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2001 Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Lecture

"SAID AND DONE" VERSUS "SAYING AND DOING" Gendering Practices, Practicing Gender at Work
PATRICIA YANCEY MARTIN Florida State University

Recently,the studyof gender hasfocused on processes by whichgender is broughtinto social relations throughinteraction. This article explores implications of a two-sideddynamic-gendering practices and practicing of gender-for understanding genderingprocesses informal organizations.Using storiesfrom interviewsandparticipantobservationin multinationalcorporations,the authorexploresthe practicing of gender at work. She defines practicing gender as a movingphenomenon that is done is quickly,directionally(in time),and (often)nonreflexively; informed(often)by liminalawareness;and is in concert with others. She notes how other conceptions of genderdynamicsandpractice informthe analysis and argues that adequate conceptualization(and potential elimination)of harmfulaspects of gendering practices/practicing will require attention to (1) agency, intentionality,awareness, and reflexivity;(2)positions, power and experience;and (3) choice, accountability,and audience.She calls for incorporatingthe "sayingsand doings" of gender into organizationtheory and research. Keywords: practicing gender; gendered practices; agency; intention; reflexivity; gender as institution; organization theory

M ore thana decadeago, social science andhumanitiesscholarsstartedconceptualizing genderas a dynamicprocess,as practice,as whatpeople say anddo, in addition to such staticpropertiesas an identity,social status,what is learnedvia socialand ization, a system of stratification, so on. This developmentoccurredrapidly.I wrotean articlein the late 1980s in whichI used thetermgenderingto meangender/ genderedpracticesin a way that was unconventionalat the time (YanceyMartin
AUTHOR'S NOTE:I thankBarbara Czarniawska,Harry Dahms, Mary Rogers, SharonBird, Myra Marx Ferree,and especially JudithLorberfor helping me with this article. I also thankChristineBose and the Gender& Society staffand scholars in the UnitedStatesand abroadwho haveheardversionsof the article and suggestedhow to correct,clarify,and improveit. Ideliveredthis article in accordwiththe in Sociologistsfor Women Society DistinguishedFeministLecturerProgramat the College of William and Maryand the UniversityofMississippi (Oxford)in 2001. Versions the article werepresentedalso of at Keele University(United Kingdom),Alma College, the Universityof SouthAlabama, the College of Address:Departmentof Sociology,Florida State University, Charleston,and Florida State University. TallahasseeFL 32306-22 70; e-mail: pmartin@coss.fsu.edu.
GENDER & SOCIETY,Vol. 17 No. 3, June 2003 342-366 DOI: 10.1177/0891243203251716 ? 2003 Sociologists for Womenin Society 342

how. I chose large.feminist theorists and researchershave shown that workplaces areinfused with gender. used. pension. I hoped to see how gender is socially constructedtalkedabout.2 work by Baron and Bielby in the 1980s found that most jobs in Pathbreaking more than 400 organizationsin the privateand public sectors in Californiawere totally sex segregated(BaronandBielby 1985.S. Congress considers and.Throughadvertisingand relations campaigns. Furthermore.Cockburn1988.' Only a short time later. frequently. (3) that gendering practices producedthrough interactionimpair women workers'identitiesandconfidence.underminingthe assumptionthatcertainjobs belong only to men or only to women. 1986.for example. as I showed in a recentstudyof men's mobilizing of masculinity/masculinities (YanceyMartin2001).they challenged researchersto gender-related dynamics pay more attentionto these dynamics. andignored-in these settingsandunderstand when. Specifically.Collinson andHearn1994. Subsequently. Multinationalcorporations influence the laws that the U. and practicesinto "smallbusinesses"that and allegedly are free to adoptlocal standards practices. Finally. I wantedto understand dynamthe ics that produce this result. see Stevenson2002). denied.enacts. corporationshave been slow comparedto the public and not-for-profiteconomic sectors to promotewomen (and men of color) to key decision-makingjobs (for a recentreporton this point. Accordingly. Bielby andBaron 1986). I enteredthe field in the early 1990s to study genderprocesses in large corporations. (2) that this dynamic significantly affects both women's and men's work experiences.and(4) thatattentionto thepracticingof gender will produceinsights into how inequalitiesare createdin the workplace.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. PRACTICING GENDER 343 1992).In responseto theircall. by public promotingiconic figureslike Michael Jacksonin expensive television ads.and health policies by promoting laws that are favorableto themselves (Gordon 1996). One. throughfranchising. The pervasivenessof sex segregationin varying formsacrossmultipledecadesanddifferentorganizations themto concludethat led are robust. This articleargues(1) thatmen andwomen socially constructeach otheratwork by means of a two-sided dynamic of genderingpracticesandpracticingof gender.actedon.they inject corporatephilosophies. many scholars in multiple disciplines were using this term and other similarones to representgender dynamics. corporationsshape popular culture. Ridgeway 2001). retirement.they found thatjobs reservedfor women in one organizationwere often reservedfor men in another. For as instance.theyhave influencednationalaccountingandtaxationstandards well as insurance. Fletcher 1999.S.Fiske 1993. these organizationsgreatly influence U. for-profitorganizationsas a study site for several reasons. and why genderis viewed as legitimate or illegitimateas an issue for . culture and society (Dahms forthcomhave access to nationallawmakersand areable to ing).They have called into questionclaimsthatgenderis irrelevant in rational-technical-legal bureaucracies that allegedly are governedby official ends-means considerationsoriented to the accomplishmentof formal goals (CalasandSmircich 1997. methods. Furthermore. gender is pervasively practicedin bureaucratic workplaces and conflated with working dynamics throughinteraction.

angry.I have noted elsewhere thatdespite theirleaders'framingof corporations as "rational-technical" enterprises where gender is irrelevant. I view genderas having a social structure relatedpracticeswith a histhat entails opportunities and constraints and a plethora of meanings. 1998). 2002. 1994. andconversation.Lorber1994. I Furthermore. Not surprisingly.While genderedpractices/practicing genderconstituteonly one aspectof the genderinstitution.dispirited.actions/behaviors.I am interestedin knowingwhen. among others. tory resources. If the genderinstitutionfailed to providea repertoire practicesfor societal members'use. I endorse Connell's (1995) claim that behavior is gendered only because andwhen enactedwithin a genderorder(or institution)thatgives it meaning as gendered.344 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 discussion and action. My analysis rests on severalassumptions.In agreementwith Acker(1990.they happen fast. where. on social mechanisms and Reskin. or sad andthatdefies verbaldescriptionby all but the most talentednovelist. fieldworkproved hardgoing. when all is "saidanddone. Ridgeway2001. I do not assume thateverythingwomen andmen do at work signifies gender.andhow men andwomen see/ interpreteach other and themselves as gendered and when they do not. the cloak of gender's naturalness. Many gendering practices are done unreflexively. Collinson and Hearn 1996. One can describepostures. I assume thatharmfulpracticescan be. Three. Along with othersocial construcand tionists. 1998. I acceptedthe challenge of tryingto see andnamegenderdynamicsat work. Framing gender as an institutionlets me focus on only one aspect of it-the practicingdimension-while acknowledging thatthereis more to the story. found thatpracticesof any kind arehardto observe and. they (we) wouldbe at of a loss abouthow to "do gender"at work (and elsewhere).One is thatgenderis a social institution (Connell 1987. Kerfoot and Knights 1996. Corporatecontrollerswere my reluctantto let me as an outsidersee or even talk to them aboutwork as it happens. on the mechanismsof genderand race).even when observed. I assume it is because women and men are situatedwithin a gender institutionthat they can construct each other (and themselves) as gendered in bureaucratic workplaces.and discoursesthatare fluid expectations.identities. Two. 1998. Martin 1990. and shifting yet robust and persisting. and social inevitabilitycan be removedandgender'snegativeeffects on contemporary and culturallife eliminated(see Hedstromand Swedberg. I assume that gender at work is at work not because .Risman 1998). Four. They have an emotive element thatmakespeople feel inspired.an extensive body of researchshows thatgenderhas a consequentialrole in theirroutine dynamics (Cassirer and Reskin 2000."words but are pale reflections of the literal "sayingand doing. hard to capture in language. are "in action. Still.challenged.I hope thatby bringingto the light of day the multifacetedand subtle practicing of gender. Whitehead 1998). if made visible and named. West andZimmerman1987).they arekey to its perpetuation (Quinn 2002."and occur on many levels.Think aboutcapturingin words an inspirational talk or "bawlingout"by a boss.Indeed.essentialism.happy. Ely and Meyerson 2000.actions. Reskin and BranchMcBrier2000."Reducing practicesto words drainsexperiencesof theiremotionaleffects as well. McGuire 2000.

