After our first lesson on power tools, I began to think more and more about gender and building. I started to do some google searches and googled: “women and power tools”.
Well, when you do a google search on women and power tools, two major themes arise:
1. Scantily clad women with tools pressed inappropriately against their bare skin; and
2. Obnoxiously colored pink tools, “appropriate” for women.
Objectified women with power tools
So, even though I felt hot with my circular saw in hand, it wasn’t in a “I-wanna-wear-less-clothing” sort of way, but rather in an “I’m an empowered-confident-woman” sort of way. Using that tool made me feel powerful, and that’s just it – powerful, confident women are hot! But why must we then be objectified, and half of our clothes taken away from us? Men with power tools are hot too, but when you do a google search on men with power tools, not a single image appears of a half-naked man with a power tool pressed against his body.
I look forward to hearing your theories on the matter. One theory I am tossing around is that while empowered women are hot, they can also be quite threatening in current society. So give us those power tools, but objectify us just a bit while we’re using them so we don’t intimidate you too much.
Pretty in Pink
According to the National Association of Realtors, single women are now the second largest group of homebuyers, just after married couples, and 90 percent of these single ladies call themselves “Do-It-Yourselfers.” So now, companies like “Tomboy Tools” offer “women’s” power tools—small in size, and pink in color.
First of all, I am well aware that in general men have larger frames than women, and that having a smaller tool to work with might be more manageable for many women. However, living in Peru for the last 4 years, I find that I am taller than many Peruvian men. I bet these smaller men might also appreciate having a smaller tool to work with, but might be turned off by that pink color.
Secondly, as a former Tomboy, I resent this name. I can tell you that I would have NEVER touched something even resembling the color pink when I was a child, and now, as a tom-woman, the idea of a pink power tool fills me with a feeling close to revulsion. I feel that the “pinkness” of the tool is similar to those scantily clad women, making the experience a bit less powerful, and a bit more “pretty.”
Or perhaps I am just not embracing my inner-pinkness…
Anywho, I am excited to continue to grow my confidence as I work with these tools and begin to build. Women builders are few and far between, and I love the idea of creating a more female-friendly platform for women to learn these trades – sans the color pink, and with clothes intact.