You might be wondering who in their right mind would give such a sexist title to an article. Well, I’ll respond with a phrase that many women hear all-too-often, “let me explain.”
Do-It-Yourself Queen: Elec-Trisha
This article is meant to inspire anyone who believes they are incapable of do-it-yourself projects. It starts off with a petite, pretty girl who in no way is a reflection of the average handywoman. This woman happens to be my wife, Trish.
Trish worked as an electrical associate at a home-improvement warehouse. She worked beside certified electricians who knew the trade for years. Over time, she came to be somewhat of an expert in the field, and was able to provide help to men and women alike. She became a key assistant to many customers as she applied her knowledge to repairs, remodels, and new homes.
Pretty Girls Get No Respect
Trish’s time as an electrical associate carried an unfortunate burden with it because of her appearance. Unfortunately, handy work and good looks don’t go hand-in-hand through the eyes of customers.
My wife was exposed to mistreatment from both men and women throughout her time as an electrical associate. Most often, her knowledge was placed into question whenever she was approached for help. It wasn’t uncommon for customers to walk directly past her in search of “someone who knew something.”
In an atmosphere dominated by men, it is tough to expect a dainty girl to be able to understand the complications associated with wiring. Quite honestly, even I didn’t understand the fullness of my wife’s capabilities until I saw her knowledge put into action.
Years of construction experience has always made me fairly proficient at the very basics of home improvement. So, it wasn’t too hard for me to prepare the basement of our home with the basics before we needed the electrical work done. It wasn’t until I prepared to find an electrician capable of wiring our basement that I was made aware of what my wife’s experiences taught her.
Girl Power Supplied our Power
Before I called an electrician, my wife told me that she knew the exact process for wiring a basement. She hadn’t put her knowledge to action, but she understood all of the principles of wiring a basement. Knowing the high level of respect she was given from her employer and co-workers, I encouraged her to try her knowledge out on our basement.
My wife was able to run the wiring from the control panel throughout the basement without any assistance. She wired fixtures, outlets, and even the TV antenna without asking for any help. It was quite impressive when her project was put to the test and it all worked without any problems.
What I Have Learned
As I sit at my basement desk with my computer plugged into the same outlet my wife wired years ago, I think about how image can affect the things we do. If my wife would have listened to the scoffers who doubted her knowledge because she was a girl, she would never have realized her capabilities.
More important than sitting in a properly wired basement, my wife’s unexpected and seemingly displaced talent helped me realize that all of us are capable of so much more than what we think. The expectations of others, derived from stereotyped classifications are what truly limit our capabilities.
Most of us know what we are capable of, but the risk of humiliation isn’t worth the effort. I have learned from my wife’s experience that negativity only makes us more proficient at what interests us most.
By Bart Vale
Bart Vale writes on behalf of Utah electricians who are prepared to assist do-it-yourselfers when troubles arise. He enjoys using his experiences to motivate readers to become self-reliant. He hopes to help others improve their lives through his writing.