October 20, 2016

Ask me Anything: Sexism in Tarot?

Hi, James! Love your posts - well most of 'em lol. I'm an amateur reader just about to start into business doing Tarot readings. It seems I'm quite talented by the feedback I've already received. I'm just wondering: as you're clearly another guy in a seemingly female dominated field, is there any advice you can give me starting out?
Howdy! I'm flattered that you reached out to me! And without giving too much away, good timing, too - just yesterday I did an interview with another Tarot blogger about men in Tarot and sexist assumptions that get made about intuition and how this impacts me as a professional. I'm really happy to participate in that interview - I'll post a link when it's published - but am also happy to share my views here. There's more that I said in the interview that's not being said here, so you'll have to check that out if you want the whole story!

In answer to your questions, the #1 advice I can give you is to be really good at what you do. This is so important that almost nothing else matters. Yes, there's a lot to be learned about marketing and connecting with clients, closing the sale, keeping track of money for tax time, professional presentation, and so on. But so much of that just won't matter if you're not good at what you do. 

That's cool that you're getting good feedback, but be aware that in this profession, the people who weren't impressed usually don't tell you so - they just let you assume that you were great and then go post reviews somewhere else or just tell their friends what they really thought. You've got to keep your ego in check, and never assume that you know best. This is a very easy trap to fall into, and even though I'm sure you're nodding your head and agreeing with me right now, I'm not completely sure you really understand. 

As far as being a man in a woman-dominated field, all I can say is that in terms of online work, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. If you're a good entertainer and are able to provide a powerful experience for your clients every time, then that's going to count for a whole lot more than whether you have a penis or a vagina. However, if you expect the bulk of your business to be in-person, then yes - your gender is going to be a challenge. The fact is, women prefer to get readings with women. This is so partly because women prefer to talk about their problems with women because - let's face it - there are some problems that are unique to life as a woman (sexual harassment, for example.) 

But it's also because getting a Tarot reading can feel for the woman like the reader is stripping her naked. No woman wants to feel naked and exposed in front of a strange man, so if you're going to be doing readings primarily in-person, then you've got to be aware of your body language, the way your speak, and you overall demeanor because women are often intimidated by men - especially when the man (such as a Tarot reader) has all the power in an exchange. 

This is less important in online business because there's a digital divide between the two of you, but it's still important to think about what you say and how you're saying it, because if you're not careful you can fall into the trap of accidentally blaming the woman for her problems or making her feel guilty - and that's an absolute dead-end in any conversation with any woman.