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women and tools.....

updated tue 31 oct 00


Terry Sullivan on mon 30 oct 00

Joyce's comments, and the ones that engendered them, bare more of the inbred
bias in our culture,
that either by conditioning and/or genetics, or whatever, the men are far
more capable with tools and building things then the women, than most would
like to admit or inspect. (maybe even by some of the guys who think they are
That bias is nonsense of course.

My experience, and I'm sure yours, is that women pick up these skills at
least as quickly as men. Might not be as strong and might take a bit to gain
the familiarity with the tools and materials but after that watch out guys.

It's almost always skill, and not strength, that counts most in tool use.
So many times when building, and I do lots of it, I see guys attempting to
use strength instead of thought and skill to accomplish some job. Usually
screws up the job and often ruins the tool. Occasionally injures the guy too.
Many times when the whole crew of "guys" were puzzling out some problem at
the Nottingham Center, Cara Moczygemba would walk by, look for a few seconds,
show us the solution and walk away. Leaving all of us feeling a bit
sheepish. Duh.

In my many years as a contractor I met countless men who couldn't so much as
change a light switch. Great for me. Made tons of $$$ off them. Taught two
women my trade both in home repair and ceramic tile. They both made lots of
bucks fixing stuff for men. Neither of these women knew anything about tool
use at all and were both proficient in a few months. Can't tell ay how many
men I've tried to train who took much longer. Has something to do with
listening/attitude I think.

One last comment: Sometimes the praises for some "unusual" women who have
mastered skill in tool use and building coming from some of the males on this
list sounds like it's almost a patronizing reverse sexism. Hmmmm.

Some thoughts,

Terry Sullivan
Nottingham Center for the Arts

BTW- Joyce, you are sure correct about Linda Blossom. That gal ain't affaid
of any project and does it well. All 120 lb.s of her.