I am a healthcare worker, a mechanic, and a writer. Aside from the crappy retail jobs we all had in high school, I have only ever worked as a healthcare employee and a writer. Even though I’m qualified for it, no one would dare to hire me as a mechanic around here. Why? Because I’m a woman.
I got a small mechanics certification when I was still in high school. It’s nothing fancy. I’m not certified in anything overly special. No body work training, no electrical training, and I didn’t hone in on any kind of specialty. I just have a basic mechanics license. I’m qualified to change tires, change oil, perform motor swaps; just the basics. But I am certified, nonetheless. I didn’t pursue a certification in the hopes for a job necessarily; I pursued it because I love cars. I love everything about them. An old car is home to me. I own two Mustangs, one of which I drag race every weekend. My hopes were to further my education for myself. I wanted to be self-sufficient, and I damn sure wasn’t going to ask a man to fix my car.
With that being said, damn good thing I wasn’t looking to build a career on my certification, because it wasn’t going to happen for me. I live in a small town. The major consensus around here is, men should work—and a big, burly, manly job at that. Like a factory or a farm or a mechanic.
Women are supposed to stay home with all the little babies. If it turns out that momma just has to get a job, it’s expected to be something girly. She should be a nurse, or a secretary. She should snag a little part-time teacher’s aide job at the local school, or if she just wants something to occupy her time, she should find a couple of houses to clean once or twice a week. After all, idle hands are the devil’s playground, right? Wouldn’t want momma getting too much time on her hands to think and shit.
“I wound up with a degree in healthcare, a career choice that I absolutely despised, because I knew that mechanic certification wasn’t going to get me anywhere.”
Around here, and in a lot of the smaller places all over the country, those roles in society don’t interchange. If you happen to live in LA or New York, chances are a male nurse or a female pipe fitter won’t receive quite so much scrutiny. But here in Small Town, USA, God and Donald Trump says ain’t no woman s’pose to be workin’ no man’s job. The problem is, Small Town has the most problems.
Generally speaking, it’s tiny little towns like mine (mostly located in the South) that have the highest rates of under/unemployment. We have some of the highest rates of government assistance in the country. We also have some of the highest poverty rates around. Yet, we don’t want to let you have a certain job, solely based on the fact that you’ve got a vagina. And heaven forbid you pursue a “feminine” job if you’ve got a penis in there somewhere. A friend of mine, who happens to be a male, has a free ride to college just waiting on him to accept it. He wants to pursue nursing, but he won’t. He won’t, because he knows what he’ll face. He knows the scrutiny, and side-eyes he’ll get. And he knows that he stands a snowball’s chance in hell on getting a job unless he’s willing to travel— a lot.
None of this makes a damn bit of sense. We have people that need jobs. We have people that are qualified for, or good at the jobs. But they can’t have the job based off of the business in their pants. It doesn’t matter if I have more qualifications than Jim Bob Smith. When we both go after that help wanted sign in the local garage, he will get it, and not me; because he is a man. He has a dick, and dicks come naturally hardwired with a mechanical inclination. So what if I have a license, while he only has the last three years working on go-karts in his daddy’s back yard? He’s a man.
My friend would face the same problem were he to walk into the local hospital looking for a nursing job up against me. We could have the same qualifications. Hell, he could be more qualified than me. But in the same way as the penis, a vagina comes pre-installed with a caring nature, compassion, and understanding. I’m a woman, so I’m better fit to care for someone. I’m supposed to be maternal. It’s in my DNA, so obviously I would be a better fit for the job; to hell with the fine details.
These are the same folks that rallied around Trump because he was gonna create all the jobs. These are the same people that complain about the job market being in the shitter. These are the same people that loathe free healthcare and food stamps. These are the very same people who RECEIVE free healthcare and food stamps, because they can’t get a damn job. The fact of the matter is, while the job market is mostly in the toilet, there are some jobs still there. Certain people just aren’t allowed to work them.
I only tried for a couple of mechanic jobs out of high school. I didn’t hold my breath. I knew better. Fortunately, I give zero fucks what anyone thinks about me or my cars, so I can still put that little certification of mine to use for my damn self. But that’s not the case with most people around here. If we really want to make a career with that expensive ass education, we have to choose wisely. Instead of my friend being able to say “I want to be a nurse”, he has to consider if he’d ever even get a job and be able to support his family. I wound up with a degree in healthcare, a career choice that I absolutely despised, because I knew that mechanic certification wasn’t going to get me anywhere.
That popular saying, “You can be whatever you want to be” is a crock of shit. More like, “You can get a really expensive education in whatever you want to be, but unless it fits the bill of your gender, you can’t actually be that.”
So how about instead of sitting around whining about the fact that there aren’t any jobs, we start giving those jobs to people that deserve them. How about, instead of telling people they can “be whatever they want to be, but….” we start actually just letting them be what they want to be. How about we stop worrying about what kind of genitals are in someone’s pants and start giving the damn jobs to the people that are qualified to do them. You can’t complain about the job market or the fact that you just can’t find good help these days, while simultaneously cherry-picking someone’s vagina.
I am a woman. I am a damn good mechanic. I am probably more qualified to work on your car than most of the men you know. Most likely, I can outdrive them as well. If that happens to hurt someone’s fragile, little man pride – I’m not even a little bit sorry.
Support Andrea’s writing on our site by subscribing to our newsletter on this link, Subscribe here!
Andrea is a freelance writer based out of Kentucky. She is the mother to a 3 year old little girl and step-mother to a 6 year old boy. She’s been married to her husband and best friend for 5 years. She enjoys fishing, camping, hiking and the occasional glass of wine by a bonfire.