Thursday, March 06, 2014

International Women's Day

So, as most of the Internet knows, this happened. I wasn't going to grace it with a response, but just the way the Vancouver Canucks took up the white towel as a symbol, instead of a flag of surrender, WestJet has made the inked paper napkin a positive symbol of women in aviation, and that's not as interesting without context.

And then there's this photo of a pilot posing with the mirror shades and the massive watch looks almost as if she's redoubled her efforts to fulfill those stereotypes, to make up for the ones she misses.

I know there are people thinking, "Give it a rest, women are equal now." I hear you, and I actually thought that, coming out of university. But the attitudes like napkin-writing David's are ingrained so deeply in society that being treated as, or assumed to be incompetent becomes part of the background noise. Here's to the day when no one has to second guess whether they are believed, doubted, accepted, rejected, paid or otherwise valued based on anything other than themselves.

10 comments:

grant said...

We had a great turnout of girls/young women (7-17) at the Nanaimo Flying Club's "Women in Aviation" event. Unhappily, due to lousy weather, the flying was postponed for a later date.

One mother told us this: 'I have a boy at home who is also interested in aviation. When can I bring him?"

I seriously wonder if we shouldn't be concentrating our efforts on things like COPA's Kids Days, but with a concentrated effort to ensure the girls are represented. Have we flipped the discrimination from one gender to the other? I see too many young men "anchored" to the couch, video game controller in hand, with no idea of how to move out into the real world and find something they can do for a living... (sorry pal, the world is full of video game programmers - choose plan B).

Thoughts?

Rhonda said...

As long as people still think (and sometimes even say) that "she only got the job because she's a woman" we're not equal. Nobody ever says "he only got the job because he's a man". It's assumed that a man who got the job, got it on his merits.

It's amazing how many people see "women in [x]" events and wonder where the "men in [x]" events are, while failing to realize that every day is a "men in [x]" norm. When the vast majority of the pilots you hear and see are men, you don't have to tell boys that being a pilot is a career option, because it's obvious that men can fly planes. Not so obvious for girls when they don't see women as pilots. (Or engineers, or scientists, or doctors, or ...)

(On the other hand, male nurses are not very common, so a "men in nursing" event would be appropriate while a "women in nursing" event wouldn't make much sense.)

majroj said...

Google "Desiree Horton". (Her now-disappeard blog linked me to this one).

majroj said...

PS: as a male non-aviator (but used to be around military ones a lot) and father of a young lady, this photo says to me "Yeah, I'm and aviator, and I'm sure this prop won't suddenly kick over!". (I WAS crash rescue though). ;)

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

Check out Desiree on Facebook. She's flying fires these days.

That guy was a great example of the conservative patriarchal fundamentalist mindset that has tried to take root in the US. Women should be homemakers and mother and have as many kids as their poor uterus can shove out. Think Michelle Duggar. These aren't Biblical rules, they're from people like the disgraced founder of Vision Forum and the newly resigned man behind ATI Bill Gothard. Women have no business being educated beyond age 16 and they have to be under their fathers "protection" until Price Charming comes to take them to his castle and start pumping out babies.
/rant over/ Men like that have given me indigestion for a long time.

Cedar Glen said...

Celebrate women, heck YES! But that does not mean women trying to be men - the glasses and the watch etc. No one is suggesting that skirts are suitable for cockpit attire, but FGS, one can still look like a woman while wearing pants.

kbq said...

majroj - if you're interested, Desiree posts on Facebook, under her name. She puts up a fair number of pix also (especially areal fire fighting, of course :-)

kbq said...

majroj - if you're interested, Desiree posts on Facebook, under her name. She puts up a fair number of pix also (especially areal fire fighting, of course :-)

majroj said...

Ms Horton's page is nothing like the lushly decorated (HD aerial photos of LA, California, and some special locations) blog she had. The Facebook page at least when I call it up is relatively barren and impersonal.
It has her inspirational story, though.

Aviatrix said...

Grant: I imagine that seventy years ago the industry may have had "flying for boys" events, and that a few sufficiently motivated girls stepped up and got rides too. I know that the local event in my area didn't turn away boys. We could run them as "for children," but it's so hard to overcome the stereotypes and have, for example, the parents see an aviation event for children as something to take their daughters to. The assumptions run deep. For example I caught myself while teaching, assuming that males knew how a carburetor worked and females needing it explained. So there it was the boys who got shortchanged, until I remembered that fuel system knowledge is not transmitted on the Y-chromosome.

Cedar Glen: You sound like an echo of a long ago man saying that a woman shouldn't wear pants. The aviator sunglasses and the oversized watch are not the mark of a man but the mark of a pilot, and there are just as many skinny young men wearing the same emblems of the profession just as awkwardly. The way a woman looks--that's looking like a woman. Not some way that you prefer she look.