Vaginas and Chainsaws

A couple of days ago, my mom bought me a chainsaw.  It’s a petite little thing, 1.5 horsepower, 14” blade, and it plugs in to an extension cord.  It was just what I needed to clean out all the dead pine branches at my mom and dad’s place.

I love it.

My new baby

My new baby

I’ve never used a chainsaw, but it’s very easy, as long as you keep safety in mind.  This one is light, and easy to handle.  I chopped down so many branches and bits of dead wood that it will take me three trips in my brother-in-laws pick-up truck to get rid of it all.  I totally destroyed those dead branches, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I even had no trouble adjusting the chain when it got loose.  It’s a well-made, simple device.

However, what I did not enjoy was all the negative comments from certain males in my life saying I had no business using a chainsaw.  Apparently, to the males of the population, I am one breath away from hacking off one of my own limbs in a freak chainsaw accident.  My fiancé refused to be in the yard while I used it.  He had visions of amputated stumps spurting blood.  My fiance’s friend #1, said flat out on the phone that I was crazy and going to injure myself.  My dad, bless his heart, shook his head and told me to be careful, but didn’t tell me not to do it.

Now, let’s have a little background on me, so you can truly understand my situation.  I can be slightly clumsy.  In small ways.  In moving a bedframe, I’m likely to get a splinter.  I’ve nicked my thumbnail more times than I can count while cutting vegetables.

I also learned to to use power tools in college, and continued to use some power tools during my career as a costumer.  I have a little anxiety disorder, which makes me a bit hyper vigilant where safety is concerned.  I am definitely anal about safety.

I’m not trying to tempt the gods, but to this date in the 48 years of my life, I have never caused myself a serious injury.

So why are these men, men who have known me for years, concerned about me using a chainsaw?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I have a vagina.  While most of these men are not what I would call sexist, they are still a product of the culture that they grew up in.  Our culture tells men that 48 year old women shouldn’t use chainsaws.  Estrogen and vaginas are detrimental to chainsaw use.  Something in our hormones reacts badly with big, noisy electronics.  While women have come a long way, folks that think the days of discrimination are over are crazy.

Just ask any woman who has gone to buy a car and had the salesman speak only to the man who went with her.  Or the rowdy that’s surprised the lady cop can handle him just fine.

Or the woman who just bought a chainsaw.

This discrimination in the name of protection reminds me of when they built the Empire State Building and elevators were considered “too dangerous” for women to ride.  So what happened?  Men zoomed to the top with ease while women had to climb all those stairs in order to see the view.  I’m not taking the stairs.  If I do get hurt, I promise you that it isn’t because I have a vagina.

In mankind’s defense, my when my fiancé’s friend #2 came to visit, he just strode in and helped me chop things down without one disparaging remark.

See the street?  Before you couldn't see the street.

See the street? Before you couldn’t see the street.


**Author’s note- Miriam-Webster states that the plural of vagina is vaginae, but it just didn’t have the right ring to it for my purpose.

About JulianneQJohnson

I am a writer in Indiana who lives with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiance. I enjoy cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.
This entry was posted in sexism, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Vaginas and Chainsaws

  1. then again, my mum always worries about my dad’s safety when he’s using the chainsaw. Maybe my mum’s just a worrier, but it suggests that maybe your fiancé was just worried.

  2. Wow… I couldn’t pass up a post with that title! You are braver than this vaginaless creature. I remember wielding a chainsaw fearlessly when I was a kid, helping my Dad cut down and chop up a tree, but for whatever reason, since I became an adult, I don’t even want to be near a chainsaw that isn’t running!

  3. jwkuyser says:

    Reblogged this on Jake Kuyser and commented:
    As long as you’ve had some training and are wearing proper safety gear your genitals should be irrelevant. Just remember a tiny chainsaw is just as dangerous as a huge giant one. And try not to chainsaw your vagina!

  4. Ann Kruse says:

    A few years ago, I bought a router to set up Wi-Fi in my apartment. The young, male sales clerk tried to convince me I needed to pay for help to install this “complicated” piece of equipment. His reasoning was “even his dad couldn’t do it.” After working several years in radio broadcasting and despite having a vagina, I had probably set up and reprogrammed more equipment than this kid had ever sold. I am proud to say that my self-installed router is still working admirably.

    I really enjoyed this post! Thank you, Julianne, for reminding us we shouldn’t be limited by others’ expectations.

  5. Dennie says:

    I think your chainsaw is awesome. And what’s doubly awesome is that your MOM bought it for you!
    Obviously the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree-just don’t cut it down!

  6. dentaleggs says:

    Us and our damn vaginae. I love this piece.


  7. Denise says:

    Gasp! That looks ace! If I had one, I could do things with logs!

    I’ve never heard the word “petite” mentioned with a chainsaw before. But if the tool is the right size and weight for you to use, how silly for anyone to object.

    Good for Mom too!

  8. Tina Cones says:

    Yay for friend number 2!!! And yay for you!!! With that vagina, we can birth babies! Why would they stop us from using power tools? SMH!

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