God Didn’t Give Her A Penis

Edgar Ramsey is frustrated that the world rejects his friends’ hopes and dreams based upon their genitals.

Discrimination always drives me crazy. It is insidious; it permeates all layers and levels of our society. One case in point is when a man or a woman seeks employment in an occupation that our society does not view as “appropriate” for their gender. It does not seem to matter if they enjoy this job and do really well at it; their career is always evaluated though the lens of gender-appropriateness.

My daughter’s ex-boyfriend is not a big macho guy. Instead, he is tall, thin and dresses in a kind of gender-neutral way. When he decided to become a cosmetologist, his father had a fit. He didn’t feel that this was a manly enough occupation for his son. This became a wedge between them. If God had have given this young man a vagina instead of a penis, his occupational choice would have been accepted by his father without question. If he were gay, it would at least have been tolerated. But being a heterosexual young guy, doing nails and hair just doesn’t cut it. I mean why doesn’t he find a real job like, say, be a construction worker?

Well, I have worked in the construction industry my entire adult life. I started as a carpenter’s helper and worked my way up to foreman, superintendent and project manager. I also ran my own construction company for 15 years. For the last 10 years, I have managed the portfolio construction in northern California for a Fortune 100 company.

About 8 years ago, I went to one of my jobsites and got a big surprise: the superintendent was a woman! I didn’t have a problem with that, but it was the first time I had ever met a woman in this traditionally male role. And the first thing she did was shove her cell phone in my face with a large Bush/Chaney sticker on it. I am not a Republican by any stretch; their policies are antithetical to everything I believe in. I told her that I didn’t think it was appropriate to have campaign materials displayed on the jobsite. She asked me if it was okay to have a bumper sticker on her car. I couldn’t argue with that as I had a Kerry/Edwards sticker on mine. Weird introduction, but we have been friends ever since.

My new friend turned out to be a first rate superintendent; one of the best I have worked with. She is extremely dedicated, attentive and proactive. She handles the biggest, toughest guys without a problem. She gets my projects done on time and on budget. And her jobsites are always safe, clean and tidy. She eventually left the company she was working for and got hired by another firm. Within a few months, she introduced her new employer to our company and they too became one of our approved general contractors. My friend continued to do an outstanding job on all the projects she built for me.

The other day, my friend called me up. She sounded pretty down. Apparently the company she has been working for is not giving her any new projects. The only ones she has gotten in the past couple of years are the ones that I have given them, as I always bully them into making her superintendent. She can’t understand why she is constantly being passed over. And remember, she is the one who connected this company to ours; they have gotten many millions of dollars worth of contracts out of the connection she made for them. Without her, they never even would have gotten their foot in our door.

So I thought about her dilemma for a moment and then told her, “The reason you are not getting any work is because God didn’t give you a penis.” She laughed and agreed. Being a woman, she always has to work twice as hard to prove herself. No matter how many successful projects she has completed, she always has to start from scratch and prove herself all over again every time she starts a new one. And I don’t know how her pay stacks up against the other male superintendents in her company, but I would bet she is paid less and her bonuses are smaller.

While we were talking, my friend told me about some of her other experiences as a woman in the construction industry. One time she interviewed with the owner of a large construction company. He was a tough, old-school guy. After the interview was over, he looked her straight in the eyes and said, “I had no intention of hiring you, but I wanted to see what a woman superintendent looked like.” This pigheaded chauvinistic BS really pisses me off! And not just because I love my friend and want to help her, but because she is a first rate construction superintendent! She is better than most of the men I have met in that position. The only thing holding her back is God didn’t give her a penis. Instead, she got a good brain, a kind heart and a beautiful body.

I will never stop fighting for my friends and for all women and men who dare to venture outside of the traditional roles and gender assignments that our society has ordained. Fuck tradition; my daughter’s ex-boyfriend doesn’t need a vagina any more than my female friend needs a penis.

 

Photo courtesy Ernst Moeksis

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About Edgar Ramsey

Edgar Ramsey, 57, is a Canadian composer/songwriter and author living in northern California with his beautiful wife, teenage children, dogs and cats. Besides ramblings on life, politics and his favorite topic: sex. Edgar has written two thriller novels and is currently promoting his vintage rock & pop band, Vinny's Last Ride. A political activist, he is a left of center progressive and a strong believer in compersion and the liberation of female sexuality.

