A friend of mine recently did a Google search of Women and Drawbridges, and what came up was disheartening. Not one word about the many amazing female bridge operators out there. Sadly, nothing about this blog, either.
No. It was all about the stupid things women have done on bridges. Especially this woman, who famously got stuck on an automated bridge as it was rising.
She has become the poster child for all the foolish pedestrians who ignore warnings when a bridge is opening. (And did she have to be wearing that tacky shirt while doing so? Jeez.) I see them every day. (She also happens to be the perfect argument for why drawbridges should never be automated.)
Another thing that pops up is the woman who died after falling from an opening bridge. (Please take those gongs seriously, folks. Getting to your destination on time is rarely worth your life!)
And then there’s this insane and obviously faked video of a woman jumping across an opening bridge. “Do not attempt”, it says. Uh, yeah. That’s putting it mildly.
For what it’s worth, after years of observation, I can say with a certain amount of authority that stupidity on drawbridges knows no gender.
The reason I find these search results so frustrating is that I’ve been a bridgetender for 17 years. I’ve worked with dozens of other female operators, and we are every bit as capable as our male counterparts. And yet inevitably I’ve encountered people in positions of influence who openly state that they don’t think women should be bridgetenders.
What is this, 1950?
Yes, it’s a male-dominated profession. I have no idea why. It’s something that I’ve had to adjust to throughout my career. There’s a constant push back from certain sources. It can be exhausting.
One male coworker refers to a female coworker of mine as “the little blonde,” which completely discounts her intelligence and capabilities, and reduces her to her physical attributes. It makes me want to scream. Another coworker referred to an assault incident between two women as a “cat fight.”
For God’s sake. What an ignorant world we live in. I’d clutch my pearls if I weren’t so busy cleaning the motor oil out from under my fingernails.