Monthly Archives: August 2017

How Do Women Feel Feeling About Their Look?

Some people referred to me as a male feminist, and others referred to me as a misogynist. In reality I am neither. I neither like nor dislike most women, just as I neither like nor dislike most men.

What some people do not understand is that women are not a homogeneous entity. Women range as everything from Andrea Dworkin to Edna St. Vincent Millay. One cannot like one without disliking the other. Their messages were opposites of one another, and if they ran into each other they would have torn each other to shreds.

Ultimately it makes sense to neither like nor dislike women. To demand that one like all women is as unrealistic as it is to demand that one like everyone. People will like whom they like, and they will dislike whom they dislike. And while some people see liking everyone as a worthwhile project, I disagree. To like all people means that one has to like Jeffrey Dahmer. People – both men and women – will always exist, and they will all make their choices. It is wrong to demand that one like everyone. In the real world, people choose whom they like based on what they have to offer and on the choices that they make.

It is a worthwhile project to be understanding; it is a worthwhile project to be compassionate. But while the likes of Andrea Dworkin demand compassion, they show none. Any beautiful woman, any man who loves a beautiful woman, anyone who values beauty, comes under malicious attack, even if one has been through much worse things than has the Dworkin feminist. Since they do not show compassion, neither do they deserve compassion for their own, solvable, problem of being physically and personally unattractive. An African or Middle Eastern woman has suffered much greater wrongs than has the Dworkin feminist, and she has in most cases chosen to be a good human being. These women in most cases have more reason to hate men than any Western woman, but they for the most part refrain from doing so and continue to be good people and to be good to men.

Which brings me to my central point, and that is: It makes sense to be neither for nor against women – to be neither a feminist nor a misogynist. It makes sense to be for women who choose to act with kindness and warmth and against women who choose to act in an ugly manner. As with men, women should be seen for who they individually are and treated on the basis of that. And the same approach has to be taken with people, period.

As it of course already is, whatever anybody’s pretentions to the contrary.

With Dworkin feminists, I have seen a manifestation of what I call the Mobutu character. Mobutu posed as the disadvantaged to get the aid from the West, which he used to oppress the truly disadvantaged – the people who lived under him in then-Zaire, while he lived in absolute luxury. The Dworkin feminist poses as the voice of the disadvantaged group that is women and then uses the compassion and resources she receives to abuse other women, especially ones nicer and prettier. And it is time that more people see through that racket and help, not the professional abusers that are the Dworkin feminists, but the kinder and warmer women around the world – and many in Western countries – who truly have it in a bad way.

Is feminism wrong? No, women are half of the world’s population, and it is important that this half of the population have rights and powers commensurate with those of men. But this form of feminism creates a degenerative effect upon women where it attacks their virtues of kindness, beauty and tenderness and teaches them to act in ugly, mean-spirited and abusive ways. The person who actually likes women will be against this, as he will be seeing a crime being committed against womanhood: The crime, that is, of attacking the virtues that are more natural to women than they are to men while aggressively pressuring the women to become the very worst thing that they can be.

What actually makes sense is to support good conduct by women and men both while fighting bad conduct by both women and men. What actually makes sense is to reward virtues rather than flaws, and to support the positive qualities with which women are more naturally endowed than are men while fighting those who attack these positive qualities. What actually makes sense is to support kindness, warmth, beauty and other positive feminine qualities and protect women from those who would attack and abuse these positive qualities. And that is as much the case with respect to attacks by the Dworkin feminists as it is the case with respect to attacks by genuinely misogynistic, violent, abusive men.

In fact, the Dworkin feminism is in its essence misogynistic. It attacks the naturally feminine virtues and robs women of these virtues while teaching them to behave like the worst among men. It denatures womanhood and turns its followers into scoundrels. And that does not benefit women, any more than does it benefit the reputation and standing of women. More men – and women – will be willing to fight for women’s rights and well-being when they see women acting in better manner. And the nastier these women get, the fewer of both men and women will be willing to do the same.

