Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Don't We Teach Girls to be Handy?

Let's face it, owning a home can be stressful. But owning a home when you're not the slightest bit handy? Well that can be a nightmare.

Luckily, I have a handy boyfriend. He's completed more repairs and projects around this place than I can ever remember. Just this week he replaced the garbage disposal and fixed a water leak in the toilet. If not for him these repairs would have taken longer to get fixed, been way more of a pain for me to deal with, and cost much more.

Before I met the Boy, any little issue with the home would send me into a tailspin. Instead of seeing a dripping faucet, I saw my money dripping away. My first thought when anything broke was great, how much is this going to cost me? My second thought was to freak out. I'm also lucky to have a handy stepdad who has made many 1.5 hour drives to help with my house crises, but with two houses to maintain already and a full-time job, I feel guilty whenever I need his help. I'm much more calm now that I know the Boy can handle most things, and does so without complaint.

I'm an independent woman in every other area of my life, and was taught to be so. But when it comes to fixing or improving my home and car, I have to depend on others. And I hate it. I'm lucky to have people who are dependable, trustworthy and willing to help in my life, but I've often had to put my trust in strangers, many of whom let me down.

We rarely expect women to do things like fix their own leaky faucets, change their oil or remodel their kitchen. Sure there are women who buck this stereotype and you can find them all over the internet, but in my real life, I don't know any. All the women I know depend on their husbands, boyfriends and fathers for help. I think we're doing a real disservice to women when we don't teach them, or teach ourselves, how to handle some of these tasks on their own. Afterall, we expect men to know how to cook, do laundry and clean these days, so shouldn't we also expect women be able to handle tasks that were traditionally done by men?


Of course I'm not blameless in this situation. Today we have more tools than ever at our fingertips to help us learn these skills on our own, but I haven't taken advantage of them. Nor do I stick around when the Boy is repairing things to try and learn from him. I prefer not to have to deal with these things, but I can't have it both ways. I think its high time I learn how to do more DIY repairs.

What about you, do you think we should teach girls and women how to basic repair and DIY skills?


  1. I couldn't agree more! My best friend is this tiny 100 pound dynamo who has more power tools than most guys I know. She's rather amazing, and knows how to do all sorts of things from construction to automobiles. She actually helped me build a wall to close in the attached garage in my house and make it into usable space.

    And over the years I'm getting better at this stuff (power drills notwithstanding: but I still wish that it was all just second nature to me, which it isn't by a long shot!

    I think the fact that CatMan doesn't live with me helps. We sort of have a system where when something needs attention I take a few pictures and email them to him, then he walks me through what I need to do. And I'm now at the point where I can pretty much handle the simple stuff without help, but I still have a terrible fear of fucking something up horribly, and blowing up the house or cutting off an arm.


    1. Cat - First I have to thank you. Seeing the reply to individual comment option on your blog made me realize it was available on blogger, so I finally figured out how to implement it. So much better. Thanks!

      I have the same fear of causing major harm to my home when I do DIY. Or when boyfriend does it. I can't tell you how much he loves that!

  2. I definitely think we should teach girls these things too - unfortunately I was never taught when I was young, but have sure learned a lot from my husband. I'm more comfortable now with a drill in my hand than a curling iron and love it! :)

  3. I too have a very handy husband who can fix just about anything. He continually amazes me. However, one time when he was off on a road trip for his job the oven broke in an eruption of small flames and a puff of smoke! In my house this is a calamity, I cook daily!! With the help of the internet I ordered a new part, took apart the oven, replaced the broken part, and was very proud of myself. ;) So, I know that I can, if necessary, do these jobs that are less than appealing to me. It was important to show my girls too that you can manage just fine on your own, with or without a handy man. ;)

    1. Go you! I once fixed the dishwasher when it wasn't draining water. Turned out the knockout plug on the garbage disposal was never, well, knocked out!

  4. Oh, I was raised in a manless house, so my mom and I were the handymen at home :) No worries for me whatever happens, which, actually is not that positive for me now, because I never remember that I can rely on my husband, I just go ahead and do whatever I need done :)

    1. Good for you Sonya! Most of my childhood was spent in a manless house too, but mom and I still didn't become handy. Ah well, one is never too old to learn, right?

    2. Never too late, indeed!
      As Аlvin Toffler says: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”


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