Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I might have just pissed myself off...

Okay, I added another label. And I can't decide if I have annoyed myself.

Male EFM.

I did it because so many assume (wrongly) that all EFMs are women. It seems to be a complaint of male EFMs that the assumption continues to be made in training, even when there are clearly male EFMs in the classes...

I don't think the issues facing male EFMs are different from female EFMs in reality (do I want a job/career, do I want to be a stay at home parent, what opportunities can I create for myself at post). But perhaps the perception is different.

I think more and more, women are joining the foreign service and men are the "trailing spouses" (what an obnoxious term). So I thought labeling the EFM blogs I knew to be male EFMs as such would let folks know there are more than they realize.

But if feels sexist...so I am annoying myself.

21 comments:

A Daring Adventure said...

Oh, no! Oh, dear.

I - see what you're saying. But I - see it differently.

I think, with labeling, that you're helping people who are using your sidebars as a "FS Blog Search Tool" to connect easier with the folks they have the most in common with.

Showing that a blog has a male EFM will make it all the easier for those who are hoping to find such blogs! I think you're making it easier for people to find each other, and I also have put on my own sidebars when there's a "trailing" dude EFM. I don't think it's sexist. I think it's helpful.

David L. said...

I don't think it is sexist, and I agree, "trailing spouse" ranks among the worst terms ever assigned another person...right up there with LES (locally employed staff).

toph said...

I understand. Maybe just mark them with an asterisk following them. That way it is extra information instead of a different class.

Stephanie said...

Hmmm, do we assume all FSO blogs are written by men? I don't think so. I don't get a good feeling from EFM blogs being labeled male/female unless all of the blogs are going to be.

Digger said...

You know Stephanie, I think lots of folks assume all FSO blogs are male...maybe I should label that too (my god, what am I saying??) I mean, no matter how many times I say that I am a lesbian, people still assume I am male because I am an FSO and blogger (many assume ALL bloggers are male).

David, I agree...I liked FSN (I still use it) because they are part of the FS community and LES seems like LESS.

And thanks, K, you always make me feel better!

Bfiles said...

I'm with Stephanie. And you're not even talking about labeling ALL the EFM blogs, but only the male ones, which reinforces the stereotype that all FSOs are male.

Valdysses said...

Don't feel bad. Male EFMs are in the minority, but I don't think it does anyone any good to pretend that the minority isn't unique for the sake of equality.

For what it's worth, I never mistook you for a man, but I definitely mistook EF'M for his wife. Some stereotypes die harder than others.

Amy said...

I agree with the points made....but I also think that it's helpful (as a female FSO with a future male partner) to know what's what. I suggest a label of "EFM-f" vs. "EFM-m". That way they're all labeled...but one's not normative.

J and C said...

Hey hey -
I like eligible family male. just my $0.02

BTW - I love the blog. If you wish, please link add my blog to your list:

http://rhymeswithicenogle.blogspot.com/
Cheers, and best of luck!

Laila said...

I totally see how it's sexist and annoying, but as an incoming FSO female with a male MOH it's nice to have some male EFM blogs noted. Not to distinguish them from the women or to reinforce the stereotype that all FSOs are men, but as a nice starting point to find guys in the horribly termed "trailing spouse" role. There definitely still is a perception out there about male EFMs, and we're looking forward to connecting with other couples who are "bucking tradition." Maybe I'll realize we aren't as much in the minority as I think, but from outside the FS it seems that way. That was my long-winded way of saying thanks for the label!

Rob Pugh said...

As a soon to be trailing spouse - and I've no problem with that term, in fact - making note that there are disparities in gender breakdowns, that some things simply aren't as common but are happening more frequently... I think if anything, that promotes more awareness and understanding of changing gender roles, etc. So, yeah actually, the opposite of sexist.

More information is good, labels are incidental and ultimately meaningless, but provide a worthwhile jumping off point. I wouldn't get too hung up on it.

Brooke said...

I say, label away.

Connie said...

While I think "trailing spouse" is an unfortunate term, it beats the heck out of 'dependent'. My husband and I were tandem military for many years and I don't know how many times (when out of uniform) somebody would automatically assume that I was the civilian spouse "You're the dependent, right honey?" ... WRONG honey! When we started our civilian careers it annoyed me that my husband was always assumed to be the primary career person (hello? same rank, same job) and it annoyed him that I was always the primary 'owner' of the kids. I assume that's a common issue with tandems anywhere, not just FS. Anyway, I don't mind being a trailing spouse - in a way, I like the implied separation of purpose. He is the employee, I am the SAHM, deal with us accordingly. It has greatly reduced the number of errors caused by those who assumed 'tandem' meant that we shared the same brain, or that our wedding rings provide some sort of instantaneous mental data transferal.

Ryan Locke said...

One time I was called a "tag-a-long spouse" by a retired male FSO. After that, "trailing spouse" seems a little more refined.

Bret said...

As a male EFM who is actually still just an MOH, I value the extra tag in order to seek out like minded idiots like myself. We also prefer FSN, technically, although I'm American, as a MOH, I'm an LES.

AKB said...

I have noticed the male EFM assumption too. I have no EFM, but it does make me as an FSO feel like I am part of a men's club ;-)

I think it is helpful to differentiate between male EFM blogs-- whenever I come across a male trailing spouse, I am always curious to know how they made it work!

Stephanie said...

Digger, if most people do assume that FSO blogs are written by men, then I think that reinforces the point that they should be sorted out or labeled as male/female in some way, if the EFM blogs are going to be. Female FSOs or potential FSOs may want a quick reference for other like-minded women.

(For some reason, I assume most blogs are written by women, regardless of the topic. I have no rational basis for it, I just do.)

And I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here so don't take it too seriously. I really don't care for "EFM," or any of the terms that are used to describe those of us who love our partners (officers and specialists) and chose to live with them overseas, regardless of who's a man and who's a woman.

David L. said...

"For what it's worth, I never mistook you for a man, but I definitely mistook EF'M for his wife. Some stereotypes die harder than others."

My feelings are hurt...a little...well, not really at all.

Digger said...

With regards to FSOs, I think the assumption is not that all FSOs are male but that all married FSOs are male. Nevertheless, I have labeled some (all?) of the FSO blogs that are written by women as female FSO.

Shannon said...

I hope you are not still pissed, I am catching up on my blog reading after a week of vacation so I am late weighing in. I like the male/female designation. I found the fs-blog-o-sphere while desperately trying to get a handle on what exactly my husband had gotten us into.

One more little item, cyberbones is a FSS/EFM blog. My husband is a specialist (IMS) people tend to assume everyone overseas is in fact a FSO but there are a lot of specialists that make the embassy run. I want to see those FSO's send a cable without my husband and crew doing their jobs.

Digger said...

Shannon, I fixed that. I knew there would be lots of errors when I labeled, so I was counting on folks to correct me.

And believe me, I definitely do NOT discount the work of Specialists overseas! And there are several other FSS blogs on my roll...I just missed that one.