In recent years we’ve seen a men’s movement, who have used the misconduct by Dworkin feminists to claim that the misogynistic statements in the Bible and the Quran were right all along. The result has been innocent women suffering in horrible situations all around the world, while the Dworkin feminists remain comfortable in their academic, media, social work or corporate worlds and continue to attack and abuse the women who are nicer and prettier and men who love them. The worst in each gender are claiming to speak for the gender and create a coercion upon everyone else in their respective genders to be the very worst thing that they can be and to treat their partners in the worst way that they can treat them. This is how far we have come.

These wrongful sets of incentives must be overcome and inverted. Kindness, warmth, beauty, tenderness, and other positive feminine qualities, should be encouraged and rewarded rather than attacked. Nastiness and meanness – either by men toward women or by women toward men – should be punished, and its possessors stripped of their power. Men should be encouraged to be good to women, and women should be encouraged to be good to men. Those who are willing to do that should be rewarded with good relationships, and those who are unwilling to do that should go without relationships until they are willing to change their attitude. And each gender should be represented by its best, not its worst, elements in the public debate.

Thus it makes sense, for example, for Western men to get together with Third World women. Western men would treat those women far better than they could expect to be treated at home, and those women would treat them much better than would women schooled in Dworkin feminism. An international flux for relationships will make winners of people of both genders who are willing to act rightfully and to treat their partners in rightful manner. And it would make losers of both men and women who insist on being horrible to the other gender. A real-world mechanism of rational choice based on what the other party has to offer will create incentives on people of both genders to behave better toward their partners. Without a single shot being fired and without a single dollar of taxpayer money being spent, a mechanism will be put into place that will reward – and thus make more numerous – good man-woman relationships.

As for women, more should look up to someone like Edna St. Vincent-Millay than to someone like Andrea Dworkin. Her way was much more noble and much more beautiful. She got famous through creation of beauty, when Dworkin became famous through creation of ugliness. She was in every way better than Andrea Dworkin, and she should be a model for more women in America and in the rest of the world.

The part of men in this is as follows: Love, reward and treat well the women who are willing to behave beautifully, so that more women see the future and promise in acting beautifully and are willing to do the same. Once women see that acting in beautiful ways pays off, more will be willing to do that, and men as well as women will benefit.

How Do Women Feel Feeling About Their Look?

In 1991, Naomi Wolf published The Beauty Myth detailing her understanding on how women continue to be oppressed throughout society for the benefit of men.

Wolf argued that the instigation and use of the myth of beauty would be men’s ultimate weapon against women and their perceived rising power.

Women continue to face blockades in the workplace due to the political and systemic use of beauty to define worth. Although men define the ideology of beauty, the demarcation of beauty is not defined thereby leaving the female confused about her own feelings of self.

This allows big corporations to levy unfairly the work that women do increasing their revenue whilst enriching both female expenditure and manageability. This has in turn reduced the female’s self-esteem, a powerful tool for control.

Naomi Wolf wrote this book in 1991 following both the first and second wave of feminisms. Are we embarking upon a third wave of feminism? Many skeptics of feminism report that the previously overwhelming injustice towards women and their cries that created and sustained Women’s Rights movements have now been diluted to a mere whimper. Is there any truth to this statement?

I want to use this article to examine what if any changes have happened since 1991 and how women’s lives may or may not have changed.

Women have always been necessary to the workplace even if not respected for their contribution. Latent history informs us that due to the First World War (WW1) in 1914 -18, women were necessary to move out of the home where they worked to fulfill the employment gap due to men being at war. When the war ended, women did not naturally want to give up this level of financial independence and return to the home. Cross-referencing historical information, the fight for Women’s Rights began much earlier therefore women were already aware of the injustices towards them thereby informing of the reluctance to ‘return to the home.’ In 1848, 68 women and 32 men outlined grievances towards women including women having the right to vote and signed a Declaration of Sentiments in New York. It was in 1872 that saw the national movement begin in the UK in the form of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage and later the more influential National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Without this cross-referencing, one would be forgiven for mistaking that up until WW1 in 1914, women were not knowledgeable about their unjust treatment towards them.

