Friday, 9 December 2011

pink and blue do not belong here*

Pardon me for being blunt, but...

I am not Rick's little helper.
I am not his assistant.
I am not a tag-along.

This is not Rick's boat, it is OUR boat.
We are ONE team.

I value Rick's skills as a shipwright. 
And while I am not a shipwright...
I know how to competently use power tools, wire cables, fix the head, do brightwork, make fiberglass repairs, and troubleshoot through a problem. I can change the oil, check the impeller, and do basic maintenance on our engine. I know how to navigate, change sails, set and adjust the windvane, anchor, and use the radio (properly). And yes, I can bake too.

I can understand complex concepts given half a chance.

Again, Rick and I are a team.
He teaches me what he knows.
I teach him what I know.
We both do a lot of research.
Sometimes I find a solution before he does.
And guess what? He likes it.

My partner digs a woman who isn't afraid to try new things and work alongside him.
My partner takes the time to teach me new things.
My partner enjoys exchanging ideas.
My partner values my opinion.
My partner discusses projects with me.
Together, my partner and I cook, clean, sew, and maintain Nyon.

When I ask you a question, don't brush me off so you can talk to the "man".
When I tell you that Rick and I work as a team, don't patronize me.
When I partake in a discussion, look at me. Not just Rick. I might know something you don't.

I realize that some comments are well meant, but...
Your old fashioned attitude still pisses me off. 

By the way, living on a boat and voyaging? My idea. 
Now, where did I put my palm sander...

*Pink and Blue Jobs - An expression in the boating community to delineate between what are traditionally considered to be female and male jobs. For example, a pink job would be cooking or cleaning. A blue job would include working on the engine. While it is entirely up to each boat crew how they divide up chores, and sometimes it may just happen to fall along more traditional lines, I resent the expression. It perpetuates attitudes that belong in the '50's. Del Viento's Michael wrote an interesting blog post about this. Click here  to read it. For a great female perspective, read Livia's Burly Girlies.

I just had to get this off my chest after one too many frustrating incidents. Thanks for reading.


  1. Well said.

    You are what the call "A Keeper".

    Cheers, Rob H.

  2. I meant to say 'they'

    You got it, I hope.


  3. Bonus points for you Rob! ;) Cheers, K

  4. YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!! Thanks for the great rant - and "ain't it the truth!" From power squadrons to yacht clubs to boatyards, the pink and blue attitude still prevails. When I tell people that Michael couldn't read a chart to save his life, no one believes me -- there's a reason my nickname is 'Skipper.' (However, so far he *is* the only one who can put the thing back on the dock when we're done playing with it....) :)

  5. What's good for the goose IS always good for the gander.
    We use the pink and blue system. I think it sucks, until its time to do the dishes.

  6. I totally hear you! Even here in the liberal west coast of Cananda there are too many people that tell me to "get Scott to call". Or when I volunteered to do a heavy lifting job recently I was told it needed 3 "men". Scott tells them that I am probably stronger than him but they just don't hear....
    As another competent woman who likes power tools I understand your frustration!
    All the best on the mast rebuild.

  7. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and feedback, in my opinion, this is a discussion worth having! Especially considering the many responses I've received here and on Facebook. Cheers all, K


    Good points made, in spite fo the political incorrectness of sexims toward housold duties (or in this case, boathold ;) ), people still show sexism very often.

    Good to let 'em knwo what's what! :D

    W-A 2 GO XD

    little bro

  9. Sarah here... we had drinks on your boat last summer at the Rendezvous in Winter Cove. Just found your blog the other night at Fleet when my thoughts stumbled to you.

    I get this all the time. In the boatyard when I'm hard at work, when buying specialized parts, or at work (as I work in the marine industry.) Burns my butt, it does.

    But it especially gets me when I am doing a "pink job" - not because it is my job, but simply because it needs to be done, and I happen to be the one doing it- and I am commended by an (often older) "gentleman" for "doing good women's work." That is what most gets to me.

    On the flip side, it's hard to beat the look of approval after completing a project that you were underestimated on.

    We envy you guys, living the dream! Hope it all comes together with the mast!

  10. Speaking of burly girlies, I had the best conversation with a dock full of women recently. We talked mostly about steering issues (good methods for hand steering in bad visibility or at night or in big seas) and about our voyages. Keep an eye out for SVs Shannon, Eagle and Cat.

  11. Couldn't have said it better. I'll be linking to this on our blog.


    S/V Kintala

  12. Hi there, you may have said this a while back but we're living it now here in Texas and your well thought through rant stuck a strong chord.

    As a british couple we are used to a slightly more evolved perspective of the sexes (though by no means perfect equality). We are constantly amazed by the obtuse attitudes of people here in Texas where we're restoring our boat. People more often than not seem honestly surprised the second I pick up a screwdriver let alone when I explain to someone how we built our rudder or mast. I'm not saying I did it alone; we, like you and Rick are a team both with skills and weaknesses but any decision has to be made together and if one isn't sure then the other needs to explain the problem and options until we can agree a solution together. Any other way of working would just seem odd to us given that it's our boat.

    I see in the comments you repaired your mast so I'm going to look for those posts now. Great to have found your blog through Vlad and Attila's Bettie blog.

    Ruth and Duncan



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