Pyke 1996. First.I thinkthis event may have stimulated an aggressive policy of promoting more women into senior . Conceptsthatarekey to organizational such life as competence.which is unhealthyfor manymen andmost women. and (3) and the choice. I define practice and review four prior conceptions of gendering dynamics that have influenced my work. and authority(among others) are moreoverconflated with the practicingof genderin ways that differentiallyaffect women and men (Ely and Meyerson 2000.Theirgoal of retaining a lucrativegovernmentcontractpromptedthem to take unnecessaryrisks and proceed with a launch thatcaused seven people to die. This condition. PRACTICING GENDER 345 "infected" workersinappropriately bringit with themandpass it aroundlike a virus but because paid work as currentlyconceived. effectiveness. and experience. as Maier and Messerschmidt (1998) showed in the space shuttle Challenger case. Gruber 1998.perhapseven demolition and startingagain from scratch.the predominant mentally constructedof gender (Bologh 1990. I reportthree stories from my fieldworkin corporations illustratehow genderingis practicedat work. SEEING AND DOING GENDER AT WORK: THREE STORIES In this section.will be necessaryto removegenderfrom the allegedlyrational-legal-technical gender-free workplace(Acker 1998. excellence. accountability. the so-called empty position for which organizations recruit assumes the body and life of a man. Everyoneknew andhad opinions aboutthe events it reports. Ferguson 1997). power.using to these stories. andlast. Radicalreforms. The first one. rationality. Pierce 2002. Five. YanceyMartin2001). In that instance. As Acker (1990) claimed. strength.My concludingdiscussionreiterates value of studyingthe "sayingsanddoings"of genderin light of a growingconsensusthat social life. I reportthreestories-two from a telecommunications company and one from an engineeringcompany. and practiced springs from and is shaped by gendered conceptions (but see Britton 2000). audience. organized. awareness. and reflexivity. includingNew Hampshire school teacherChristaMcAuliffe.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. about Tom and Betsy. had acquiredapocryphalstatusby the time I interviewedemployees in theircompany. and prompt silly. This article is organizedas follows. Leidner 1991. arefundanizations. Martin and Knopoff 1997). It also suggests the value of studying practiceis key to understanding and the practicing of gender relative to situatedinteractions genderingpractices that occur in rapid-fire fashion and are informed by liminal awareness and nonreflexiveintent. leadership. I assumethatgenderis presentat workbecausebureaucratic orgaform of workplacein developed economies. thwart potential.intention.Second. Quinn2002. I review the twin dynamic of genderingpracticesandpracticinggenderin relationto issues of (1) agency. (2) position.(men) corporatemanagersmobilized a form of competitivemasculinities in refusingto heed engineers'warningsaboutflawed O-rings. even disastrous results. not a gender-freeperson. Third. Calas and Smircich 1997. can (anddoes) cause pain.

ultimately.commenting: didnoteventhink by apolShe of to his was Corogized Betsy." wasagainsurprised decided askother 100 1994) Betsy. 100 stoodtalking ahallvice-presidents aFortune company.as do manyparallel practices at home. for example. Tom and Betsy knew this. Accordingto everyonewho knew this story (andmost people at the directorand vice presidentranksknew it). said. A wereofficesbutnonewas theirs.Betsy respondedin kind by complying with his request. They did not reflect. Betsy helped startthe groupbutwas transferred anotherlocationbefore it ended. phone way aftera meeting. "fix my dinner. secretary.Some women talkedfor hours. Tompracticeda kind of masculinitythatthe genderinstitutionmakesavailableto him.Without stopping to reflect. Tom's request and Betsy's behavior are thus unsurprising.met periodicallyover two years. They did not in analyze the situation.they practicedgender. although no official acknowledged that point to me.Severalwomen (and some men) told me they would not want their daughtersto work there because High Tech was not "womanfriendly. or Tomsaidto Betsy. patronizing [you]don'ttreat as if Tom and to women theyagreed with equals.andyoutreated likea me too.and the Telephone both in in TomandBetsy." Tom."Why to don't but the yougetthat?" Betsywassurprised Tom's by request answered phone anyway andTom returned hisoffice.Tom talkedto Betsy and an additional18 women about theirexperiencesat High Tech.it tells men/boysthey have a (gender) right to be assisted by women/girls. Alongthehallway started ringin oneofficeandafter three so rings. wereyouthinking?" Betsy'sreaction surprised Hedidnotmean he "I about Tom it. an engineer. What Tom.as Czarniawska(1998.346 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 positions. about Valerie. to Tom what Betsyfound toaskif herealized he haddone.(Fieldnotes." anything hisaction. shows men collectively mobilizing masculinities (defined below) in ways that she experienced as harmful.""wash my clothes.All three stories offer clues to past and future dynamics. which is to requestpracticalhelp fromwomen.Betsy.they were "practiced" gender.The genderinstitutionholds women accountableto pleasingmen. "Organizational narratives[or stories] are inscriptionsof past performancesand scripts and staging instructionsfor futureperformances. The third story. at which time High Tech encouragedhim to accept a golden parachuteand retire.Fortune telecommunications company After this occurrence. These practicesexisted before Tom and Betsy's encounter.and some criedover the hurtfulnessof their experiences.Tomkeptthe to group going until he reachedage 55. Betsy became angry with Tom for asking and with herself for answeringthe telephone. 20) noted.thus. toldTom behavior "typical howmeninHighTech treat You're and us [a poration pseudonym] women."This experience inspired Tom to starta "gendergroup"of 18 men and 18 women that.Shetoldhim:"I'ma vice-president Tom. Tom and Betsy were both familiarwith and skilled in genderpractices." "clean my . Hardly any said life at High Tech was "just fine" for themselves or women generally. they simply "hoppedinto the [gender]riverand swam" (see discussion on swimming below).Afterwards.