With the knowledge that women did indeed know that they were being treated unfairly and that they actually felt strong enough to take action in different forms showed both tenacity and strength; words that were not used to describe women at all. Since 1991, what has changed to strengthen Women’s Rights to being more equal to men?

Not much in my opinion from the viewpoint of entry-level top careers for women although according to a recent research carried out by Astbury Marsden, they found that this year has seen an increase of 100% of women in management positions. This equates to 12% overall from 6% overall last year. We should be grateful! What about the significant pay gaps between men and women for equal jobs? Well, according to Dr. Carla Harris from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the gap is widening, currently for every dollar a man makes, his female counterpart earns 82 cents. I doubt very much that you will find a noticeable difference in the UK. In fact, upon research, women earned 15% less than men. Is this gap made worse in poor economic times?

So not much has changed in terms of respect for females and the contribution they make in society and for society. Not much in terms of how females are viewed, mostly negatively and for sexual pleasures. However what is more startling (perhaps an over-exaggeration) is that although there have always been women ‘night-workers’ (prostitutes), women appear to be engaging in their own war against themselves. Let me put this into perspective about this internal war going on with women. Notwithstanding the ‘glamour’ needed for night workers to attract for work, women are now using this same concept for approval from men and in the meantime waging an unsubstantiated war on their self-esteem. Not that those women did not care for their looks previously, as their grooming ritual is natural in attracting a mate. However, because of the Beauty Myth, the natural birthing process of grooming for a mate has become blurred, confusing and instills a lack of confidence in a female. The precocious instigation of the Beauty Myth undertaken by men but calculatingly not clearly defined (Naomi Wolf) has left women attempting to attain not just the indescribable but the unattainable as beauty is left open for interpretation by the beholder (men).

What has been the result?

Financial contributions to cosmetic, diet and surgery have all seen a surge in willing captors, all seeking this beauty myth and all rather quite despondent when they realise that the goalposts keeps shifting. Cosmetic companies revel in ascribing what their latest product is and how wonderfully powerful some ingredient is, now contained in their product. I mean, who on earth really heard of Pentapeptide, let alone researched what it did before buying the product?

Companies such as those in the cosmetic industry rely on the poor self-esteem of women to direct their products to. Women in return respond in an impassioned grab for the ‘miracle’ product that will stave off or at least slow down the ageing process. Women are made to feel that they no longer visually please and according to Wolf, companies can take steps in removing the female from her role in the workplace in favour of a younger model. Remember Miriam O’Reilly winning her claim against the BBC for what she alleges being dismissed on ageism and victimisation grounds? A second rate victory because she did not win on the grounds of sexism. What this tells me is what Wolf already identified in her book, that it is very difficult for a woman to claim against sex discrimination as the law fully supports what it calls a BFOQ (bone fide occupational qualification- USA) or the UK’s version of GOQ (genuine occupational qualification- Wolf). What this means is that a company may dismiss a woman if they feel that she does not measure up to their ideology of beauty. Now remember, this level of beauty is not defined and what would this really say? As beauty is in the eye of the beholder (self) is it not?

The tribunal for Miriam O’Reilly was held on the 4-19th November 2010, 19 years after Wolf’s publication therefore women are still demonstrably being targeted and treated according to how they look and not what talents they may have in the workplace. So no real progress here then!

Next time you go shopping, look out for the number of different beauty products. Be aware of the amount of time and energy that commercials use to sell you their copious amounts of products and the images they use. The use of anti-wrinkle creams on models probably not even yet 20 years old yet. Why on earth they need anti-wrinkle cream is beyond me. Next, these kinds of adverts will be shown using a 13 year old!

