[LMB] Construction

Victoria L'Ecuyer vlecuyer at ksu.edu
Tue, 25 Nov 2003 14:34:07 -0600

>That's interesting, and makes for another generational dividing line. I know
>I was taught cooking, sewing (compulsory Home Economics which did not have
>one trace of economics in the curriculum!) but shop of all sorrts was for
>boys, period, end of discussion...

Christine Forber added:
I am 44 and experienced the same thing in the early 70s when I was in Jr
High (grades 7 and 8). We had absolutely no choice. Girls took Home Ec (no,
no economics either), boys took wood working. At high school after that, no
such segregation. However, at that age, I decided I really didn't want to be
the old girl in a wood working class so I made the really idiotic mistake of
taking Home Ec again. If I had to do it over again, I'm not sure I'd take a
shop course, since I don't think I had the self-confidence to stand up to
the boys, but I sure wouldn't take Home Ec!!

I'm 33 and while Home Ec was not required, and girls were allowed in shop, most of the girls took 4 years of Home Ec and boys took either shop or woodworking. There were a couple of exceptions both ways and I was on of them, since I took both Home Ec and Woodworking. All of us who did the "cross discipline thing" were considered
odd/girly/tomboyish anyway, so the social stigmata was expected and didn't really matter (to me at least). Since I'm the youngest in a large family, putting up with the teasing and pranks in wood shop was not a big deal. The shop instructor seemed to appreciate the fact that, while I didn't start things, I always finished them. He was more
of an interested spectator than referee or authority figure in battle between the sexes. His wife was my home-room teacher, so I'm sure he heard about the battle of the wits that went on outside of shop. (It got particularly entertaining my senior year.) The shop instructor backed me up on things like correcting a classmate that Bolshevik
was not the Russian curse word for bullsh1t. He trotted out the dictionary (after one of my half-joking threats) so the word "emasculate" could be looked up. The best shop story I have was the time I was detailing a project. When I concentrate on something, everything goes away. Plus I used to startle easily. One day, my shop mates decided
it would be fun to slam a mallet on the table next to me. After the six foot leap from a seated position, I screamed the equivalent of a war cry and took after the boys (admittedly it was only a loaded paintbrush, but it was still pointy). Since the doorknob on the door leading out of the shop was stiff and took a good, strong twist to open,
there was a four-boy pileup with the last one shouting "Open the door! Open The Door! OPENTHEDOOR!" They escaped un-painted, barely, and the shop teacher laughed his head off at the whole thing. After that, the boys never bothered me much. I don't know if the shop teacher talked to them about it, but I know he never chewed me about "unsafe
conduct" and "horseplay" in the shop.