women arein structural positionsthatmakeactiveassertionsof the genderorderunnecessary(e.or they are willing to do genderin expected ways (e.the family. They requiredno reflexivity." both "likea subordinate" "likea woman.Theirnormative enactments were made possible by the gender institution.They would not havebeen needed in this case if Betsy hadbeen a secretary." or "raise my kids." "cook my food.questioningthe triumphof the genderorderover the bureaucratic workplaceand coming to the conclusion that Tom treatedher not as a colleague but as "womanto his man. the workplace. "like a secretary. describedby Dorothy help/serve men and to do routine/repetitive Smith (1987) as the everyday/everynight materiallaborthatkeeps the body whole and social systems functioning. Most of the time.She practiced genderin and throughresistance.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES.Tom enacted a masculinity/masculinitiespractice associated with being a man who. accept being inappropriately told to answerthe phone) because disruptingthe gender orderis seen as "rocking the boat.knew the practicesof femininity/femininitiesthatentailtakingcareof men. they aresimplyunderstood. What was her intention?We do not know. she then enactedan alternativenormto challenge a genderedpracticeof treatingwomen as subordinates and "did gender"in a way that was not merely nonconforming. Tom's request made perfect gender sense to both. Betsy. She simply acted. When she articulateswhatwasjarringfor her in the interaction. andin Tom's. due to his superiorgender status.that is.as it would havebeen if she refusedto answerthe phone.Betsy took a riskin how she did genderandwon the gamble by makingTom aware of the natureof genderedpractices in the firm.the school.she did so in the language of institutionalizedpositions that are which means genderedover time and across situations." Such requests. After she acted and reflected on her actions... as woman." In JudithButler's(1993.butactivelyresistant. Betsy actedunreflexivelyin answeringthe phone.and their reiterationof normative genderpracticeskept/keepsthe gender institutiongoing. good secretariesneed not be told to answerthe phone.But withoutrocking the boat.makingher a "different kind of woman"in her eyes. she may not know. are rarelyarticulated.could expect ."She did not disputethe assumptions and or practicesmade availableto Tomby the genderinstitution(aboutwomen as helpers of men) thatallowed him to make a demandthatwas bureaucratically inappropriate from one vice presidentto another. and on Tom's. the genderinstitution cannotbe changed.After her initial compliance." Betsy thus gained Tom's respect. Viewed from Robert Connell's (1995) framework. while operative.They showed awarenessof and skill in reinstituting gender the institutionwithinwhich they live-as man.g. thana womanwho wouldjust "takethatkindof treatment. PRACTICING GENDER 347 home.Tom'sandBetsy's actionswere citational of the genderorder.engaging in a genderpracticethat unreflexivelycomplied with the femininity rule that tells women to help men (see Simmons 2002 on femininity rules). she became angry. andwomen are still farmorelikely to be secretariesthanvice presidents). 12-16) terms. equallyas well schooledin genderas Tom. She knew thatwomenareexpectedto labor for men."as upsettingto the social structureand coordinatedactions that are premised in genderedexpectations.g.for example.

. Thus. Pierce 1995. "WhyshouldI answerthe phone?Why don'tyou?" she would have challengedthe gendersystem and its normsthen and there.andforhim to respondby makingthe genderorderproblemof atic. I wouldhavelunch. for 30 years. getsetforthenextcouple days manthenight an create inforunderstand wasgoingon. The resultof this quiteminorincidentwas a shift in the normativity the gender orderin thatworkplace.I saidI never with a couldcomein andsee [us]anddevelop wrong So. longdinner. as signs of sexuality. from having dinner alone with a woman work .. justhadgotten if I . thatdirector personnelwasa manandyouhadtwodaysto spend." said.He was "aChristian man.Fortune company corporate headquarters1994) He continued..at least to a degree for a period of time. impression. she would have been viewed as "uppity" overly sensitive.He enacteda form of masculinitythatis hegemonicin western that societies." Tom'spolicy of not eating dinneralone with a womancoworkerframeswomen as sexual beings. if of of is youfly into[cityX].. gotaninsight thatif yougo intoa newtownthatrulemight. thisprocess[the"gender group" process.suddenly. I madea ruleto myselfthatI Manyyearsago .In failto reflect before acting on how the workplaceand situationwere gendered.met his "host"at the otherend married for a dinnerto makeplans for the upcomingday. Inother what toreally words.for-profitcorporations.. I havebreakfast havedinner alonewitha and them[women].as a temptationto engage in sex.. I asked Tom if his realizationmade him change his policy. thatTom[referring himself] intoeffectwhenheprobably put in married. Tom and Dining Alone with "a Woman" This same Tomtold a storyabouta personalpolicy he hadfollowed for 30 years. And.She had enough awarenessof of the inappropriateness the genderedbehavior she and Tom fell into to confront Tomaboutit.I do not want to startrumorsor give the wrong impression. wouldkindof meetwiththat you a and of before overdinner. whenI firststarted honwith never havedinner a woman would alone. allows mento call on women for practical.. he would not have dinnerwith her.tobequite just or whereeither wouldbe tempted anyone I wantto be in a position est. andthedirector personnel a woman.. and did not want anyoneto thinkhe was doing anythingimproper. uh.when he traveled.butI wouldnever to Just woman. It meantI nevergot to know the women as well..she ing acted"likea woman"more thanlike a vice president."Irealize now thatthis discriminates.And.I still will not have dinnerwith a woman. as and noted above. arule.(Fieldnotes. described earlier]. Tomtraveledoften on his job and." he said.348 & / GENDER SOCIETY June2003 help from a woman. support(Fletcher 1999. that maybe it hurtthem in some way. includinginside formal.. If Betsy hadsaidon the spot. "no. Yancey Martin2001). thetwoof us. would you with 100 malnetwork thatman.. however.. "Well. His belief thatothersmight perceive him as sexually interestedin another(nonwife) woman prevented him. if his host at the otherend was a woman.but. working.as well as emotional."At the end of our interhe view.

. however.women.but he did not assume thattwo menhavingdinnertogetherwould sexuallytempthim orbe negativelyperceived. two men eating dinneralone would not suggest a homosexualrelationship. Besides feeling uncomfortableabout "gettingin the face" of seniorresearchersto "tell them how greatI am.Tom framed ing of a particular himself as risking temptation by having dinner alone with a strange woman..Althoughhermalepeershad less experienceandno degreein architecture. Tomdid not change his policy and practices. the genderedpractices of the institutions of family and religion were stronger than those of the bureaucratic workplace that ideally rejects gender as a basis for making policies and decisions.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES.. Her boss told her she was "not gregariousenough.probably But gettingall kindsof I'm that line assignments I'mnotgetting.His 30-yearpolicy was accountableto certainfeaturesof the genthanthe corporation paidhis salary.For Tom. This storyillustratesboth genderpracticesandTom'spractickind of masculinity.thathe was unawareof until he participated the gendergroup. The gender sensitivity group that Tom established could not fundamentally Even as someone now reflexchange the gender orderin High Tech Corporation.as he understoodand had experiencedit. Tom assumed that strangewomen are sexual temptresses.had workedfor a scientific researchcomfirm and pany for three years.Withinthe gender institution. she felt she wasn't "going anywhere"and was trying to understandwhy.If Tomhadbeen faithderinstitutionrather that ful to bureaucratic ideals. [Why . Tom's actions showed agency. I'm not..andprotectinghim fromgossip anda bad reputation.His policy was defensive in preventinghim from breakingthe norms of maritalfidelity. Valeriethe Engineer:"NotGregarious Enough" ValerieParks. protectinghim from temptation. than so be They're younger metoo ."which she interpretedas insufficiently aggressive about promotingherself. With seven years' experience in an architectural degrees in engineering and architecture. aware of his gendered practices and their unintended negative effects on ively women.He followed a policy for 30 years thatreflected his personalviews on sexuality. and femininity.even once. PRACTICING GENDER 349 associate. in Tom's view."He held himself accountableto the genderinstitution.a 32-year-oldengineer..He framedanyone who mightsee him with a womancompanionas aptto assumehe was unfaithful to his wife in violation of the standards a "Christian of marriedman. I'mthinking inthewrong of work.It hadunintended in consequencesfor women.Comparedto men at her career stage. I havemoreexperience I feel I should doingat better. he wouldhaveignoredthe genderpracticesthatled him to treatwomen colleagues as women more than as colleagues. therebyframingwomen as temptressesandmen as easily tempted."Valeriedid not wantto stay afterhoursto makeup time spent"visiting" duringthe day.They're leastas well as they are.they received more researchassignments.she liked doing research.