Now look at grounded products such as lipsticks. Now you can get ones that last all day. In fact, you need another product to get the lipstick off because normal cleanser and water does not always work. Companies have to keep re-inventing the wheel to keep their profits up so their imagination runs riot and comes up with all sorts of products all doing the same thing but differently. Women fall for this; just take a look at her make up bag, products of the same but different thing, hardly used due to the copious amounts.

What about products containing a certain ingredient that will ‘benefit’ perceived ‘bags’ under the eyes. Do you really think that by buying this product will alleviate ‘baggy eyes’? Why should it, because if it did then you would have to stop buying the product once you have been cured? So companies use only enough to make a slight difference and you have to keep re-buying to secure better results. I imagine companies laughing at women as they stand far at the side of the room throwing in the magic ingredient (that is to say how offensively low the ingredient is in terms of weight and productivity). Now, I am not saying that a particular ingredient does not work, for example caffeine. However, following your lovely cup of tea, you could quite easily reconstitute the teabag and put this on your eyes. Probably has more caffeine in the teabag than in the expensive product you buy.

Let us look at how other companies have cashed in on the creation of poor self-esteem in women. An ostentatious amount of money is spent by females on diet products in the hope that the ‘extra’ pounds they think they are carrying will disappear leaving the female with a sense of acceptance and perceived beauty. The sugars used in many foods are replaced with a substitute that is less calorific. To me, this is just a lot of useless chemicals being pumped in the body and for no real gain. Processed sugars are not good for anyone in huge amounts and a wise thing for health purposes would be to reduce your intake not substitute this with something that requires the body to work harder to break it down if it is able to use at all.

For research purposes, I typed in ‘what effect does artificial sugars have on the body?’ and I did not have to look far to clearly see the dangers of artificial sweeteners. According to author Marcelle Pick, (Obstetrician and Gynecologist) she speaks openly about being properly informed of possible side effects of sweeteners. I will not mention the company as I do not wish to give them any form of exposure but you can do your own research. This particular name brand is the trade name for Sucralose; a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formation. (Marcelle Pick) What this company did was twist the sugar component of their product by citing the ‘natural sugar’ aspect. Yet more importantly, did you catch the word ‘pesticide?’

Now we go onto cosmetic surgery. This phenomenon has increased tenfold since the 1970’s. Now you can book a botox in your lunch hour and be back to work. The lackadaisical procedure should be seen as worrying and not that companies are seeking to make life easier for women to attain this face stiffening procedure. Remember the poor actress infamously known for her ‘trout pout?’ I will leave this here to save her blushes! The point I am making is some of these procedures are downright dangerous yet women are still clambering to risk life or limb.

We do not have to search our brains too hard to recall some other poor soul who underwent breast surgery to enlarge her already natural assets and perceptually ended up looking misplaced. The female body is perfect as it stands and whilst some females may have to undergo a surgical procedure on medical grounds, this should not be confused with the female body, being nature at its finest.

Women are undergoing all sorts of procedures in an attempt to gain the unattainable body. Bum enhancements, face lifts, eye lifts, neck lifts (anything that is deemed lift-up-able), nose adjustments, liposuction on any part of the body and do not get me started with lace fronted weaves or extensions. The woman spends a great deal of time and money on products and services to achieve the ideology of beauty and remember this perceived beauty is undefined. So what this means, is they end up chasing a mirage that disintegrates the moment they think that they are now acceptable. This results in a cyclical pattern in women dabbling in metamorphosis, re-inventing something else to feed that ever-growing pit in lost souls leading to other behavioural and emotional difficulties.

If you look at the objective of The Beauty Myth, the power is monumental and the devastation that this myth leaves behind is great news for those instigating this concept for nothing more than mind-control over women. This concept reminds me of the Lynch (Willie Lynch) method; create a divide and rule mask, in this case, in women.

