I recently started a new job. I work for a food sales & distribution company. Given that it is a relatively small company with a tight-knit staff, no one has just one function. I am no exception. Within the first month, I had to make some deliveries in the delivery van. I don’t think I have ever seen that many heads turn because people realize that I’m female. The most notable encounters were with women. One female Security Guard said, “oh they have woman drivers?” Then she proceeded to question my ability to drive. In jest, I mentioned that I didn’t buy my license. After watching me maneuver the van, upon exit of the property, she concurred.
I realize that it is difficult for some people, especially Caribbean people, to give up on some deep-rooted, perceived gender roles. I also realize that maybe people would be more accepting of my newfound role if I were butch. While I’m not super girly, the fact that I deliver boxes in a van while wearing skinny jeans and nail polish is clearly unsettling. Or confusing. Or insert adjective here. Yes, of course, I’m not as strong as my male counterparts because I’m lacking some testosterone, but I’m quite strong nonetheless (thanks Dayana!). So what, if I have to make 3 trips instead of 2. The point is, I pull my weight. All of it.
Pulling my own weight is nothing new. My brother and I learned from my parents’ example. They taught us that if you see something needs to be done, you do it. My mother, who also ran a small company, often referred to herself as ‘the chief cook and bottle washer’. In previous positions, I have filled in where necessary: cleaned tables, washed dishes, made beds, and swept floors. I don’t see why all of sudden, it’s a big shock that I can drive a stick shift and lift a few boxes. Kai is 3. He weighs 32lbs and I lift him from time to time. Does that fit into your perceived female gender role?
How about we open our minds?
Next step: Forklift!