Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gender studies

A conversation I had with one of the volunteers at Toronto Animal Services:

Me: Why do you think there are so many women who volunteer here and so few guys?

Her: Is this a pick up line?

Me: No, does it seem like a pick up line?

Her: Well, if it is, it's pretty lame.

Me: If it is, it is pretty lame.

Her: It's not exciting enough.

Me: Really, it's not a pick up line.

Her: No, I'm answering your question.

Me: Oh, right.

Her: Guys would rather do something more exciting, like, I don't know, go on marches, push over mail boxes, riot, you know, stuff like that.

Me: Sure.

Her: I used to know this guy, well actually he was my ex so I knew him pretty well, but he'd go on these marches and get all worked up about it. It was like he was going to a battle. He was like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

Me: Wow. Did you love him for that?

Her: He thought he was like Mel Gibson. I thought he was more like Joe Pesci.

Me: That's quite the discrepancy.

Her: Yes, we often disagreed on the details.

Almost everyone I've met who does dog rescue is a woman. Other than James at TAS, usually the only time I see a guy get involved with a rescue is when he's getting rid of his dog.

This is weirdly lobsided because I know it's not that guys don't care about dogs. At the dog park I go to regularly, the majority of people who bring their dogs are guys. Maybe it's because the park I go to is in a brrr scary part of town but as a rough guess I'd say the ratio is 2:1 men to women. In the dog rescue world, though, it seems like the ratio is 99:1 women to men. Now I'm not complaining about that, of course. I get more than enough spraying testosterone every day at work. But, having grown up in a time when equality of the sexes was encouraged and even expected, it seems so blatantly stereotypical in the dog rescue world that women are the compassionate ones whereas the men are what? I'm not sure. They're just not around.

So, here's my theory. Women care about dogs in general whereas guys mostly only care about a particular dog - their own. Perhaps women see dogs more as companions and obviously the more companions the better. The man views the dog as something he owns so that if it's his then he needs to take care of it, keep it shiny, show it off but if it's not his then taking care of it is none of his business.

Yeah, maybe I'm screwed up but shizz like this keeps me up nights.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Only too true. Dog rescue is not exciting enough for guys. They'd rather be crashing boats into whaling ships and whatnot.