My name is Marcea Hibbert-Roye, qualified Social Worker and Life Coach. I work as a Strategic Lead Develop for Women. My specialism is developing emotional awareness in females. I have devised a 6 Step Program that promotes good emotional health by accessing information held in the subconscious mind to the conscious mind. The result is having more control over thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Visit the website for great motivational cards for females that will support during difficult times or just to say ‘You’re worth it.’ We have cards designed at the younger female especially as she is navigating through puberty.

Is Beauty Causing Jealousy?

Women can be so beastly to one another. Women can also be the perpetrators of hate towards other women. Women can instigate and continue a trail of destruction towards another woman.

It can be very uncomfortable to acknowledge that women can act just as aggressively as men and cause the emotional breakdown in others especially towards other women.

There are many diverse and oddly strange reasons for women behaving badly and jealousy is one of those reasons.

When the green eye of envy glares from the pulpit of internal vision in a woman, the results can range from mild verbal contact to being downright unbelievably heinous. Due to jealousy, a woman could temporarily appear insane. Some behaviours include verbal rages appearing irrational and incessant; her stiffened body taut from the venom squeezing from every pore. Jealousy is potent and can destroy both the holder and the receiver.

I covered my perspective on the Beauty Myth in another article but wanted to pay particular attention to jealousy in a woman because of beauty noting the Beauty Myth.

The Beauty Myth looks at the overall impact on women and I will be examining the psychological impact on women. To surmise the concept and explain the Beauty Myth, here is a quick précis.

The Beauty Myth is an allegorical ideology about what a woman should look like to be readily accepted in society. Men, for control over women construct this ideology. The ideology of beauty as in the Beauty Myth is not defined, therefore there are no clear guidelines or demarcation.

There are many ways in which a woman gravitates towards making herself appealing and to appease men and the resulting language, spoken or not, determines how women view themselves. Women then systematically enshrine the essence of the Beauty Myth by plundering themselves to a regime of incessant grooming including the use of surgery, cosmetics and diets. A woman does not have to be aware of the Beauty Myth to be complicit in its language. The control over women by men renders women out of control in mind and body as she strives for attainment of acceptance. Remember, what the actual concept of beauty should look like is not defined! Whilst this is happening locally for women, the woman then sees other women as potential rivals. Women compete with other women vying for the attention from men creating a war on each other that may appear comical to some but is in no doubt very debilitating for women reciprocally.

Women readily accept striving to achieve the ‘ideal’ weight and maintain this notion even at the risk of their own health. In some contexts, this ideal is nothing short of experimenting with their life. In an attempt to mask over her own lack of self-esteem, a woman may originate a furtive competition with her colleagues, peers and even friends to appear to be the better looking therefore more acceptable to men. Is the archetypal jealous woman real or fictitious? Just take a look around you.

Women eyeing up other women whilst measuring their own selves and sometimes leaving others feeling as though they are below standard. If a particular woman measures against another woman and feels she is more attractive than she perceives her ‘rival’ to be, just watch her physiology prolifically change in an instant. If she perceives this same ‘rival’ to be featuring an attribute she is keen to personally gain this same change in her physiology is evident but this time, she retreats within herself. The Omni-presence of the Beauty Myth is indeed powerful even if not understood by its participants. The concept of the Beauty Myth makes women jealous towards other women a certainty.

Throughout my working experiences in some companies, I have sometimes felt it was better to have a man as a manager than a woman. I work passionately to improve women’s lives so how can I possibly justify the previous statement? Well, if your female manager is managing her own set of negative self-perceptions and gracelessly views you as having something that she does not, well, put it this way, your working day can be hell. This information should not be taken out of context. Women are able to manage effectively managerial roles, I am speaking about the female manager who may allow her position to denigrate another female based on the idea of perceived threat. I am also admitting, however uncomfortable that women in ‘powerful’ positions can use this to feather their own pride by reducing another women’s intent. The inception of jealousy not just in thought but put into practice has some very untenable traits for the recipient, the acts done against her is nothing short of bullying. Even in an informal group of friends, there is always some kind of rivalry going on, some form of argument stemming from the lack of something, the underbelly being self-esteem. Yet, if we took a look back into the lives of much younger females (ages 4 – 8 years old), you can see a characteristic in them that might explain the neuroticism that follows later on.

