than its original meaning. When people use it in their everyday language they are not referring to the sexual orientation of something, but rather using it as a curse word. Is it possible that people are more afraid of being labeled as gay because it is used derogatorily than because of its actual meaning?<br />
References <br />Whitley Jr., B. (1988, January). SEX DIFFERENCES IN HETEROSEXUALS' ATTITUDES TOWARD HOMOSEXUALS: IT DEPENDS UPON WHAT YOU ASK. Journal of Sex Research, 24(1-4), 287. Retrieved August 5, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.<br />Iacuone, D. (2005, Winter2005). Real Men Are Tough Guys: Hegemonic Masculinity and Safety in the Construction Industry. Journal of Men's Studies, 13(2), 247-266. Retrieved August 5, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database. <br />AmaralMadureira, A. (2007, September). The Psychological Basis of Homophobia: Cultural Construction of a Barrier. Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science, 41(3/4), 225-247. Retrieved August 5, 2009, doi:10.1007/s12124-007-9024-9<br />Kimmel, M. S. (2008). The Gendered Society, Third Edition. New York, New York. Oxford.University Press. (Original work published 2000)<br />