women seemed reconciled to linity/masculinities(Yancey the inevitabilityandeven normalcyof individualmen's doings of masculinity/masculinities. notgoingtoassign a mine] ofyou[emphasis I have does mean?] don'tknow.chemists..unsureof themselves. ful I amorget in theirface."You're gregarious enough. as if they are"inthe wrongline of work"(YanceyMartin2001). feeling exhausted. it'sdiscouraging. 588). as she had done the year before. Valerie. you. my Ijust tryto see it asimportant. I use the term mobilizingmasculinitiesfor "practiceswherein two or more men jointly bring to bear.irrespectiveof whatthe men may have viewed themselves as doing.I around as don't talking a wasteof time. can'tgo tellpeoplehowwonderseeit aswasted whatmy bosstellsme I'vegot to do. or bring into play. that her supervisorwas not giving her good assignmentsor enough responsibility.[Howis thathappening?] don'tknow.I guesstheyarejustmoreaggressive. thinkit wouldbe boring do regular engineering projects. her reactionsto the men's practices causedherto doubthercompetenceandchoice of engineeringas a profession." I notaggressive.and. who saw junior men "visiting"in the afternoonsto tell senior (men) engineers"howgreatthey are. excluded. But . Indeed.theyexperience a range of negative feelings-for example."[What that but I justhavea bachelor's Andtheguyswithbachelors degree so do lots of others.I'mtrying change viewsonthat.."concludedthatmen collaboratewith each otherthis way as men insteadof seeking/obtainingwork assignmentsin an orderly. different.3 When women see and/orexperiencegroups of men mobilize(ing) masculinitiesin ways women cannot frame as working. a patternI soon discovered was women's minimal concern aboutindividualmen's practicingof masculinity/ over men's collective mobilizing of mascumasculinitiesbutdeep discouragement Martin2001). guess. 1000com(Fieldnotes.or engineers.He said. insteadof like vice presidents.I see someof thesepeople[menatthecompany]. Valerie's annual performanceevaluation showed she complained. She was dispiritedby her experiences because she lackedthe inclinationor abilityto act this way andbecause she felt she shouldnot have to "sell herself"or stay afterwork to do herjob. . But men's collective practicingof masculinitiesaffected women negatively even when they believed that men intended them no harm.350 GENDER& SOCIETY June2003 / that not changecompanies?] and Well.as Valeriesaid..Fortune pany 1995) When I enteredthe field to study gender dynamics.. not does mean?] I'm He[her [What that boss]saidtome. wantto comein andgetmyworkdoneandgo home.rationaltechnicalway.Butit'sjustnotmeto dothat. masculinity/ies" (Yancey Martin 2001. While Valeriemay be framedas making mountainsout of molehills. They[men]apparently guessI see sitting I time..You todoit. they often perceive men as acting like men.Butthat's I'm "I'llnever think whenthere's project. spend they to I halfthedaygoingaround to talking people. are than I [degrees] gettinglots moreresponsibility I am.therearen'tmanycompanies do research I I to reallylikeresearch.Whenthis occurs. She experiencedtheirbehavioras gendered.

Polanyi 1966. in the of of anticipating anticipations theothers. among otherthings. Tacitknowledgethatis associatedwith activitiessuch as recognizinga friend." thetwinkling aneye. passes ball notto thespotwhere team-mate butto thespothewillreach...practicinggenderis morereadily experiencedand observedthannarratively describedor pinned down. Such qualities complicate the study of practicing. Hedecides terms objective probathat to of instantaneous assessment thewholesetof bilities. Strati 1999). asirreversibility.People practicethe practicesthatthe gender institution makes available and do so.While one can try to "takeback"an action or comment. gendering. narrating. because it is permeatedwith tacit knowledge that cannotbe verbally expressed."in the heat of the moment". performing.constitutive meaning...to view it as a "systemof action"that is institutionalizedand widely recognized but also is dynamic. linear)relativeto time and thus irreversible. reflexion.ridinga bicycle.as Bourdieu([1980] 1990. or these practiceswould not (could not)be viewed or interpreted understood genas der. not as theyarebutin their and seen And "in of positions. act. These qualitiesof practice-directionality. playinga piano..Inshort. Genderscholarshave used diverseterms to representgender dynamics-doing gender. asserting. One can say or do somethingto "correct for"a "bad" commentorphysical but one cannoteraseit. local." is.""in impending theheatof themoment..a compromise between past experience and an imagined future. A it out whois involved caught in thegameadjusts to whathe seesbutto and not player up in whathe fore-sees. in advance thedirectly sees he the perceived present. his opponents the wholeset of his team-mates. rapidity-place it in a differentcategoryof humanendeavorthandepictionsof past conversationsand physical actions. temporal is it above itsdirectionality. Thus.this cannotactually be done. furthermore. PRACTICING GENDER 351 DEFINING PRACTICE To view genderas practicemeans.. .andshifting.butalsobecause playsstrategically time. and detachment. all of because is entirely in of is from not immersed the current time. variable. he doesso "onthespot.. itsrhythm. inresponse anoverall.Manygenderingpracticesarereadilyrecognized by societal membersas featuresof a genderinstitutionthatis bothlocal andsocietywide. or "actinglike a girl"is incapableof being verballyexpressedalthoughit is implicatedin all kindsof practicing. thatsynchronization Its that its and structure. in conditions that whichexcludedistance. destroys. is. only it with because is played in time... Outside(awayfrom) the genderinstitution(if such a place can be imagined). mobilizing. perspective. some genderingpracticesare optionalactions that can be invokedor ignoredduringinteraction.includinggender(Barnes2001. is. tempo. 81-82) said. maneuvering. a moment his is later.Yet because they are local..practice inseparable temporality. in Practice unfolds timeandit hasallthecorrelative such properties.Knowing how to correctly practice masculinity/masculinitiesand femininity/femininitiesdepends on both tacit knowledgeand skills thatareacquiredovertime.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. I agree with Bourdieuthatpracticeis directional(one way. temporality.emergent.