Young girls are tenacious; they are determined and self-assured. They can appear bossy and knows how to get their wishes completed. They can manipulate others for their gains without blinking. The young female knows who she is and will fight for control in her circle. (This description is architypically of young females before society teaches them that their voices are not to be heard, another discussion!) Many times, the young female who views herself as mentally and emotionally strong will seek friends who appear to her to be the opposite of her traits. This way, she will continue to reign. When she does befriend another young female who then goes on to outwardly presenting with the same strong traits, they may remain friends but will experience bouts of rivalry towards each other. However, why they would remain as friends needs further explaining. The need to reign is secondary in spiritual terms to the more important aspect of having, nurturing and maintaining friends. This means that whilst the need to reign is strong, this is borne from the pressures put on them from their outside world. The need for friends is borne from their inner world (subconscious) and is much stronger than the need to reign. Young females, growing females and grown females will find a comfortable place with each other that accommodates their rivalry as long as they are friends. So does this mean that the Beauty Myth perpetuates the traits already found in females and uses it against them? In my opinion, most definitely a YES.

The competition between women to beautify self to surpass their ‘rival’ is not done explicitly. There are no words that are used that determine such acts of rivalry; the competition is clandestine. There are times when a female will depict her sense of being at war when she negatively calls on the ‘flaw’ of her rival, teasing her about her perceived ‘afflictions.’ Or when a female has been perceived to have ‘achieved’ the mythological beauty, the backlash from her peers is all too evident. The sniping, the backbiting or even the silent treatments towards to the poor female are tools that are used to demonstrate the discomfort women feel towards their ‘rival’ but borne from their own lack of a positive self identity. The need to reign (starting in early age) is ever-present but made more complex when they become older and now also vying for acceptance from men.

Young girls in the playground demonstrably sending some other poor girl ‘out to Coventry’ merely for having a super pair of shiny shoes that the reigning girl does not. The teenage female who turns on her friend because that boy she likes is not reciprocal with her attention-seeking activities. The new woman at work who makes the standardised corporate uniform look incredibly perceptively sexy even without trying. Supermodels are dicing with their health in an attempt to be the thinnest therefore prettiest amongst her peers. She has learnt that this ensures continuous work for her. Media depict background scenes of the clichéd females behaving beastly towards each other in the same attempt to reign and be accepted. Movie celebrities all seeking the reduced weight as the camera ‘puts on pounds’ and media shouts out any imperfections on a woman in a public way. Not all publicity is good publicity! Feuds are started by women with other women just because of perceptions based on looks. Especially worsened if the female celebrity is newsworthy and over-exposed. So all women are somehow affected by beauty and can become, coupled with a typically feminine trait, extend into jealousy. The levels to which jealously can extend to, is dependent upon what the attacking female feels she has to gain to extinguish her rival or equally how she much she has to lose.

Here are a few explanations of jealousy:

Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position; resentment or bitter in rivalry; having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension or bitterness; vigilant in guarding something; intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity, autocratic.

The need to feel beautiful therefore accepted by self and others is inextricably linked to having better self-esteem. This increases the competition in and for women. The ‘rewards’ are both self-serving to women and for men. However, with the Omni-presence of the Beauty Myth makes jealously a sure fire win for men, whoever wins the competition, they cannot lose. Until women build their self-esteem on feelings on individualism, compassion for other women and acceptance of other women and their equally beautiful features, the war with jealousy will continue. The Beauty Myth continues to reign over the female who thinks she reigns. Until women understand that they are men’s half-witted sense of delusions and will never aspire to true equality, they remain incarcerated spiritually. The creation of ‘the woman’ needs to happen and how this is done is by understanding who they are and remove self from men’s expectation. Women then need to build up spiritually by becoming aware of their inner resources to begin the trade off with men for equality because at the moment, men do not have to trade with women on equal grounds.

