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Old 12-02-2013
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Re: Is Sailing Sexist?

not to ramble but another point just came to me. and that is that the drive to stamp out 'isms' only creates a condecending attitude towards the subjects of said supposed 'isms'.

case in point:

i was sailing back river, in essex maryland, about two months ago. i was sailing from cox point, if any of you know the area. i was coming back into the dock, for the evening, sailing in circles waiting for the dock to become available.

on one pier, there was a guy loading up. he had one friend behind the wheel of his truck.

on the other pier, there was a group of 5 women, ranging between their late 20s and late 40s.

both groups were power boaters. no sailors in this example.

i have watched countless numbers of men load up their boats. some really sucked at it and some were deft and skillful. none of them ever made a big deal about doing it. it's just something you do, like washing dishes. you want to eat off of clean dishes so, you wash them. you want to take your boat home, so you load it onto your trailer. no big deal.

this group of women was war-whooping and patting themselves on the back, as if they were painting the Mona Lisa or solving world hunger, the whole time. it took them forever. they had started before the guys had even gotten the boat back to the dock.

when done, they exclaimed," it's not pretty, but we did it."

now, before i go any further, by making such a big deal out of something men do, out of routine without any fanfare, they might as well have been dancing around chanting," we are less than men but we succeeded in doing a manly task so praise us because we have risen above our lowly status."

seriously. that's how it sounded, although neither group saw it. if they truly thought themselves the equals of men, who do the same thing as if it was routine, like brushing your teeth, they wouldn't have been cheering themselves on as if it was a big accomplishment. it wasn't. they just put their boat back on the trailer. it's not a big accomplishment unless you think that you belong to a group that is not normally capable of achieving it.

so, back to my story:

after all the celebration, they realize that, although the boat was on the trailer and out of the water, it was almost a foot off center, at the stern. then they had to back up, into te water again, and it took them a deal more fanfare and back slapping to....not be able to get it centered.

all this time i am tacking and jibing in circles waiting to use the dock with nothing better to do than watch the show.

so, the guy who is loading the boat on the trailer walks over and tells them, step by step, how to fix the problem. and so, in short oder, the boat was actually on the trailer the right way.

and then the celebration starts anew. this time, not only are they patting thmselves on the back ( for a task they actually weren't able to do without help ) but the guys, both of them, were congratulating them. i was amazed. the whole thing was just condecending to women and an insult to the, actual, skillful female boaters i have seen, while sailing.

it's like the women were proud to have achieved a lofty accomplishment; one only achievable by men....i can only suppose it was becase they didn't truly believe women could do something like that.

and the men....they were only doing what society has taught them they should do...but their congratulations just furthered the idea that loading a boat on a trailer is something that only guys can do so, you need to congratulate these helpless little girls for being able to do it( with the help of a man).

the whole scene was so appalling i had to share it with my girlfriend, when i got home.

there was nothing for them to celebrate or congatulate about. putting a boat back on a trailer isn't hard. men can do it. women can do it. they failed to be able to do it. but they got acclaim because they were women, which is sexist because it assumes that women can't really do that sort of thing.

in comparison, there is this nice, older lady....maybe 50 something....i have seen, in a johnboat, while i was sailing at lake marburg. we have spoken, in passing, a few times. she goes up and takes her numerous grandkids, and other family, out on boat rides. she is very skillful with her boat. she is also one of the few power bvoaters, up there, that i have met that is considerate and friendly on the water.

when they are there, there is no doubt that she is the skipper. she is confident and sure of herself.

she also makes no big deal out of her abilities wth a boat. like all the guys you see, she treats it as just something she does....and so does everyone around her. no one pats her on the back or cheers her on. not because they don't respect her as a woman but, rather, because they respect her as a human, capable of the same things as any other human. the acceptance of her abilities as being a normal thing is a statement that no one considers her a lesser being that needs congratulated for doing the activities of her 'betters'. and it's her attitude, that her skill is just a normal thing on the water, which fosters this idea: the idea that her womanhood does not make her less than men doing the same thing.

i'm not sure if anyone will see this the same way i do, but that's how i see it. if women consider themselves the equals of men, and men are also supposed to consider them as equals, then there shouldn't be a big fanfare just because they do the same activities.

you can't hope to have a group seen as being the same as another group if you keep pointing out that they are different.

Last edited by captain jack; 12-02-2013 at 12:19 PM.
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