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Follow up and thoughts on the gender issue


I don't know if this is too weird/hippy/social sciences for ya...

But it's interesting, I think. So since I tackled my sexist problem, after about a month of painful awkwardness, things are settling in. I'm finally at a point now where I can just work, without being hounded. Or chronically doubted.

You know all that beautiful advice you all gave me? Like keep your head down and focus on your work? Do good work and the kings will find you? Slower ends up being faster if you have a plan? All that stuff??

Beautiful advice. I've been living by it and rocking it. But I can't help but think that this was only possible after quieting the painful noise of chronic gender taunts.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with all this but I feel it's probably useful info for you hiring/training type folks :)

4/8/16       #2: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Rich Kuban  Member

Website: closetexperts.com

Gee, Mel, really? Everyone has some characteristic that can cause them to be singled out. Race, religion, ethnicity, physical appearance, whatever. I am tired of people complaining about being discriminated for it. Whoever, whatever, do the work, excel, and stand up for YOURSELF WITHOUT making an issue of your particular distinction. I am sure you have taken advantage of your distinction at times too, because who hasn't?

Trust us, Mel, the hiring/training folks already know this, it's what they are looking for.

4/8/16       #3: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert

OTOH being true to your viewpoint is the very definition of integrity. I admire Mel for doing this. As long as she wasn't a feminazi about it.

The company will be better for it.

I still wonder about how Lean applies to custom though in respect to opportunity cost?

4/8/16       #4: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Mel raises some interesting points about sexism in the work place. This is a complicated issue because, as Rich points out, discrimination is all around us.

In many ways our society actually promotes this kind of discrimination. In the fervor to protect the disadvantaged whole agencies have been created that extend and institutionalize that disadvantage.

Lou Reed has a song that says "The way Aids needs a vaccine somewhere a vaccine needs Aids".

Prisons needs prisoners. Without the war on drugs a whole lot of policemen, prosecutors, courts and for-profit prisons go out of business.

The same thing has happens with Equal Opportunity commissions. A friend of mine had a cabinetshop with a dozen workers, some of whom did not get along. Problems evolved to the point that one of the workers became curious about whether or not they were being discriminated against. This person went to the state agency to see if they had grounds to sue for discrimination.

The people who work for the state, of course, were happy to obliged. Nobody knew at this time whether the grievance was legitimate but the state was going to leave no rock unturned in order to find out.
As it turned out there was no basis for the claim and every thing returned to normal but in the meanwhile this was a huge distraction for the business owner who had his hands full just keeping the doors open.

In this case the plaintiff only had to make a phone call and the entire resources of the United States Government was on their side of the table. The cabinet shop owner had himself and whoever he could afford to represent him.

It's hard enough to make a profit in this business just paying for the usual expenses. Imagine trying to stay alive while also having to subsidize the plaintiffs anxiety.

This business owner has hired a bunch of people over the years since then. How many of them do you think match the demographic of the plaintiff?

4/8/16       #5: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Thanks folks :)

People can laugh all they want--it's there. Without a shadow of a doubt. I don't mind if I'm the last one standing saying "hey look at this here, it may be important".

As mentioned we all benefit to fix this. I'm seeing it. To put things simply--one can't ask me to both concentrate on my task at hand and remind me of my unfortunate plumbing every 20-30 minutes as a group.

About 1/3 women can tell you just why you don't need a regular reminder that to many you are prey and completely worthless. It kinda screws with your head that needs to chase millimetres all day.

I don't mind saying it out loud. I say lots of things out loud that I should not, but I really do stand by this one.

4/8/16       #6: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert

Just as a reminder before you get on your high horse.

The whole thing about unequal bay is a meme.

Women make the same money as men in equal situations.

In aggregate (as a group) they make less because they work fewer hours, i.e. they take time off for children and generally prefer part time work.

4/9/16       #7: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Kilgore Trout

Cabmaker is describing the ancient philosophy of duality that can be expressed as yin yang. We know female because we know male. Or vice versa. Defining one creates the other that is excluded from the definition.

As soon as a line is drawn, for any reason, separation begins as does duality. Inside and outside, good and bad, experienced and novice, and so on into the distance.

This basis of world view also contributes to the over simplification and institutionalization of various dualities. Two-dimensional descriptions are convenient, but inaccurate. Hence a bureaucracy that is formed to unify is forever drawing lines, defining ever growing dualities, insuring its continued existence thru accident or design.

4/9/16       #8: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...


Life is hard for everybody. It takes a lot just to get through the day. We all have a limited amount of bandwidth & BTUs of energy.

The portion of bandwidth and energy people allocate to being a victim is not available for other purposes.