Eachpractice of gender is a moving phenomenon. PRIOR CONCEPTIONS OF GENDER DYNAMICS This articleis possible only because othershave framedgenderas a dynamicin ways I build on. workplaces.352 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 Each tries to capturegenderin practicewith only limited success. postmodernfeminist philosopher.houses of worship. like ridinga bicycle. a process that is the culminationof practice to get it right and the practice itself is enactedeach time. 207). Fourpriorconceptionshave been especially useful."AnthropologistDorrine Kondo's(1990. JudithButler (1993). withinthe constraintsof the societal system of genderrelations. Practicing is key to both reflecting and reconstitutingthe gender institution (Bickham Mendez and Wolf 2001.In time.reconstitute genderinstitution.andgenderis helpful in similarways. it is actionslearnedthroughrepetition." Kondo's framingof gender as relationaland negotiatedis reflected in her reportthat Japanesemen at the confectionaryfactory where she it workeddefined masculinity"in oppositionto us women"and "performed for us women" (p. and contestedrather genderidentityas a "strategic than a "fixed essence.andtheiremphasison accountability the genderorderhashelped to us understandwhy people so extensively "do gender. "Performativity construed as that power of discourse to . 8 and9) framingof genderas a "strategic narrative assertion" in and "performance" her ethnographic studyof work. fluid.Theirworkhas had a tremendous appropriate particular impacton genderscholarship. Over time. genderingpracticesbecome almost automatic. Here'sa bicycle.includingin schools.an instanceof practicing. here is how to ride.done quickly. actions to contexts. expanded Erving Goffman's framing of the doing of gender as an active accomplishmententailinggenderdisplays that are situatedactions. chap. Riding a bicycle is a practiceor activity. Ely and Meyerson 2000.identity. Practicinggenderis likewise morethana personandthe activitiesthis personengages in.in turn. thatis. 1997). Rantalaihoet al. she viewed assertion"thatis shifting. here's a rider. Ridgeway 2001).in concert or interactionwith others.and social movements. Genderedpractices are learnedand enacted in childhood and in every majorsite of social behaviorover the life course. CandaceWest andDon Zimmerman(1987). Kondo said any behavioris capableof being genderedas masculine or feminine based on a person'stalk and action. the They sustaingenderedrelationshipsand.emphasizedthe necesin sity to take accountof the materialbody andthe dynamicof performativity conis ceptualizing gender. Kondo's conception anticipates Judith Butler's and Robert Connell's. ethnomethodologistsand sociologists. Quinn 2002.families. the saying and doing create what is said and done (Butler 1990. (often) nonreflexively. intimaterelationships.Riding a bicycle is differentfrom the many elements thatmake this activitypossible. Yet a moving bicycle propelled by a rider is something else again.In agreementwith Connell (1995).

Bird 1996." it is alwaysa reiteration a norm setof performativitynota singular an in it and that status thepresent. GENDERING PRACTICES. Prac(p. femininity/femininities. on the multiplicityof masculinitiesavailablefor "sayinganddoing. to theextent it acquires act-like dissimulates conventions whichit is a repetition "citation"]. 2000). Dellinger and Williams 2002. In her view. Quinn 2002. also Connell 1987.He defined masculinities as "a configurationof practicewithin a system of genderrelations"(p."and emphasis attentionto context/situation." As noted. and affect (cathexis) are additionalcontributions. and Foucault. asserting. asserting. the of [or (1993. Following Derrida. see Lloyd 1999). 72) not a "stableobjectof knowledge" (p.negotiating. PRACTICING GENDER 353 produce effects through reiteration"(p. 84) and "simultaneouslya place in genderrelations. Rotolo.orperforming masculinity/masculinitiesand.personality. conceals or norms.EchoingKondo. Britton 1999. although some scholarshave used Butler's "performativity" concept to representwillful resistanceto the hegemonic genderorder(on the "misuse" of Butler's performativity/performance concepts.negotiating. Performing gender reconstructs conception poses genderingpracticesin a way thatstabilizesgenderas an institutionbutthatalso provides material for future gendering practices/practicingof gender (Campbell 2000). Lacan.12) The primacyof the gender institutionrelativeto the individualactor is implied in Butler's conception. she explored how the materialbody is genderedthroughdiscourse and how "individualaction"produces and is producedby a constructivistgender system. resolutely knowable "objects. andBird2000).the practicesthroughwhich men and women engage that place in gender relations. 20).orperforminggenderto a concernwith doing. Wharton.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. they are practicesratherthan fixed. Influencedby Connell's work. Connell'srejectionof a "trait conception"of masculinities. is for of or "act. many sociologists of work are now focusing on the practicing of masculinities and femininities in work organizations(for example.the materialbody (embodimentof practice).meaning. tices arethe core featureof Connell'sdefinition.Practicesandpracticingreferto a set of interrelated activities and actions concerning a particularcontent about which people have .andculture" 71.masculinity/masculinities is/are an ongoing "genderproject"(p. by implication. of RobertConnell (1995) focused on the practices/practicing masculinity/masculinities ratherthan the generic dynamicof doing gender. PRACTICING GENDER: A TWO-SIDED DYNAMIC This section arguesfor a conceptionof genderdynamicsas two sided:gendering practicesandpracticinggender. 33). Butler's a chicken and egg problem. and the effects of the practices in bodily experience. Connellmoved away fromthe global dynamicof doing.

or bicycle riding. This situation exists because a body of practices is available for societal membersto invoke or display in this regard.riding a bicycle.354 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 "practical knowledge. one mustpractice-that is. no matterhow many one uses. Thegoal music. They cannot settle for that have been "said and done.or mobilize. playing. even scary."for example. The more dynamic side of the coin is practicinggender.holds one's breathandlearnshow to breathe properly. is not to excel at those activities.A skilled swimmersimply swims. discursively. Sociologists who wantto understand gender in work contexts must find ways. performing.performed-that is. A transsexualman to woman may have observed and read and think he knows how to act."and "genderingpractices"standfor a class of activities that are available-culturally. physical and narrative-the doing. He may recognize . the goal is to be able to swim. assert.""genderedpractices."To do so is to miss the only describingpractices immediacy. swimming. play. While many words are needed to describe piano playing.And one does these thingsrepeatedly. They arepotentialactions-Connell's (1995) configurationsof practice-that people know aboutandhave the capacityor agency to do. head down. and riding are mysterious. Practicingis the means by which the genderorderis constitutedat work. and understandsuch micro-interactional practicingdynamics. take lessons.difficult. 2000).men and boys pay much less attentionto the details of girls' and women's lives (Smith 1987).but to excel at piano playing. to see. andconstantpracticesince birth in practicing femininity/femininities(Raymond 1979). neers' visiting with senior researchersto advertise their worth. Practicingmasculinity/masculinities and women yet easy for boys and men.which directs attention to the literal activities of gender.a bicycle ridercoasts down the hill. displaying. or ride. or "actinglike"a woman or man (Schatzki 2001).Again.perform. Girls and women are observersof men's and boys' genderpractices. one cannot fully capture these practices. do what they do almosteffortlessly.complexities. drills.narrating. men and boys should find girls practicingfemininitiesmysterious. maneuvering. 1999.They/we aremoreskilled at doing thanat describingour may be mysteriousfor genderingpractices.andso on. play scales.4 Toplay the piano well. socially. asserted. and feet back. They are availableto be done. Likewise.however. of Tom's requestingBetsy to answer the phone or men engievent. but he has not had the lessons. In a binarilygenderedsociety like ours. and subtletiesof genderingdynamics.Practicingis the literal for example. Likewise. To one who does not know how to swim. asserting. kicks feet and legs and strokesarmsand hands. Practicesareper se conceptuallydistinctfrompeople who practicethem. a pianistplays a sonata. "Genderpractices. buildskill andfamiliarity. those skilled at practicinggender.places arms ahead.mobilizing. one can "actlike" a woman or "actlike" a man althoughone can do so only serially. swimming. practiced-in social contexts. swimming. name. I contend. and so forth-for people to enact in an encounteror situationin accordwith (or in violation of) the gender institution.not simultaneously(Lorber1996.perhapsmore thangirls andwomen do masculinities. narratively. which most people are. one places one's face in water. To learnto swim. read connectnotes to the keyboard.physically.

