Saturday, April 10, 2010

Un-Natural Woman

I took my little robots into town where they really got the fellows gathered 'round and got into a conversation with a young man about the somewhat odd thing...well, maybe to him....about being a woman into 'nuts and bolts and robots' and, I guess, what unfortunately could be perceived as 'guy' stuff. (Cheezily pies, haven't we progressed past this YET!?) I told him I can use power tools too and said I thought the main reason women aren't 'into' those sorts of occupations is mainly due to a lack of understanding by females about what basically is just another tool like a sewing machine - let's say - and because women generally don't get the chance to use big power tools there is a 'fear' towards them; just like some guys are afraid of sewing machines, right? Because it's ignorance that manifests fear towards anything. You don't understand it, you don't like it.
Anyjeeperswhatalongsentenceway, this got me remembering a strange-ish time in my life when I was part of an experimental program called "Women In Alternate Trades".
(large resounding drums and trumpets)
Now you have to remember I'm the generation that was a part of changing the ways women lived and worked. It's easy to forget that not that long ago, women didn't get the choices they have today. I couldn't take drafting or woodwork in high school because back then those classes were segregated. (holy dinosaurs, man, I feel ancient!) To continue: when I was 27 I was in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, home of the Institute of Technical Trades (and something something that time has erased from the mind) I had been opted into a special program for unemployed women that was going to introduce them to alternate 'subjects', not usually geared towards those of the female persuasion (such as Auto Mechanics and Welding and Carpentry etc) The course was held at the above named institute and you must picture this fact >that this is the HUB of FARM boys and RED NECK attitudes ......and here we come, a group of 12 women ranging in age from me at 27 to our oldest member of 52. In a school of @ 500+ men - the only women at that time were perhaps about 20 architecture students.
The Boys were not happy.
To really add to the fun mix, we had our lockers in the really really male dominated part of the school, right by the heavy industrial section. Every morning we had to run the gauntlet of the boys and their comments. Which I don't think I need to elaborate on. Pretty much the usual idiocy.
So for 3 months I got to learn to weld (not a fav.), lay bricks (that was pretty lame), fix engines ( really ALL people need to know this!) build a shed with power tools (LOVED it!) and generally 'be a guy'...snort*! The instructors - who it must be said were older men - were either really pissed or really great (and this must be because they had daughters and were good Dads) All in all it was one of the more ,um, informative parts of my life. I still use what I learned back then.
Un-natural woman that I am.......
Painting is "Untitled" by Travis Louie and he is about the best pop surrealist today. Google him up!

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