I think you guys are asking some big questions here and touching on some deep issues. That is great. Examining privilege is one of the first steps we take to dismantling it.

My first suggestion is to check out your local library and check out the section on feminism and women's studies. There are a lot of great books on this topic. I love bell hooks, and I'm guessing if you are doing this work, you'll like her too. She is anti-establishment, anti-government and provides a great analysis of these issues.

I'm also offering to talk to you over email one on one. this can be a big topic for a lot of women. To talk about it can be painful and a bit awkward, and it also might bring up a lot of feelings many of us would like to ignore. Feel free to ask a non-male who works a lot in a community bike shop what her experiences are like and how she reacts. Just email me privately.

one example of something that dirves me crazy is when people second guess my work. I am the consistent female mechanics and I haven't seen this happen a lot with the guys. The other week in my own shop, I had a male volunteer whom I hadn't seen in awhile, stand over my shoulder when I was working with someone and tell me how to repack a bottom bracket. I don't think he remembers when I taught him how to repack a bottom bracket, or when I was done teaching him, he grabbed another guy to make sure we had done it right. I wanted to hit him with the wrench I was holding, but instead I asked him to finish the project and I went and started cleaning up. I didn't want to deal with it  or address it at the moment, especially with a client right there.


"When shall we live if not now?" - M.F.K. Fisher

--- On Wed, 10/28/09, Mark Rehder <mark@re-cycles.ca> wrote:

From: Mark Rehder <mark@re-cycles.ca>
Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] Non-male-only bicycle projects
To: info@bikecityrecyclery.org, "The Think Tank" <thethinktank@bikecollectives.org>
Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 8:40 PM

On 28-Oct-09, at 5:49 PM, Bike City wrote:

> Hello everybody,
> I've been mulling over a lot of ideas lately about overthrowing the male
> domination of bicycle co-ops, collectives, recycleries, mechanics, and
> the industry in general.
> Are there any non-males out there who would be interested in discussing
> strategies to whoop the shit out of male privilege? I'd like to set an
> email list up for this purpose, but in the meantime, please email me:
> the.attica@gmail.com
> Thanks,
> andrea

While the tone of this makes it sound like there's some sort of conspiracy (and maybe there is and no one told me about it), as a male I'd personally be interested in what you come up with.

In my other life I'm a musician, and we generally have a history of non-discrimination; you can be male / female / white / black / disabled / whatever - we don't care as long as you can do the gig.

Based on that, I've been kind of surprised that our shop has never been able to recruit an experienced female mechanic.  Women are of course involved with our shop, both as staff and as customers, and I would say at least half of our bike purchasers and a third of our do-it-yourselfers.

I guess the lack is due to so few women mechanics in general.  And is this is a cultural thing (usual suspects of "women are less likely to be mechanically inclined / do not want to get their hands dirty", etc.) or is it deeper than that?  Is there a bias?  Is there gender discrimination?  I imagine that there is, though the idealist in me is appalled at that.

If you can change the status quo I'm all for it!

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