If you’re not yet aware, I’m no university graduate. Congrats if that’s what you’re into but I’m not at this point in my life. I oppose our culture pushing kids towards uni as a base instead of exploring all avenues. My school pushed me towards uni because the more kids that went to university, the more it bumped up their overall ‘rating’. So I went, lasted 6 months and decided I didn’t like it.
Instead I chose to study something that interested me and it just happened to be at TAFE (tertiary education). It has nothing to do with lack of intelligence (as stereotypes seem to say), but everything to do with enjoyment. Learning something you truly enjoy is fun but learning something and getting paid to do it as a job everyday? Even better.
I won’t completely deny the idea of university, I could very well find something I enjoy there later in life. As of now however, I’ve now got two trades (Horticulture and Natural Area Restoration) and I would like another (Plumbing – Simply because the plumbers I’ve dealt with are overpriced and treat me like an idiot, I figure I can cut out the middle man 😛 ).
Anyway, as you all know by now I’m into renovating houses. I own a unit in Sydney which I renovated (with an assistant aka my mum haha!) and am now renovating a farm (house, gardens, fencing) with my folks. I’m going to be doing another one with the bf once this one is finished up 🙂 I like to think I’ve become quite the handy woman and tradeswoman but I’ve come across a lot of scrutiny and judgement based on my gender/age/size. And not even through work, sometimes it’s when lifting a bag of potting mix at the nursery!
Here’s some common judgements I’ve had:
*Assuming I’m not strong (I can lift over half my weight – 35-40kg and I weigh 58kg)
*Comments like ‘aww did you break a nail?’ (I always have short nails)
*Being told I’ll have to work like ‘one of the boys’ (I’ve seen boys who don’t work well)
*Being called a ‘dumb blonde’ (I’ve never been blonde, I’m not dumb and there are plenty of intelligent blondes around)
*Assuming I don’t know how to lift something properly (I’ve actually done a manual handling course and do a stretching/yoga session most mornings)
*Assuming I don’t know much about safety (I was in a OH&S committee with a government organisation for 2 years and completed a 4 day OH&S course)
*Not listening to suggestions to improve efficiency (Fresh eyes is a good thing, especially to a company that is stuck in the dark ages)
*Assuming I don’t understand how something works (I was told why it would cost so much for plumbing work once, I offered a suggestion which would mean I could do it myself and get parts from a local hardware store making it hundreds of dollars cheaper. His response “umm yeah, well that’s another option”. Fuck you plumber!)
And then there’s the reminder that you’re a girl when you’re working on a farm and the rest of the workers are men who casually pee into the bushes. Lucky I have a big bladder. Although I did walk back to the shed once and one guy yelled out “just pee in the bushes! Its quicker!” Ummm no. I’m not a fricken animal. This is a workplace.
Anyway let me get to my point:
There’s absolutely no reason why owning a dick makes you any more handy and frankly, I’m all about breaking stereotypes. So if like my mum, you think ‘having calloused hands doesn’t make you feel womanly’ well I am totally a woman with calloused hands. I’m not a big butch woman who can beat a man in a hand wrestle, I’m just a girl who can do tasks that predominately men do. I don’t need fake nails, makeup, high heels and an ‘oh that’s a mans job!’ attitude to feel womanly. Its not the 1950’s. I totally admit that I’m a tomboy at heart but that doesn’t mean that I’m condemned from feeling ‘womanly’.
Girls, don’t let society hold you back from what you want to do. Don’t think you can’t do something because ‘its a man’s job’. That’s bullshit. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Get that spider out of the house, get acquainted with a drill, don’t rely on a man to do something for you, in fact, if he knows what he’s doing, get him to teach you how to do it. If not, YouTube is totally your friend – there’s a walkthrough on how to do just about anything. That’s how I learnt to grout tiles (my first big ‘diy’ project) and my god, its the easiest thing in the world! And bonus – I saved money because I didn’t have to pay a tiler to do it! 😀
If you want an occupation change and want to enter a male-dominated field, do it! The more of us girls that get out there and show them we can do it, the less of a stereotype we’ll get. You may find it a little hard to be a dick model but most other things are fair game 😛 If you need more convincing, it turns out women can earn more in a male-dominated field!
Here’s some inspiring women:
Guys, don’t feel that entering a female-dominated industry makes you any less of a man. I saw a newspaper article with a tattooed burly bloke with a beard who was a pastry chef. He makes glorious looking pink velvet cakes (which hopefully he hasn’t dropped any beard hairs into! Lol) and he is as manly as they get. And I’m so intrigued by him that if I had a choice of going to his cake shop and an old ladies cake shop, I’d totally go to his.
Here’s some inspiring men:
I want to hear a woman pilot’s voice telling me when I’ll be arriving at my destination. FYI it’s one of the most gender skewed of all occupations at 97% male 3% female, check out this story. I want to have a male nurse checking up on me in hospital. I want to have a woman bricklayer building my walls. I’m not entirely sure if I want a man giving me a Brazilian wax, but for the sake of gender quality, go for it!
I don’t want kids pushed into certain occupations because they feel uneasy about gender equality, we should base it on our passion instead.