PHOTO | AMY SHORE
In my house, I am the designated spider-catcher. I use both the left and right side of my brain. I fix broken things. I also sew, bake, clean, paint, and listen to both Betty Davis (the funk-goddess ex-wife of Miles Davis, not that she should need an introduction) and the Dead Kennedys.
I have recently developed an interest in learning to weld, and yet I am regularly reminded that building on skills that are traditionally ‘men’s work’ is unusual for a lady. Case in point: yesterday my best friend’s grandfather was SUPER impressed that I rebuilt my bike engine. A girl! Oh my! Comments are usually posed that way – amazement that something was even possible to achieve; not just unusual that I had an interest in it to begin with.. My friend yelled at him. I was SUPER proud of her in that moment. She, too, has multiple skill sets and is generally badass.
An image of an alternator made the rounds on Facebook, soliciting viewers to ‘ask their girl what it was’. Responses ranged from ‘carburettor?’ to ‘what I’m going to shred your junk with if this is one of those shared-meme things’. One of the responses resonated though - it dared people to teach their daughters/wives/nieces/sisters about machines so they wouldn’t end up embarrassed on social media. I’d go one step further: teach them because they can learn. Or women: get out there and learn it yourself. You have two hands and a brain (I assume). You don’t need any special validation (or men in your life) to do this.
Don’t congratulate me on my rebuild because I am a girl. Congratulate me because you’ve done one before and you know how painful cleaning gasket surfaces are and you paid someone else to do it the last time because you’re a lazy sod. I will fight you (like a girl) for my right to be considered competent.
Why is it that the general populace doesn’t seem to celebrate well-roundedness? Renaissance men and women still exist in the world. People who don’t give two stuffs about who won the latest Big Brother’s Kitchen Renovation Rules; who make things rather than just consuming them. Women proud to be called clever, funny, thoughtful, or brave before they are called pretty. If you are sick of disposable news/opinions/shows/objects, raise your standards. Instead of watching the latest Netflix offering, choose to read about what piques your interest and learn from those who know more than you. Develop skills not ad statistics.
And expect more from your women. Not necessarily so we can become entirely self-sufficient man-haters, or because we must do everything ourselves, but rather that (in most cases) we could if we really wanted to, whether you think it’s possible or not.
Jo is a buxom redhead looking for adventure. She loves her motor children equally, and if you ask really nicely, she might let you take them for a spin. Easily distractible, but also easily obsessed, she is our Editor-in-Chief, resident proof-reader, and zany ideas lady. Caffeine is her fuel of choice.