Dynamics at work gion. Pierce 1995. Defining agency independentlyof intentionleaves us free to assume thatindividualsandgroupspractice .however. nation. Gherardi. Some genderscholars imply thatpeople who exercise agency relativeto genderconsciously intendto practiceit and/orare awareof practicinggenderwhen they do. race/ethnicity. the practicingof femininities entails instruction. Awareness. repeatedefforts to gain familiarity and competence so thatin time the practicesbecome like second nature.not generic forms.attractiveness). sexual orientation. mothering/nurturing and Williams 2002.As Connell (1995.competitive/controlling/paternalistic(Collinson and Hearn 1994. I favordefiningagencyas actionor a stateof being in action. 2000) masculinity/masculinities noted. specific kinds dependingon theirbodies (health.I suggest that theirpracticesare guided only sometimes by intentionrelativeto gender(YanceyMartin2001). and people practice. and other social statuses." is. I encouragefocusing on practicingfemininity/femininitiesand practicing ratherthan practicinggender. andbike riding. Agency.Among them are agency/intention/awareness/reflexivity. drills. even these concepts must be used carefully because multiple masculinities and femininities exist. These issues are ignored or addressedonly implicitly in many studies of gendering dynamics at work. associatedwith varyingformsof masculinities-for example. RidgewayandCorrell2000). PRACTICING GENDER 355 femininity practicesand be familiarwith them observationallyyet be unskilled at practicingthem. Like swimming. Otherssuggest that they do in nonintentionalways or. several issues attention. as Reskin (2000) said.Forthis People practiceparticular reason. and choice/accountability/audience. of This definitionassertsthe instrumentality agencybut casts intentionalityand thanassumptions. Quadagnoand Fobes 1995. reliclass. (Bruni. kinds of gender. Pyke 1996.and Poggio forthcoming.The mark of truepassing for transgenders to be takenas a biological female or male. Reflexivity Scholarsin the social sciences andhumanitiesuse the concept of agency in varied ways rangingfrom actionbased on rationalityand/orgoal achievementto simply acting or doing something(see Ahearn2001 for a review). to plan.Dellinger sexy.age.) Althoughpeople are "gender-agentic.Intentionality. of To advance understanding the practicingof gender at work.to sucis ceed requiresbecoming so skilled at practicing"appropriate" femininitiesor masculinities that she or he need not reflect on her or his actions. and are held accountableto. Yancey Martin1998)-need to be more extensively addressed. Maier and Messerschmidt1998) or affiliating (Yancey Martin2001)-and of femininities-for example.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. piano playing. unconsciously (also McGinley 2000. of active practitioners gender.lessons. flirtatious.(Tointendmeansto havein minda awarenessas questionsrather that purposeor goal. to signify. require position/power/experience. Pringle 1989.I assumethatpeople can anddo practicegenderboth while intendingto and withoutintendingto and thatothersoften perceivethem as doing so irrespectiveof their intentions.

Rogers and Garrett2002. and speak without thinking. For example. Even when unsureaboutwhy dynamic men actedthis way.furthermore. are reflexive aboutgender. content. 2001). Irrespective her peers' or boss's intentions. some people. one young man said he was just "beingassertive"to do his job. Some men whom I questioned about women's perceptionsdenied that theirbehaviorwas aboutmasculinities.Leaving questions open aboutintentionand awarenessrelative to agency avoids assuming that the practicingof gender subsumes these qualities.they are directionalandtemporal. I have used the concept of liminal awarenessto representmen's mobilizing of masculinitieswithoutbeing conscious of doing so (Gherardi Poggio 2001). in othercircumstances)to act as theyplease withoutbeing concernedabout the effects of their behavioron others (Reskin 2000. Reflexivity is a special kind of awareness. My fieldworkhas shown me thatpeople routinelyperceive othersas practicing gender despite denials by those who are perceived this way.To practicegender reflexively. 2001).Second wave feminists workedto make society reflexive about languageuse.356 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 masculinitiesand femininitiesat work withoutconsciously intendingto. womenbelievedmen "behaved men"at workat least some of as the time. some of the time.it also means to ruminate. study. To and that men are liminally aware of mobilizing masculinity/masculinities means say masculinitieswithout being fully conscious of doing so and/orthat they practice their actions are viewed or experienced by others this way. as Tomdid afterrealizinghow his 30-yearpolas icy had affectedwomen (see Schippers2002 on gendermaneuvering a challenge to sexism by alternative rock groups).Unreflexive For actioncan have unfortunate consequences. Valerie'sboss said she should act this way too.or think carefully about something.People routinely shoot from the hip. if they believe theirpracticesarenot gendered.Valeriethoughtthey of mobilized masculinitiesby "visiting"in the afternoonsand staying after hoursto complete their work. act rashly. they admonishedus to stop using "he"for both boys and girls because the practice was detrimentalfor girls .I agree with Bourdieu([1980] 1990) thatpracticeis rarelyguided by reflection. although they may consciously intendto do. Thatis.As noted earlier. for example.cogitate. Still.men who act "like men" without having reflected on their practices may be unawarethat their actions embody masculinitiesthat women experience as harmful(YanceyMartin 1996.5(Otherviews of agency are offered by Picartforthcoming. deliberate. Tsuhimaand Burke 1999). example. and effects of one's behavior. Reflexive/reflexivity. For example. among otherpractices (Ferreeand Hess 2000).6Liminal awareness allows men (andwomen.To be reflexive means to meditate or engage in careful consideration. (some) and women perceivedmen as mobilizing masculinity/masculinities conflatingthis with working (YanceyMartin1996.one would carefullyconsider the content of one's actions and act only after careful considerationof the intent. Ridgeway andCorrell2000).practicesaredone quickly. even if others see or experiencethem as doing so.they can "honestlydeny"actingin a genderedway.In Valerie'scase.

Interpretations the sense-makingefforts of people who engage in practicesmade availableto them by the genderinstitutionandworkplace. . interpretations more than conjectures.Researchthatidentifiesconditionsat workwheremen (andwomen) aremorereflexiveabouttheirpracticingof masculinitieswould be useful.Power. men were predominant.and interpretedby occupants of more and less powerful positions (Collinson and Collinson 1996. Positions.Reynolds. No one has total knowledgeor vision of his or her life and experiences. We need to know more abouthow power fostersthe practicingof particular masculinities and femininities and how it/they is/are perceived.and women often cannotchallenge them. making them feel out of place. YanceyMartin. includinghow these practicesaffect workers'lives. Some positions have morepowerthanothersto say whatis happening.Thus. were in controlandhadthe powerto define situationsas they saw fit.the men were pursuinginformal avenues of sponsorshipand patronage." furthermore.becausewomen occupy a subordinate status.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES. within a system of genderrelationsas If practiceis genderedwhen interpreted are are about gender. Denial does not erase the harm women experience from men's excluding them. women's lesser power discouragesor preventsthem from challenging this claim (Fiske 1993). Yet people in key positions have the power to affirmor deny thatgenderis practicedin workplaces(Ely andMeyerson 2000).Experience Feminist standpoint(and other) theorists argue that different social positions offer differentamountsof power and shape their occupants'experiencesand consciousness (Harding1997.""suckingup"to each other. Womencolleagues who borethe brunt of exclusion from inner circles understoodcorrectlythat the men's behaviorwas men approvedof by management. As a rule. This point was broughthome in my fieldwork. Men's superiorpower lets them claim that whateverthey do is work.they may be more reflexive aboutgender. Fiske 1993.Men were the bosses."In actuality."A goal of understanding genderdynamicsat workrequiresattention to the masculinities and femininities practiced by people in powerful positions. experienced. Certainforms of masculinitiesand a form of culturalmasculinismwere hegemonic.Powerhas a role in these dynamics. PRACTICING GENDER 357 (and women).time-honoredways for junior men to enter the innercircles of elite men (Lorber1984). or requiring them to "act like men. people with less privilege are more reflexive abouttheir actionsthanarethose with moreprivilege.Powerful men can deny thattheir behavioris gendered. andKeith2002). Womenfelt nervouseven aboutclaiming thatmen behavedlike men because men believe (and say) they behave like workers (YanceyMartin 2001).makingdecisions based on liking ratherthan performance.and protectingincompetentsperceived that men were "behavinglike men.visiting all afternoon. Hill Collins 1997.I foundthatwomen who saw men "wastingtime. all (of us) are empowered and/orconstrainedby the positions they (we) occupy.includingwhethergenderis "atplay. Thorne 1993).

