Happy Friday!  This week on Sugar Walls, we take a look at one of the stereotypes of lesbians in today’s society.  Read on as the dashing M shares her investigative viewpoint. ~Ed.

M: Given the current economic turmoil, one does not need to look very far to find someone displeased with capitalism! Still, try to think of better times, say 1 year ago when your 401K (or 403b) was worth 40% more! Lesbians are often stereo-typed as non-profit do-gooders who hate money (and by extension, America) and this post aims to determine if there is any truth in that stereotype.
Since I am on the other end of the money-love spectrum, I was especially interested in finding out why so many of my lesbian friends seek jobs in non-profit when Corporate America pays so much better (Wal-mart and the like excluded, these are women working beyond entry-level positions).

First up is Jennifer, who up until recently worked full time for the SPCA, and would supplement her income with dog-sitting or dog-training stints. Typical animal-hugging bleeding heart, right? Well, no, actually! Jennifer has worked for a well-known chemicals lobbyist company, and whenever possible, does freelance proofreading work for as much money as possible! Seen a Zune ad? She probably proofed it. What keeps her from selling out entirely? She likes the flexibility in her current position. Still, she thinks her set of skills and social awkwardness does not fit most of corporate American jobs, so it would take a large sum of money to sway her to accept one. Jennifer does admit, however, to not having shaved her legs in weeks (so there is THAT stereotype). But she stresses she loves America and would not move to Europe if given the chance, not even Paris! In your face, Johnny Depp!

Next up is Brenda. Brenda is a vegetarian who went to an all-women’s college and is in grad school studying Sociology. Typical lesbian socialist-ivory-tower-elitist, right? Well, no! Why does she do this? Well, because she wants to teach sociology for a living. I asked why not teach nuclear physics, or something inane for corporate America? She concludes that sociology is what is interesting for her. She asked what I would do for a living if I got paid the same salary as I do now, I said I would play video games in my underwear, which I feel is a natural answer for most people. Her response? She would teach! Those elitists! Always trying to help others and make a difference! Using her mad sociology skills, we looked up some figures on the percentages of men and women who work for non-profits: 4% for men, and 8.4% for women. Women are twice as likely to work for a non-profit corporation than men, and it just so happens that lesbians are women 100% of the time, hmmm.

One of our resident BCP lesbians says:
“I hate working for The Man. I hate it so much that I quit my lucrative job over a year ago to start my own business. I did it also so that the glass ceiling wasn’t hovering over me 24-7 as a reminder that, as a woman *and* a lesbian, I would probably have a really tough time cracking it.  Starting your own business on the brink of a recession has been a challenge. All of that aside, I would love to work for a non-profit, but I have bills to pay! So I have tried to compromise by volunteering for a variety of causes, from breast cancer awareness to homelessness. Most of my free time is taken by working for various causes, which has been great because in addition to feeling like I can make a difference, it’s also been a great source to make connections and friendships with like minded folks.

Finally, we have a reformed commie-lesbian, Dominique, who is now working for The Man, but started out her career in non-profit. When asked about her original attraction to non-profit work, she states that at the time, she would rather “be making some kind of difference, as opposed to making some wheezing, golfer misogynist pig richer.” So true, so true. Still, Bill Gates make a HUGE difference, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per year. Of course, in this day and age, we can’t count on all of our CEOs doing the same sort of thing. When asked about why more women are attracted to non-profit work, she hypothesizes that it may be due to how women are raised: “If we are coming from the context of nature vs. nurture, I suppose it is taught to us all from an early age to make sacrifices for others, especially if the sacrifices lend a nice, martyr-like glow to your complexion. We’re not taught, necessarily, that fulfillment comes from the same places that boys or men are taught.”

There were some complaints about the culture of corporate America- especially regarding men- fitting in and glass ceilings. However, that was not the primary reason any of the interviewees considered non-profit work. So it seems like lesbian hearts bleed at the same speed as any other? What about you? Lesbian or not, why do you go to work everyday?

*Contributed by the dashing M*