My name is Marcea Hibbert-Roye, qualified Social Worker and Life Coach. I work as a Strategic Lead Developer for Women. My specialism is developing emotional awareness in females as I am passionate about improving women’s lives. I have devised a 6 Step Program that promotes good emotional health by accessing information held in the subconscious mind to the conscious mind. The result is having more control over thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Celebrate Women in the World of Fire

Did you know that International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8?

Worldwide thousands of events occur on this day to mark the social, political, and economic achievements of women over the centuries. Millions of people have gathered around the word this past weekend in honor of International Women’s Day.

I am no stranger to the achievements made by women. I spent my formative high school years at an all-girls school, soaking in the histories of women throughout the world-leaders, academics, scientists, doctors, artists, and activists–and the transformative and lasting accomplishments they made for humanity.

As a woman who works as a firefighter-which is classified as a non-traditional career for women-I wanted to do my part on this day celebrating women. So, I recently asked some folks, friends and family, between the ages of 7 and 77 for some help. I asked, “If you could ask a woman firefighter any question, what would it be?”

Here are their questions and my answers. Enjoy. And Happy International Women’s Day!

Why did you want to become a firefighter? Do you think the reasons that a woman wants become a firefighter are any different than the reasons a man wants to become a firefighter?

I wanted to become a firefighter, because I wanted to help people and serve my community. I always pictured myself in a career that was service-oriented, and being a firefighter is a way that I can do that.
When I discovered that women in the fire service were few, I was daunted. But I have to admit, I was also motivated by that challenge. (Maybe that goes way back to my childhood… Once when I was five, a boy challenged me in the sandbox. He said, “I bet you can’t do this.” And he proceeded to unzip his pants and pee in the sandbox. I immediately pulled down my pants, and peed in the sandbox too!)

In answer to Part 2 of your question, I have found that women and men whom I have met in my career, usually seek out firefighting for many of the same reasons-desire to serve their community, help others, the daily physical challenge of the job, the team aspect, and the mental, physical, and technical challenges that mitigating an emergency brings.

What do you like about being a firefighter?

See all of the above!

What do you have to do to get a job as a firefighter? Do you have to do the same thing as the men?

Like everything else, the fire service is evolving. The first firefighters in the United States were men (thus “firemen”). The first paid female firefighter in the US was hired in 1973. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, many departments implemented affirmative action measures to increase the diversity of their fire personnel ranks.

Today men and women, alike, need to go through the same rigorous testing process that can take anywhere from six to twelve months. The testing process usually begins with a written exam. Those who pass the written, go on to the physical agility test. Women have to pass the same physical agility tests required by the men to be firefighters.

To be an effective firefighter you need a healthy balance of cardiac endurance and upper and lower body strength. In general, while many men may be able to rely more on strength due to muscle mass to accomplish fire ground tasks, women learn to use body mechanics and smarter techniques, in conjunction with their strength, to be effective firefighters. In truth, this is the smarter way to go, and all firefighters would do well to keep their bodies healthy and free of injury by practicing body mechanics and smarter techniques.

After agility tests are passed, the process continues with oral board interviews, a Chief’s interview, and extensive background checks. Thousands of people apply for usually only a few firefighting positions. Once hired, men and women must all go through a fire academy where they learn and practice firefighting skills. If they pass the academy, they begin their probationary year as a firefighter. As a probationary firefighter they continue to be trained and tested throughout the year, on the fire ground through written exams and manipulative skills.

Do men and women share the same types of jobs in the fire service?