"suckedup"to men. Is it due to free. for example. my research suggests. normsandexpectations. The audience(s) to whom/thatmen hold themselves accountableat work relativeto gender is.is likely too hereticala notion for women to even consider.Such evidence. be considered. Do they.andaudiencemust gender accountability.practicegenderat work"because. One woman who intensely disliked a man and was dislikedby him neverthelesslistenedto him because she felt she hadno choice. participants. Betsy's answering of the telephone. they did not but act in these ways towardwomen.. rejectinga claim that "freewill" in the form of unfetteredchoice-"wanting to"-is the reason people practicegender at work.358 GENDER SOCIETY June2003 & / Ironically. 2001). YanceyMartin2001).men targeted peacocking and self-promotingmasculinitiesonly to men..For example. they waste time. the institution of gender--call for particular practicesaboutwhich people arepracticallyawareandin which theyarepractically skilled (Schatzki2001).Fletcher(1999) reportedthatwomen engineersfelt forcedby male peersto listen to theirpersonaltroubleseven thoughthey did not wantto (also Pierce 1995. Choiceor Accountability? A third issue concerns why people practice gender at work. . but they targeteddomimasculinitiesto bothwomen andmen."or practicefemininities. Theytargetedaffilnatingandexpropriating iating masculinities only to men. unfetteredchoice or to accountability pressuresof the gender institution?While I do not resolve this questionhere. when men coworkers socialize. they visited with men in search of resources. andignoringrules in favorof particularistic "objective" behavioris criticizedwhen done by women. some for men.men in my studyengagedin practicesthatareroutinelyattributed (as stereotypes)to women more than men-wasting time talking to coworkers.When women coworkers socialize. they advance their careers(Lipman-Blumen1976). 35)? West and Zimmerman(1987) said accountabilityis the answer. An illustrationof how gender accountabilityoperates is shown in corporatewomen's practicingof femininities thatthey would have "chosen"or preferredto avoid. primarily other men (YanceyMartin 1996. [are]builtinto theirsense of worthandidentityas a certainkind of humanbeing andbecausethey believe theirsociety's way is the natural way" (Lorber1994. to Accountabilitypressurespromptpeople to do gender appropriate the situation...for example. To understand situation. making decisions based on affect ratherthan sentiments. Forwomen workersto interpret men's similarbehavioras evidence thatmen "actlike women. it is neverthelessuseful to considerwhetherpeople practicefemininitiesor masculinitiesbecausethey "wantto"(Mayhew 1980) or because situations-for example.Is the audience of the same gender?The other gender?Both? My researchon masculinitiesshowedthatmen mobilized some forms of masculinities for women.pretending to like people they dislike. and some for both genders. and offeredothermen protectionand support.

2) said a consensus is emerging among social science and humanitiesscholars on a definition of practice as "arraysof humanactivity centrallyorganizedaroundsharedpractical This consensus claims that practices are embodied and that the understanding. the nearbyman." "skilledbody"is basic to its accomplishment(p.as Valerie'scomments suggest. researchandtheorizing about the twin dynamic of practicinggender and genderingpractices are needed. nearly him andgive him an effusive greetevery manin the room founda way to approach ing andextendedhandshake.nonintentionalmasculinitypractices by men-should we call them"genderslights"?-undermine women's self-esteem and make them questiontheircompetence."Duringthe day.Towardthis end. men at meetings acknowledgewomen's presenceby nodding or saying hello. The story is abouta bartenderwho commented on "theladies" sitting at the bar while makingeye contactwith and winking at a man who stood nearby. when.formeda bondwith him on the topic of "us men" versus "the ladies.This message is often debilitating even for highly educatedprofessionalwomen when it is given over and over again (YanceyMartin2001).I have claimedthatwomen andmenroutinelypracticegender-as masculinities and femininities-in embodied interactionsthat are emergent and fluid. PRACTICING GENDER 359 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS In this article.thatis. Tragically. where. and informedby liminal awareness andreflexivity.Schatzki(2001. Only by asking how. Bourdieusaid.The bartender's behaviorlet the manknow he was important enoughto address.these eventsoccurredin the "blinkof an eye. SharonBird (2001) told a story from her fieldworkthat shows the utility of viewing genderpracticesthis way. For example. 3).Furthermore. but they make extensive eye contactandtalkmostly with othermen. Defining practiceas entailing and activity. One example involved a high-statusvisitorto an all-day meeting. Suchexperiencesgive a messageto women abouttheir importance. andnearlyall held his shoulder .and/orknowledgeable. interactional. the skilled body (or embodiment)is useful for exploring genderingpractices at work. Women describe similar experiences with men in corporations. In a recentvolume on the concept of practice. and by what means-both narrativeand physical-gender is actively practiced can we gain insightsinto "sayinganddoing"dynamics. The visitor had been a professional football starand was considereda "reallynice guy. men's failureto treatwomen as if they are importanttells women they are unimportant.The storiesaboutTomandValeriehighlightthe invisibilityand the magnitudeof genderingdynamics. Subtle. groundedin practicalknowledge and skills. and SharonBird."and told the women they were as objectsbutnot subjects.They say men seek attentionfrom each otherbut not from them. sharedpracticalunderstanding.competent.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES.Some embracedhim." Yet they conveyed genderedmessages aboutrelationshipsand value to the women. I have observed men pay close attentionto each other at work. some women hold themselves responsiblefor men's failureto treatthem as important.

In simply going along with institutionalized featuresof the gender order. But prevailingtheories of gender.) Men's desire for other men's attention.men perpetuatemasculinism. They frequentlywrestledand took pleasurein bodily contact underthe ruse of "horsingaround. flattering. West and Zimmerman1987).or masculine/man-centered workplace. literature. the methodsof sexism can be revealed. even flirting with each other. pushed his subordinates exhaustion. and viewed themselves. Men's adherence to such practices and .but they did. Womenwho fail to practicefemininity accordingto femininity stereotypes thatdefine women as subordinate lose approvaland end up with even lower status than they would otherwise (Collinson and Collinson 1996. we use names like suckingup. By identifyinghow men practicemasculinitiesat work.even flirtatious(andsome say homoerotic). and organizationfail to admitthat these dynamics occur. the team's boss.If women simply go along with institutionalizednormsand stereotypesof femininity. especially in work situabut positions gives tions where women's opportunitiesare at stake. Fiske 1993).360 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 or arm as they expressed welcome and admiration. company.and"atta boy. As men engage in genderingpractices consistent with institutionalizednormsand stereotypesof masculinity." They routinelyplaced theirbodies next to their boss's body while he held his hand in the air and said inspirationalthings. to help his boss meet his quotabecause he "loved"his boss. Roper 1996)."(We know from researchthat "the same behavior"is interpreteddifferently when performedby women versus men. Yet women who practicefemininityaccordingto femininitystereotypesthatdefine women as subordinatemay gain approvalfrom men. we would call it flirting.If women actedthis way. smiling. and a masculinist. When men act this way.work. as differentfrom and tangentialto the rest of (the men on) the team. While such men may not gain approval fromwomen. for example.they nonetheless createsocial closure andoppression.theyremainoutside of men's informal networksand usually formal ones too (see McGuire2000). David Dorsey's (1994) yearlong account of a Xerox sales team described activities by men that were emotionally intense and extensively physical. Men on the team used highly sexualized languageto relateto each other. Men who practicemasculinity/masculinities accordingto masthatdefine men as dominantdo gain approvaland statusfrom culinity stereotypes men.andphysical. Even thoughthey were successful. to Fred. Nothing is wrong with men talking. but they do not gain equal status(Jackman 1994).character men's of relations with each other at work unacknowledged(Hearn 1993. Men need not invent schemes for excluding women from daily workprocesses in orderfor women to experienceexclusion. a bias in favor of men.andapprovalis relativelyignoredin the organizational leaving the homoemotional. women in the groupwere viewed. brownnosing. Jacques 1997. Schur 1983. The men may not haveintendedto practicea formof masculinitiesthatexcludedwomen.well past the team's annualgoal.obsequious. of course. Lipman-Blumen1976.oftenreferringto homosexualacts thatindicatedominanceor subordination(cf. theirhold overpowerful women no alternative to respectthem.Their behaviorwas attentive.

