DISCLAIMER: I am not a woman. I identify as non-binary/gender-fluid and I use they/them pronouns. In this article I use the terms “man” and “woman” as we know them in a patriarchal society, however gender is a spectrum and different from sex.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see a van. (I have been toying with the idea of getting myself a van for solo adventures for a while.) The person who was selling it presented as a woman. As she was showing it to me, I asked her how many watts the solar panel was. She immediately switched her tone from relaxed to defensive, and replied, I don’t know because I’m a woman and I’m stupid.
Please don’t say that, I wanted to say. Instead, I said nothing.
She proceeded to tell me that the reason why she was selling the van was because she wanted to buy something bigger; she wanted to sell her apartment and buy a bus and live and work from it while travelling the country.
Sounds like something a stupid person wouldn’t do, I mastered up the courage to say. In fact, it sounds pretty badass to me.
I thought this person was cool. I think women are cool. I think all my female friends are so fucking cool. I don’t think any of them is stupid or couldn’t learn how a solar panel works or wouldn’t drive around in a van and go on adventures (in fact, most of them do).
I’m also sad that this woman, well into her 50s, believes that she’s not allowed to know anything about voltage just because she was born with a vagina.
It’s funny because I feel the most feminine when I’m doing jobs that are stereotypically for men: unblocking a drain, removing mould, drilling a shelf into a wall. I find it incredibly empowering when I manage to accomplish a task that according to society would require help from a man.
As a kid, my favourite thing to do was building things out of wood. For my 8th birthday my dad gifted me a carpenter tool belt. I loved sawing and nailing planks together. I also enjoyed taking objects apart to learn how they work. I was intrigued with electronics like walkie talkies and I would play around with wires and lights.
I’ve lost my handiness over the years and now I definitely enjoy spending my time reading…