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Saturday, April 5, 2008

A girl in a boy's world

Feminists like to talk a lot about how women are exactly equal to men, and should be equal to them in every profession, even the "manly" ones.

Well, AG Clifton from Twelve Pounds of Fury has a perspective on what that's really like that's pretty refreshing:
The LAPD is in the process of training its first female SWAT team member and I am hearing the predictable gnashing of teeth and rending of garments because the selection process has been changed. I agree. Ladies who want to pursue that line of work should be held to the same physical standards as the men. If my house were on fire I would much rather have burly 26-year-old men come put it out. For instance. But in spite of the fact that standards have been altered, (some say lowered, I wouldn't know) resulting in two women becoming part of the newest SWAT class, maybe we could give the ladies the benefit of the doubt until we see what they can do.

For ten years I was a welder and bridge carpenter for the Piledrivers union. That is some serious hard work. A large part of the job consisted of packing lumber. Sixteen-foot-long 2X4s. You were expected to carry at least two at a time, and trot with them. Or singlehandedly lift and carry 4X8 sheets of 3/8 inch plywood. All day. Or 50lb. sacks of grout, or 98lb sacks of cement. You get the picture. There were jackhammers and bottle racks and welding machinery to be operated and moved. Nothing was small and nothing was light. A lot of men couldn't hack it. To be female and do that work you have to be one motivated chimp. And I was. I'm also gigantic, but I still had to prove on every job that I was up to the work.

I preferred the men I worked with to the other women. The guys on my crews were pretty easy to please; they just didn't want to feel like they had to do all their job and half of mine. As soon as I demonstrated I was as strong as they were (or stronger -- heh, heh.) I was all right with them. There were only very few times I may have caused an existential crisis in some caveman. "If she's doing the same work as me, does that mean I'm not actually a man?" No, honey. That's not why. The male engineers were a hoot. We'd swap puns while the tradesmen would glower at us.

Female engineers were ... different. I got the distinct vibe off them that they thought I was low-wattage or I wouldn't be out here getting dirty and beat up. I have an engineer joke: What's the difference between Mechanical engineers and Civil engineers? Mechanical engineers design weapons and Civil engineers design targets. I didn't say it was a great joke. I do the setup with a male engineer and get to the punch OK. I do the same with a female engineer and she very patiently explains to me the difference. Oy. My 'sister' tradesmen were a problem, too. They were very happy with affirmative action and demanded they only be given the easiest work. I would usually get partnered up with them and spend a lyrical eight hours doing all the literal grunt work while getting a full dose of feminist rhetoric. The next time you drive by a construction site and there's a lady flagging traffic she's probably a journeyman carpenter making $35 an hour while a $15 apprentice is busting ass doing her job.

Make sure you read the whole thing, it's really interesting.

What strikes me is how feminists want women to be able to join fire departments and police forces and construction crews, etc., without having to meet the same requirements men do. It's just another form of affirmative action, isn't it?

I'm all for women in men's jobs -- if they can do it. Two big thumbs up to this obviously bad-ass chick for being so tough. So many feminists seem to not realize that there reasons there are certain rules and regulations when it comes to training for physically demanding and dangerous jobs. It isn't to keep women down; it's to ensure the safety of those in that profession! So, if a woman can make it through the same training as any other person wanting to be a welder, or a member of the SWAT team, or a firefighter, or whatever, then more power to her.

If not, back off, lady.


Callahan said...

lose weight, pig!

Baz said...

I don't know anyone, liberal or otherwise, who advocates unqualified people taking jobs anywhere. Absolutely, if they can't do the work, they should get out of the kitchen.
There are unqualified people everywhere in every profession, and it's got nothing to do with liberalism or feminism. Um, where's the boss in all this? Why isn't the boss firing these unqualified people?
Do you believe women should get equal pay for equal work?
Do you think a woman's life choices are her own and no one else's? (Of course, where family choices are involved, negotiation and compromise with the other members is necessary, of course).
Do you think women should be allowed to do any work for which they're qualified?
As for feminism, I think you're confused about what feminism is.
Do you think education is just as important for women as it is for men?
Do you think women deserve the same respect and freedom from gender-based humiliation that men receive?
Do you think women are allowed to make the same life-choices for themselves (within the law) that men are?
If you answered "yes" to those questions, then I hate to break it to you, but you're a feminist.

Teresa Willis, Missouri Women In Trades said...

You make a reference to a requirements being changed - often those requirements that are changed are ones that are found to be discrimnatory because they have nothing to do with job demands and everything to do with keeping certain groups out. Affirmative action has never meant giving an unqualified person a job, it has only meant opening opportunities for people who have excluded based on discrimnatory practices, see above. Certainly not all women want to be or are capable of being fire fighters or construction workers, but then again neither are all men. Teresa Willis