When it comes to veiling, she would ask you to sink sexist ideas
I have experienced an excessive amount of sexism recently. It all started when my husband and I decided to buy a sailboat. I sailed with my parents and later I raced with my dad from my single-digit years until I was 30.
My husband and I met towards the end of my father’s sailing years, and he teamed up with us for about a year, learning from my father and experiencing the excitement of sailing and the curious calm of locomotion through wind energy.
Daddy’s racing boat was built for speed, loaded with pulleys, ropes and cleats. Dad was always curious about how things worked, a fan of “Popular Mechanics” and technical sailing magazines. A few years after I started sailing, we acquired a crew member that matched my father’s Inspector Gadget style affinity for the technical aspects of racing.
We found Ron sitting on the shore one day, watching the sailboats race, looking for an opportunity to sail. He and dad became quick friends. Ron was an engineer, and he and dad studied sailing physics, analyzed settings, and tweaked and tuned in a constant search for speed optimization.
As Dad and Ron did calculations and measurements, debated how to get the perfect sail shape, and shouted out instructions using only the correct terminology, I enjoyed the feel of the wind on my face and the feel of the wind. boat brushing the surface of the boat, feeling the power of unseen gusts of wind swirl around us, understanding that we could harness the wind with finesse, or we could mess up, and the wind could overpower us and capsize us.
Sometimes things went wrong, but we found something. Once the plan was just for my dad to walk up to the branches along the shore, yelling at me to ‘grab something’, but ‘grab something’, I did, and I learned that the occasion was a pretty good plan.
I had signed up for a fun hobby, a summer tan, and time with my dad – not a masters course in sailing. I focused my learning on the need to know, but I sunk enough that when the urge to resume sailing hit me, I was convinced we were competent enough to do it ourselves, and we have been.
My husband has taken to sailing quickly, but when the going gets tough, he relies on my coaching, or hands me the helm. Yet time and time again I have been fired as a viable skipper. When looking at used boats, the sellers spoke exclusively to my husband. Even when he told them that he knew little and that I was the one who knew how to navigate, they still directed the discussion towards him, while he pointed at me and said, “Ask him”.
Not just foreigners, despite ample proof of my qualifications, assume that we need my husband on board. “Will he be there?” they ask. A friend casually donned a life jacket when our husbands left us at the lake to sail a bit longer, despite the bleak, calm air. Her husband was ruminating on our safety, checking his phone for an alert that we had left the lake, but was not concerned about the much greater risk of returning home via the freeway.
I can be guilty of categorizing jobs as “yours” and “mine”. I used to turn down my father’s offers to let me be a skipper during the races. I initially relied on my husband to start the outboard motor, frustrated with its thoroughness.
But I watched them tinker around and try things out, gain a little knowledge of the mechanics at work, and decided not to let my preconceived job descriptions and learned helplessness limit what I can or can’t do, with or without. a man present.
I can confidently organize a girls’ night out on the lake. I might run into difficulties, resort to shouting “take something!” Or even have to ask for help. But if I have to call my husband for advice because the engine won’t start, I don’t call a man, I call someone more experienced with outboard motors.