On being “Cute”, and Women in Automotives
Have I mentioned that I am short? Like really short.
Not “petite clothing” short. No, much worse than that.
I am kids clothing short….. say, 4’11 on a good day. A really good day.
I am what I call, “Kid-sized”. Size zero clothing is for when I am a little higher on the weight scale (say, 110 lbs). Once I get lower, I end up in kids clothing. I can sit in kids chairs. I am tiny. I am not slight-framed, as I am of Irish stock, but make no mistake that if you need someone to fit into a tight spot, I’m your gal.
Anyway, I have issues, let’s say, with people calling me “cute”. And people do it all.the.time. Really. They tell Sasquatch, “Your girlfriend is so cute!” They even tell me to my face. The problem is, I really don’t want to be cute. I want to be seen as responsible, professional, competent. Maybe even sexy. But cute? Please, please! (I have decided that “darling” is acceptable.) I am not a puppy.
I have many incidents where cuteness comes and bites me on the butt. For example, there was my Sears incident. My boyfriend and I were looking at Craftsman tool cabinets online, comparing the price and quality to Snap-On cases. We also looked at the costs of mechanic tool sets. Since we are both going to school for Automotive Technology, we need to get the best bang for our buck. Which probably means going to Sears for more of our tools. So, we were looking at tools when one of the sales associates yells at me across the floor, “Hey! I have a tool case for you!” I look over to see him assembling some crappy bright pink case. It might have been Craftsman for all I knew, but I really wasn’t in the mood for it. I did roll my eyes at him. It’s not that I don’t mind pink. It’s more that there’s an assumption that because I’m a girl, I might only want something pink. Or what else bothers me – that women don’t deserve high-quality work gear. Why are women’s jeans of such inferior quality, with lycra and what-not instead of real denim? Why doesn’t Carhartt make a little girl’s jacket that is more like the boy’s? Why aren’t there women’s “work gloves” that are more than overpriced gardening gloves? Which brings me to one of the reasons why I am here, writing this blog, and why I call it “Redhead Rosie” instead of “vintage style” or something like that:
1. There isn’t really anyone reviewing women’s work gear, or really creating high-quality products advertised toward women. Women just aren’t a market audience, and no one cares.
What frustrates me is when men act shocked that a woman might actually be interested in wood working, mechanics, or anything else manual. I am a visual and tactile learner, and so for me, I enjoy hands-on projects. I love things that are practical (like sewing and gardening and cooking from scratch), and so for me, learning woodworking, welding, or cars is just an extension of my “do it yourself” attitude. The problem is, most women were never given the opportunity to participate in the traditionally male hobbies, and have never even considered that it might be a viable career path for them. My dad is about the least handy person on the planet, and so I never knew what it was like to grow up with a parent that could fix anything. I am only now discovering how interesting it all is with my handy boyfriend, who seems to know a little bit about everything.
For most women, the gap in basic mechanical knowledge (between women and men) is so vast that women are naturally uninterested or oblivious…simply because they don’t know. It’s like saying men are destined to be bad at parenting because they don’t know what a onesie is. Yet how many men surpass their wives in the nurturing field, simply because, once they learned the basics, their natural skills took over?
It’s the same thing with hands-on jobs and hobbies, in my opinion.
Part of my desire to start this blog is to share with women the basics of all things practical, like basic auto mechanics and woodworking and other things I learn as I go. Stuff I wish I had learned growing up. Especially the auto mechanics. There is nearly nothing out there about female auto mechanics. The pickings are very, very slim. Which is why I am going to post every Thursday either about my experiences as an automotive tech student/worker, about automotive mechanics, or about other things relating to cars or other handy things. I feel that women need to learn the basics, so they not only avoid being taken advantage of, but also so they can prove that women are just as capable of learning to turn a wrench as anyone else.
I want you to try something. Do a search in your favorite search engine for “female auto tech”, “female mechanic”, “female automotives”, “woman mechanic”, etc.
If you find more than a handful of articles on women in the automotive field, kudos to you. But I bet you’ll find the same five or so I did.Which brings me to the second part of why I am here:
2. There is no strong presence talking about women in automotives as mechanics, and which also describes the difficulties faced in dealing with negative feedback, going to school, getting a job, finding gear that fits, etc.
I am here, basically, to fill that gap. I want to inspire women to do something more and branch out. No, everyone who reads my blog is not going to become a mechanic. But if I teach one person how to change her oil, or encourage one reader to try something new or out of his/her comfort zone, I will be very happy, and all the work I have put into this blog, videos, interviews, etc will be worth it for me.
Because at the end of the day, do you know what?
You can do it!