Yes! Men and women firefighters participate in the same tasks whether it is going into fires holding the nozzle and the hose, cutting ventilation holes on top of roofs with chain saws, climbing aerial ladders a hundred feet in the air, using hydraulic power tools to cut apart cars to get to patients that are trapped inside, or using their EMT or paramedic skills in treating sick or injured people.

There are far fewer women in captain’s positions, and even less in chief’s positions. The first paid female fire chief in the United States was Chief Rosemary Bliss of Tiburon, California. She became Fire Chief in 1993. In 2012, Teresa Deloach Reed became the nation’s first African American woman Fire Chief of Oakland, California, Fire Department.

When you started working in the fire service, were there an even number of women and men in the fire department? How about now?

The fire department in which I work is comprised of about 10% of firefighters who are women-and that is on the progressive side according to national standards. According to the 2010 Census, women make up roughly 4.8 % of firefighters in the fire service in the United States. The first woman to be hired in my department, just recently retired. She is living history in my book!

There are about the same number of women in my department now, as when I started about 15 years ago. Some of the first women have retired and we have a few new women firefighters, but there have, steadily, only been about 8 to 10 women in that span of time out of about 100 to 110 firefighters.

Are there many female firefighters? If not how does it feel to be one?

As you see there are not so many women who are firefighters. But, one of the great things I love about being a woman who is a firefighter is being a role model and mentor for young girls/women. When we go to the schools to talk about fire safety, there is always whispering and pointing, “There’s a girl,” the little people say. I hope to be an example to them-the girls and the boys-that they can do anything they put their minds to.

What are the challenges that women face in the fire service today?

The fire service is steeped in tradition, a para-military organization, so change happens slowly. Lack of facilities-sleeping quarters and bathrooms-are challenges that have been gradually addressed in recent years. Today most fire stations are designed to accommodate separate facilities for men and women.

In the beginning, fire gear was designed for men, so women wore ill-fitting gear, making the job more difficult and dangerous. Over the years, fire departments have become better in providing protective gear that fits all shapes and sizes.

The greatest changes will come as the fire service culture itself shifts. The fire service culture, in regards to women, has been called exclusionary because of under-hiring, glass ceiling, social isolation, and discrimination in the worst cases.

Here is what I see: a new generation of young men, many who come from families where both father and mother worked. A new generation of young men who watched their sisters become independent women. A new generation of young men who live in a changing world. They are more open-minded than many of their predecessors. A new generation of leaders, stepping into positions as examples in which they have the opportunities to be proactive in mentoring and advocating for women. My department sends a group of our women firefighters annually to a local expo, designed to encourage women to enter the field of firefighting. That’s a good first step with a lot of work yet to be done in the creation of an inclusive workplace.

My question would be: how did you earn the respect you deserve in the face of automatic lack of respect which just happens automatically by being a woman in that type of career (even the best intentioned conscious men have it on some level).

A question that gets straight to the point. Here’s my straight answer. The burden of proof lies on the women. Gleaned from experience and conversations I have had with women firefighters over the years, there is a similar version of this feeling of having to constantly prove oneself, long after being hired. I believe this too will shift over time, as it slowly has. While I believe that women still currently bear the burden of proving themselves over and over, I believe the first women fire fighters had many more “eyes on them” and more to “prove” than current women firefighters.

I admire women who go against the grain and choose a career that is male dominated. My question would be: How do you take care of yourself before, during and after a shift at work? Since it is a very masculine field, how do you keep your femininity alive… or do you have to suppress it?

In the beginning of my career I wanted to “blend in” as much as I could, so I did not embrace my full womanhood in my fire career context. I cut my long hair short, and shoved my inner tomboy to the forefront. That got old quick.

I decided I had a lot to offer as a woman and as a firefighter. Today, I believe strongly in being my authentic feminine self, especially as firefighter. The more diverse we can be–in all areas whether in our gender, race, our thinking, our physical, mental or emotional makeup-in the fire service, the greater the pool from which we can pull, when it is time to solve problems on the emergency scene or within our own organizations.