Drawing on interview and diary data from 40 men in nursing in the US, the current study advances our theoretical understanding of how heteronormativity and masculinity intersect to shape men's performance of carework. Men in nursing are constrained by their accountability to stereotypes that they are gay and/or hypersexual, challenging their work in the feminized profession of nursing. As heteronormativity is embedded in the institution of health care, men nurses of all sexualities must perform additional labour on the job to reconcile their conflicting accountability to heteronormative stereotypes and occupational standards of care. We conceptualize this additional labour as heteronormative labour — work performed in order to strategically manage heteronormative expectations and realized through discursive, cognitive and emotional strategies. The experiences of men in caring professions remain rich for advancing theory on the relationship between sexuality and gender generally and in the workplace.
Gender, Work, & Organization