Comments

  1. Anthony Zarat says:

    The Men’s Rights Movement supports women’s efforts to secure equal private sector OPPORTUNITY.

    If the women’s movement supported men’s efforts to secure equal public sector PROTECTION, we could move forward together.

    The problem is, there are very few outposts of stubborn anti-woman sentiment in the private sector (construction is a notable exception). In contrast, men, boys, and fathers face across the board neglect and prejudice from institutions in every branch of government and at at every level of the federal bureaucracy.

    The MRM has so many needs, and has so very little to offer in return. It is not surprising that our extended hand is never taken.

    • TheUglyGirl says:

      “If the women’s movement supported men’s efforts to secure equal public sector PROTECTION, we could move forward together.
      In contrast, men, boys, and fathers face across the board neglect and prejudice from institutions in every branch of government and at at every level of the federal bureaucracy.”

      Could you explain what this means? And offer examples?
      (This is not sarcasm; its an honest question… with a genuine desire to understand.)
      Thanks

      • Randomizer says:

        Though not myself a MRA, there are IMHO a few legitimate issues that they raise. First, men are not generally considered rapeable. Second, the presumption of traditional gender roles in family court (though this one can be overcome sometimes by proper preparation for court). The vulnerability of men in family law to accusations of being abusive – presumption of guilt. And one I actually
        don’t agree with, post-conception reproductive rights for men.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “though this one can be overcome sometimes by proper preparation for court”

        Not so sure about that…

        http://www.marketwatch.com/story/family-law-matters-do-not-belong-in-the-courtroom-says-family-law-attorney-mark-baer-2012-02-22
        Not the article I was looking for, but still. Family law courts are a mess.

        Just to add to your list: the main two categories I’d identify are objectification (as provider or protector) and negative generalisation (such as that men are potential child molesters).

  2. Peter Houlihan says:

    ““I had no intention of hiring you, but I wanted to see what a woman superintendent looked like.””

    Jesus, what a dickhead. Oh well, his loss, and the loss of the company not giving her any work. They’ll all be outcompeted by a company willing to give her a fair shake.

  3. Janet Dell says:

    Is this normal.

    This is at least the second article this week on GMP that I have seen with similar words

    “And I don’t know how her pay stacks up against the other male superintendents in her company, but I would bet she is paid less and her bonuses are smaller.”

    You don’t know about her pay and how it compares to others, but you ASSUME it is smaller.

    Is this why the gender pay gap is so readily accepted by some. People believe that womens pay is smaller in equal jobs but what if it isn’t.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Come on, given the unequal treatment she was clearly experiencing is it all that unreasonable to believe that the company was undervaluing her financially?

      I agree that this shouldn’t be extrapolated to back up the broader gender pay gap myth, but in some sectors (and individual cases) its not all that hard to believe.

      • Janet Dell says:

        It might not be unreasonable to believe but that doesn’t actually make true.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          No, not “true” or “proven fact,” just “highly likely,” which makes it worth saying.

          • Janet Dell says:

            Not Highly likely, likely YES, but not really highly likely

            • I did not say that her pay was smaller, I said I bet it was. Given what I know about her and the company she works for (I know the owner well), I would be willing to put money down on my assumption. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t lose, just that I am confident I wouldn’t .

  4. I too have worked in heavy construction all my life (36 years) as a heavy equiptment operator. While there are several good female operators in my union, there are also what we refer to as “Quota Girls”. That is , when the E.I.C. for the state says “We need 2 women on the job”, The union hall sends out 2 to watch a compressor or generator run all day. The point is , when one of the women sent out is a good operator, she feels very fustrated. She’s become a VICTIM of “set asides” in that people assume she’s not as good as a male operator. This sounds like something maybe your friend has to deal with.

  5. Michael Rowe says:

    What a terrific article. I wonder what the direction of the comments would have been if the piece had focussed on the ex-boyfriend cosmetologist instead of the female construction superintendent. Well done, Mr. Ramsey.

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