I’m a Woman AND I Can Shovel Snow!

Who woulda thought, right?

We got a dumping of snow the other day — about 12 inches — and I still had to go into work because obviously my job is super important and it is necessary that I physically be in the office even though I could have worked safely from the comfort of home in my jammies (it’s nice I’m not bitter about it). When I got there, my boss commented that he hoped my husband was the one who shoveled us out. I wrinkled my nose at him and said that we both did it and that I am perfectly capable of shoveling a little snow.

Only last month, during our Secret Santa/Yankee Swap afternoon at the office, one of the gifts that was unwrapped was a power drill and my colleague got very upset and announced that she thought we were supposed to buy unisex gifts only. Someone replied that girls can use power tools, too, and she retorted that she didn’t because she “has a husband for that.” She wasn’t joking or trying to be cute, you guys. She was completely serious and offended that someone chose to include an item that was so obviously unusable by women. It was at that moment that I made it my life’s mission to win that drill simply to prove a point.

I was raised by parents who did not believe in gender stereotypes. My mother would frequently rant about the issues of “girls’ toys” and “boys’ toys” and how there was no such thing. If a little girl wanted to play with a truck, then that truck was a girls’ toy. If a little boy played with a doll, then it was a boys’ toy. I still get a little worked up whenever I visit the Toys ‘R’ Us website and see the categories broken into Girls and Boys. I was an only child and I was given a variety of not only toys, but chores as well. I did the dishes. I helped saw the stump off the Christmas tree. I dusted. I BBQed when we went camping. I vacuumed. I emptied the garbage.

My husband and I have an equal partnership: all of the work is shared 50/50 regardless of whether the task is traditionally performed by a man or a woman. Hubby does the laundry, so do I (in fact, he is the one who taught me how!). I wash the dishes, so does he. He mows the lawn, I usually injure myself with the weed whacker, but I have been known to get bored with that and ask to mow for a little while. I can’t imagine a marriage where I was expected to do certain things just because of my gender, nor where I expected certain things of my husband just because he is a man. (I realize every marriage is different and this is just what works for us.)

Although I could have gone home with a heated neck massager, or that nifty little Ninja food chopper, I instead chose to steal the power drill from my boss and defend it to the death just to prove that girls can like things that are “meant” for boys.





ETA: I had lunch with my coworker yesterday and The Drill Incident came up. She said she was surprised I wanted it because it had been stated several times that the gifts should be unisex and she really felt like a tool was more for a man. She asked what I thought and I tried to be very respectful. I told her that I didn’t think so, that I have received tools as gifts, and that I think they can be for men or women. I said that I use tools at home all the time. She thought for a moment and then told me, “I guess you’re right. I guess I just see men using them more so I never thought about it that way.” So, way to go Erin for jumping to conclusions and trying to prove a point that didn’t necessarily need proving. Now I kind of feel like an ass. 

24 thoughts on “I’m a Woman AND I Can Shovel Snow!

  1. See…I was taught to do for yourself and never, ever depend on a man. For the most part all of out home improvements have been done by me and not my hubby. Why? Because like you, I grew up doing it and like it. He did not. I think it is insulting to assume a woman can’t or wouldn’t want to do for herself. As far as “having a husband for that” that’s good for them and my husband does entry for me as well but not because I can’t!

    • A majority of the women I know have the same attitude we do, so I guess that’s why it surprises me so much to run into one that DOESN’T. It especially bothered me because this woman and I are more friends than just co-workers and I didn’t expect her to make a comment like that.

      • Ya most women are all about pricing they don’t need men to take care of them! I’m glad you took the drill!

  2. Oh my. I would LOVE a Ryobi drill. Nice score! Like you, It perturbs me to have people assume that certain objects, activities, etc…are for men only. My Dad was a mechanic when I was younger. Though I have two brothers, he said he’s leaving all of his tools to me when he dies. #grrrrrrrlpower

    • My dad was never a mechanic, but he’s worked on cars for fun as long as I can remember. I’ve gotten tool sets and other “man” stuff for Christmas in the past, and it’s come in very handy!

    • I actually have one of those. My mom bought me a pink set one Christmas just for fun and because she knew I loved the color. It’s come in very handy, LOL.

  3. Of course women can shovel snow. I probably shouldn’t have, but I shoveled snow during my first trimester. Hey, there was a lot of snow that February, and it wasn’t moving itself, pregnancy or not.

  4. That’s a cool drill. I’m not allowed to use power tools. Ever. It has nothing to do with my gender and everything to do with emergency room visits. Here in Texas, however, there are areas where women are expected to be fragile flowers, incapable of manual labor. That annoys the crap out of me.

  5. I enjoyed reading this post. I too get mad when I see toys meant for boys and girls. That is why I encourage my 5yo daughter and nearly-3yo son to play with whatever they want to. They routinely play with toys meant for the opposite gender and enjoy the toys meant for their own gender just as much. So happy to know that your parents raised you up to do your own thing, no matter what it is.
    Now if only I could get the Husband to read this post.

    • That’s great that your kids play with whatever they feel like, without worrying if it’s a toy “meant” for them or not. I plan on raising my future kids the same way!

  6. One year I asked my parents for a cordless drill for Christmas. Unfortunately my mom bought it for me and it never had enough guts to even put in a one inch screw. I’ve been single for a few years now and I have a real drill along with a power washer and any other “man’s” toy that will make my life easier.

  7. Congrats! Way to break the mould! I probably would’ve done the same thing. Especially because of the comment from your boss (if that’s how he really felt why did he expect you to show up to work)? Glad that you stole the drill from him. Was it one of those “open a present or steal someone else’s” games? Anyways great post!

    • Thanks! Yes, there is a pile of wrapped presents in the middle of the table and we go around the room. Each person gets to either open one, or steal an already-opened one from someone else. Great fun!

  8. Reminds me of an ex of my brother who is a huge home improvement nerd and could run circles around most men with her knowledge of power tools and craftsmanship.

    There’s no guarantee that a man will always be around to perform these tasks, so women do well to develop street smarts in the “manly” crafts. Many people remain single for years upon years nowadays and need to know how to live by themselves. Helpless damsels in distress should be a relic of the 1950ies, that kind of ignorance is certainly nothing a young, modern woman should be proud of. It can’t hurt to know how to fix a flat tyre or how to set up your Ikea table, right?

    If anything, feminism has given women the opportunity to be doers (just like men) and women who don’t take advantage of that might regret it later.

    This goes for men too. Most young men these days know how to run a household (cooking, cleaning etc.) – my 69 year old father is still as willfully clueless about these things as a baby. Most women today wouldn’t put up with a man who doesn’t do his part of tedious housework chores either – nor should they.

    The man of the house should volunteer his superior strength when it’s *really* needed – heavy objects that need to be lifted for instance – but a little snow shoveling certainly won’t hurt any able-bodied person, regardless of gender.

    Marriage is all about contributing in a way that is fair and balanced and works for the both of you. Parents do well to encourage their children to acquire a broad skill set that isn’t limited to 1950ies gender roles.

  9. LOVE THIS. I am having a heated discussion with a friend who says his tenants, because they are women, can’t dig themselves out. I tell him that is SEXIST, and it is up to them to get themselves out and go to work- not him.

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