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.
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.
**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.