Whoa, did that turn out to be a conversational hand grenade! Being a baby FF2, I have run into the baboons (â€œCan she really do it?â€ from an assigning officer, â€œWhoa, you’ve got a chick on your squad?â€ from a fellow firefighter on the line), but my crewmates and crew boss (I’ve never thought that was a gender-specific term) offered to beat anybody who pissed me off â€œlike a red-headed step-childâ€, so it’s never really been a problem. The only person who’s made me really mad about gender issues is a fellow female (as discussed before) who insists on ramming her (and by extension our) female-ness down everybody’s throats. As I move on up the ranks, I’m expecting to run into it more, but I’m not worried. There’s always an *sshole, that’s life. You work around them, you convert them, or you steam roller them, whatever works best for the *sshole in question. And I haven’t found anything that works better on *ssholes than listening respectfully to their ideas (whether good, bad, or bass-ackwards) and then demonstrate that you can work hard and competently.
What feels really good, though, is when we walk in parades and such (we’re a handcrew; we don’t have an engine to ride) and women, or better yet, little girls, see that I’m a woman wearing the same uniform, carrying the same pack, and carrying the same tool as the guys. â€œLook, Momma, it’s a firewoman!â€. Fire fighting is one of those things that every little boy, and increasingly I think every little girl, wanted to be a for a while and then decided was impossible for them; regardless of gender, I think it really comes down to that â€œnever say dieâ€ attitude.
Nerd on the Fireline (adequately self-censored, Ab?
Ya done good.