Think of this as non-value added activity.

4/10/16       #9: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Think nothing is there? Suit yourself, really. If you really believe it suits???

I got what I wanted. The rest is up to you when it comes to your world :)

4/10/16       #10: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

BTW good luck ;)

4/10/16       #11: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I tried pretty hard not to indulge this but screw it, what do I really have to loose?

Cabmaker, go have yourself. Are you actually comparing a rough day in average to a rough day with the wrong plumbing?

I'd love to see you last a day. How good are you with an aggressive peanut gallery of 50 that would sure like to bend you over and let you know about it at every opportunity?

Yes I hit that one hard. Still am. I had to. I still have to.

I'd back out tomorrow if I didn't like chasing millimetres so much. I'd also back out tomorrow if there was a fleet of young men begging to woodwork, that were as good at chasing millimetres as I am.

And also I'd stop today if i didn't think you folks are reachable. At some point. If I only found a way to explain in a way you could understand.

4/10/16       #12: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert

I'd love to see you last a day. How good are you with an aggressive peanut gallery of 50 that would sure like to bend you over and let you know about it at every opportunity?

So you have it tougher than most?

That kind of thinking comes from the dark side.

4/10/16       #13: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

When I apprenticed in the trades it was nothing to have hammers thrown at you, be belittled and nick-named for ages for something stupid you had done, the color of your hair, clothes you wore, and so on. I dont mean to sound like I dont have any sympathy for Mel because for all I know she works in one of the few areas of the great white that still holds to 50 year old ideals but in my world for the past 30 years, and even moreso now with the fragile millenial work force, this type of behavior has for the most part vaporized.

Its not to say there still isnt busting of chops and teasing but it literally pales in comoparison to a mere 30+ years ago. Should it be addressed in the management, of course, but gosh. I know for a fact that none of the young people that work for me would have survived a couple weeks when I was apprenticing in the trades just a mere 30 years ago.

Most every work environment Ive been a part of or even seen in depth is a marshmallow factory compared to the way it use to be.

If you are truly being harassed about being "bent over" then file a complaint, or quit and move somewhere better. Even if I were born and raised there and tied there through family I would have no loyalty to a local mentality which supports or condones such behavior. Its why I broke out of the trades and went on my own. I learned at a young age I dont play well with others so I stay away from others.

Life sucks, there is no point in making it suckier to prove a point.

4/10/16       #14: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I wonder sometimes if being a victim is something you are born with or bred to. A lot of things that we find so discouraging today probably wouldn't have been noticed in the past.

Students at the university I attended 40 years ago have abolished the History department. This is now the hiXtory department. The expression "his" apparently is a trigger that makes people feel marginalized.

Angst is a necessary part of the human condition. Without angst our ancestors would never have lived long enough to breed a stable population. Back in the day you had to keep an eye on every shadow. It could be clouds going in front of the sun or it could be that huge bird that was hunting you like a rabbit.

Fast forward to a ten years ago when I was building a chest of drawers for a dressing room. The drawers had to be very shallow in order to accommodate the scarf collection. In case any of you didn't know this if you stack scarves more than two high you can bruise the silk.

In medieval times I think the story was about a princess who could detect a pea under a stack of mattresses. I think it was the same story teller who wrote about the emperor's new clothes. (In modern times he would have written about architects.)

4/10/16       #15: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert

Good/same point I was making.

IMO divisiveness stems from someone acquiescing to certain things. In this case 1st with the practices at the shop Mel worked at. 2nd Mel becoming a feminazi.
Thus her acquiescing to the expense of their perspective. (the jury is out on this?)

In 100 years what of this will matter? a thousand?

As to the other:

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4/10/16       #16: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

There are so many non-politically correct questions in a situation such at this that its hard to quantify in any realistic measure without Mel (for the hell of it) giving many many more details about the situation.

Its a given in any shop that any individual, regardless of gender, should be judged solely on the merits of their production and performance but we all know thats not true.

Is mell a super hot female operating on a shop floor with a pack of horny wolves? Or is Mel a (to use Pat's word) Femanazi who is spending her time on the floor trying to act like a man, be tough like a man, and expecting to be included in "the pack". Who knows.

I know that my girlfriend at the moment is a very assertive woman. And even though I dont belive in things like "a mans cave" or "a mens only club" she has many many female friends that actively promote and foster womens only nights, events, activities, and so on. I like all of these women and greatly appreciated my interactions with them. But I am flatly, and without question, NOT invited, nor welcomed, at these gatherings... because of "my plumbing". I have made jokes openly that do I need to have a sex change to get to hang out with you guys?

