Philippe Charrier, ” men midwives. To the effect of segmentation ? “, Sociologies contemporaines, 2007
Discuss the masculinisation of midwifery is to ask if this trade, dramatically marked by his character, female, can be declined in the masculine without to be profoundly changed ? The article of Philippe Charrier discusses the integration of men in women midwives and their conception of professional practice. The extent to which men are they led to adopt a profile differing from that of women, to overcome the barrier of empathy gender of the patient, not being able to experience the situation of a pregnant woman ?
The weakness of the male presence in the midwives suggests the existence of a particular type of men. Their originality, professional is responding to a specific social or a track of individual ? These men have profiles that are identical or, on the contrary, is the chance of the training that would lead them to engage in this activity ? It is tempting to make the assumption that men midwife are focused in this career, after having been away from a medical career ” failed “. There would be a segment of the majority of practitioners driven by a vocation and parallel to the practitioners of minority motivated by revenge on the destiny. The male midwife are derived classes rather modest, employees or skilled workers, in some cases of PCS are superior, but are, in general, in a dynamic of upward social mobility and professional compared to their parents, they are characterized by their youth. The average age is slightly more than 33 years. The interviews show that the profession of midwifery is not part of the professional aspirations first, the professional choice is referred to as a trial and error process, more than a project determined in advance.
Philippe Charrier is interested in the professional background of these practitioners. What are their relations with the wise-woman ” woman “, and with parturients ? Do they make choices that characterised their counterparts women ? Indeed, the support function of the pregnant woman is a task which falls traditionally to the woman. Apart from a few inflections, there is currently no profile of activity specific to men. On the contrary, they are involved in the entire scope of the activity of the midwife. Puerperium and nursing care, the hierarchy of tasks performed is very close. Men and women agree on what makes the “core” of the profession, namely the delivery and repair of episiotomy, which often accompanies it), but differentiate on other acts, including the consultations that seem to be most important in the work of women. More unexpected is the place that held the suites of layers in the exercise of these men compared to women (ranked 3rd for practitioners from the 6th to the professional set). It is interesting to see that this task is not rejected, when it is known that these suites of layers correspond to a situation where the mother must regain possession of her privacy. Finally, the men attach less to the preparation for birth.
The question of the name sums up the ambiguity of the positioning of professional men : namely, the peculiarity of work in a trade named by a sex different from his own. The issue of professional integration of the wise men and women is symbolized by this term, which amounts to asking about the way in which they adapt to this otherness. Be named is not trivial ; it is a form of categorization that reveals a real personal attachment. So how men can they accept to be called ” wise-woman “? Because, it appears that men do not choose to differentiate themselves from their female colleagues. They are not seeking another term, which can be explained by the desire not to be distinguished from the rest of the professional group.
The wise men-women highlight the official status of the profession, a “medical profession to skill set” as it is often equated to a profession paramedic. The reference to gender is no longer ” the ” basis of professional competence, as it could be in the past. Three solutions are being implemented by the wise men-women in order to overcome this skill kind. First, men are outside the argument of incompetence of genre by challenging indirectly the determination sexual of these tasks, and reconfiguring the relationship practitioner/obstetric patients. Some are explicit on this point ; they are endorsing and demanding task of listening to the mother without passing judgment or making a position transfer.
Secondly, some are sidestepping the issue by complying with the classical model of the therapeutic relationship, and medical (Freidson, 1984). These are not two people marked by their gender who enter into a relationship, but a woman who expects a service from a professional. It is at a distance, so that the tradition of maieutics imply a near type.
The third solution is to emphasize the strangeness of being a man in this profession turns into an advantage : it requires one to define rules relational which make more visible the action professional. All the wise men-women interviewed declared that they must establish a relationship clear and explicit with the woman, nothing from itself, because it is not expected to be accompanied by a man. According to them, they are taking advantage of it with an increase of confidence, but also a positive confirmation of their professional action.