Although practicinggender is often rapidfire. even thoughI know they "require" to "actlike a man"by engaging in practicesthat are normatively.the twin dynamicsof genderingpracticesand practicingof gender at work must be made visible in organizationalanalyses. Maume 1999). Blatantly biased actions are viewed as illegitimate because western values frame them as wrong.I work at night and on weekends to succeed at being a professor at a ResearchI university.the "sayingsanddoings"of gendermustbe incorporatedinto organizationtheory and research (Calas and Smircich 1992. many men as well as women would like to see this situation changed (Gerson 1993).culturally. Sinclair 2000. is also practicedintentionit and reflexively. end of poweris painful.Forthese reasons. andinformedby liminalawarenessandnonreflexivity.andthe harmcan be worse if those on the receivingend fail to understand how or why they aretargetedor how the experienceaffectstheiridentities and self-esteem.bonuses. Playing by the rules does not guaranteesuccess because men may not perceive women as "succeeding"even when "objectively"they do.) and positions.are not widely viewed as wrong (McGinley 2000).like men do (YanceyMartin She laughedoff the commentbut still found it offensive. mining. PRACTICING GENDER 361 will not change without activeresistanceby both men and women. manywomen at worknevertheless fail to succeed. and other contexts (Fiske 1993. To counteracthidden and subtle but widespreadand invidious forms of gender discrimination. Prokos and Padavic 2002).leaving their presence and effects unchallenged. Of course.Theories and research that ignore gendering practices and the practicing of gender at work mischaracterizeworkplacesand workers'experiences. 2001. normativepractices. Gruber1998. Historically. Martinand Jurik 1996. YanceyMartinand Collinson 2002). Despite knowingthe rules andplayingby them. anddenied women access to valued opportunities(travel. employers have formally prohibited married ally women from holding certainjobs. paid women (andmen of color) less.and/orempirically associatedwith men andmasculinity/masculinities prioritizeworkover home that and family and that equate self-worth with workplace success (Weiss 1990). Practices that often are conflatedwith work relationsand work dynamics have genderedconsequencesin perpetuatingmen's advantageand women's disadvantage. Glass ceiling researchtells us women are routinely passed over for promotions (Cotter et al.like Tom'srequestof Betsy or his policy of not dining alone with a woman. A chemist once told me about a colleague who repeatedlysaid in her presence that women do not have a "natural instinct"for chemistry. Pracstandards tices in which men routinely engage both constructand maintaintheir privileged positions. Some men in my university view "gettingin your face" and "saying how great you are"as valued.Yancey Martin / GENDERING PRACTICES.but subtleformsof practicinggender. directional(linear).I do these things because me they are requiredto succeed. . time bound. etc. They have forced women into prostitutionand harmedthem at constructionsites and in police. Absorbingthe raw 1996).

As notedin YanceyMartin(2001).Jennifer.JamesN.gendered. 2001. liminal refers to a limit below which a phenomenonis imperceptibleor a state of consciousness that is supposed to exist but is not strong enough to be recognized. . for example. Organizational In Aldine. Ahearn. ." perceived.. The phraseliminal awareness is more useful for sociological purposesthanis unconsciousor nonconscious awareness. andWilliamBielby. Languageand agency. SharonR. Hierarchies.Paperpresentedat the AnnualMeetings of the SouthernSociological Society. 86.in my view.In these cases.andgender as equivalentmodifiersof practice(s)thatis and/orintendedas about gender. or (3) how those in power representit. Baron. Bird. 1985. task force meetings. Barnes. 1990. I definemasculinitiesas practicesthatarerepresented interor preted by an actor and/or observer as masculine within a system of gender relations that gives them Behaviorcan be represented. law offices.but she allowed me to use it. editedby Alice S.I use gendering.Linda. der-crossingin a transnational Bielby.editedby TheodoreS.AnnualReview ofAnthropology30:109-37. In this article.or interpreted masculine because of (1) who does it and/orhow. Men andwomen at work:Sex segregationandstatistical discrimination. Welcome to the men's club: Homosociality and the maintenanceof hegemonic masculinity. andthe context in which they are situated.menmay talkaboutor treatwomen differentlyin my presence. The futureof "genderand organizations": Connectionsand boundaries. Rossi. the agents (or actors)intendto practice masculinitiesandfemininitiesof particular kindsfor reasonsrelatedto theirgenderidentities. Joan.362 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2003 NOTES 1. 4.Barry. Atlanta.. As a result. for example. researchlabs. 1986. interpreted." 5. Masculinitiesandmen's social relationsat work. joking aboutsex. 3. AmericanJournal of Sociology 91:759-99. some people do practicegenderintentionally-for example. Genderand the life course. . 1998.andDiane Wolf. (are) perceived.Gender Work and Organization5 (4): 195-206. 2001. barriers genderequality:Sex segregation to Baron. REFERENCES Acker. 6.Forexample.jobs. New York: . BickhamMendez. skills. Of course.New York:Routledge. an overweightboy who triesto "actmanly" to keep bullies at bay (cf. as meaningas gendered"masculine.2001.Gender & Society 10:120-32. 1996. I may stimulateor inhibitcomments they otherwisewould not make. Messerschmidt2000) or a 20-year-old"MissAmerica"contestantwho triesto act sexy andregalto appeardesirableyet respectable. It is a worry to me that in workplacesites where practicinggender is done-boardrooms. Schatzki. 1986. This term botheredthe editor Cecelia Ridgeway. (2) the social and/orculturalcontexts in which it is done.Gender & Society 4:139-58. WilliamT.I haveto considerthatI may produce(or stimulate)effects thatI hadhoped simply to "study.Organization8 (4): 723-50. or trainingprograms-we who observe may also contribute to this dynamicby ourpresence.KarinKnorrCetina. In psychology. ofjobs andopportunities. 2001. bodies: A theory of genderedorganizations. The proliferation Administrative Science Quarterly 31:561ofjob titles in organizations. andJamesN.In Thepractice turnin contemporary theory. Wherefeministtheorymeets feministpractice:Boracademicfeminist organization. Practiceas collective action.experiences.How they areperceived or interpreted may be somethingelse entirely. 2.and Eike Von Savigny. A reasonto use cautionin assumingintentionis thatobserversmay perceive individualsor groups as practicinggender even though the actors/practitioners have no such intention in mind.

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