All of that is a joke because I am happy for them to have their time. It doesnt bother me at all. Like individuals like to interact with like individuals. The femanazi movement misses this in that while they want with nothing more to be looked at as "one of the guys" they just miss it in many ways and while it can work here and there it often doesnt work on mass.

The point is throw away all this moral convention and just work. If you have to file a complaint with HR or quit and move... sorry for your luck. Keep your head down and outperform your co workers. I guarantee you it may not happen instantly everywhere, but an environment will come along where you can shine.

Its not a perfect world and never will be. But beating your head against the wall trying to make an imperfect situation perfect is a cause, not a profession. Dont mix the two.

4/10/16       #17: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
David R Sochar Member

I for one was taken in by Mel's high minded dialogue over a year ago that touched on many things, gender issues being one of them. At the time she was gently - so as to not offend - advised to put her head down and get to work and learn the ropes, spend some time at it - years if need be, and then make her complaints once she had earned the respect of her coworkers. When she had learned to produce fine work without comment by or from anyone, to know what she needed to know, this would all stop, or at least cease to be the annoyance it is. When she could work as "hard" as the rest of us.

Regardless of age, disability, hair color, national origin, skin color or gawd knows what - we all went thru it. Right of passage, or whatever, it was - may still be in some form - a fact of working life. It can be criminal, but I doubt it is in her case, same with all the other countless cases over generations - centuries.

A craftsman is a craftsman (or craftswoman if you are more comfortable), and is so because of their accomplishments, not because they have appointed themselves a craftsperson. Or suffered in their own world beyond what Mom and Dad told them to expect as they hovered over every play date, every trophy awarded.

Then after quite a bit of dialogue back and forth, mostly cerebral, Mel posted some pictures of her achievements. These were nice simple projects that any 6 month rookie better be pretty good at to avoid being chased out of most shops. She was, I think, greatly insulted that she was nor celebrated and carried about the shop on palm leaves for achievement in face of insurmountable barriers.

In my experience, there is nothing sadder that the new guy that thinks getting a board square and on dimension is a great achievement and then feels they are - that word: entitled - to praise upon praise. Positive encouragement, with a line or two about a fair beginning, sufficed for me and many, many others. A bit of measured positivity, followed by a dose of humility was more than I learned to expect. My mentors were quiet, quiet people that let their rare voice speak loudly than all the others when it was used. There were never any apologies.

Then there was the 'spoiled kid tirade' - linked - where Mel told us what she really thought about us, using her special insight that would either doom us or shame us into wholesale regret and behavioral change. That is when the jig was up for me. She could not, would not, understand that her observations, her feelings were not only not unique, but were in fact boring. And probably did more to discourage female woodshop employment than anything else she or anyone else could do. She reminded us of our worst hiring nightmares, real or imagined.

I for one am far more productive, engaged, challenged, and happy doing absolutely anything than reading and getting sucked in by this ungrateful noob that has at once extracted great bits of knowledge and experience, only to shoot it thru the grinder into so much filler to be pissed upon.

So now we are to be taken thru the pain of chronic gender taunts. A bit overstated to be sure, but I can believe it is a fair observation - the gender taunt part. I was taunted over being left handed. Bald. Made one thing wrong and wore it for a few years. My coworker suffered thru redheaded taunts. Another got the gay taunts. Another the black taunts. One was saddled with the horrible fate of being the 'pretty boy' for his good looks. Somehow we all survived. Like boot camp or the false sincerity of a fraternity initiation, it only served to bond us together, to learn that the work we were doing would do far more damage to our psyches if we truly were incapable than the catcalls and jokes. We learned where to put our priorities, and we learned to deal with the real issues at hand. Not the manufactured issues that were heaped on us as distractions, and lesson plans, as slight hurdles in our path. But the real thing.

Respectfully Mel, you need to grow up before you are ready for anything other than low level production work.

I was right all along. Woodworking....

4/10/16       #18: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...


You are being too harsh with Mel.

I think she is very thoughtful and obviously cares a lot about this industry and her position within it. With some seasoning she will rise far above the average complacent woodworker we find in our shops.

She does need some perspective. This part is true. We just don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater here.

Mel, you have helped this forum a lot and I hope you continue to be a major contributor, if only to be the yin to Gilbert's yang.

4/10/16       #19: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...


You obviously can hold several thoughts in your head at one time while you are working. Have you read Dostoyevsky's novel "Crime & Punishment"?
In it he postulates that you only have to think the crime to commit it.

These men who are leering at you are obviously responding to biological imperative (manifest destiny so to speak). Would their crime be any less present with better socialization skills?

Put another way, are men really any different than women?

4/10/16       #20: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
rich c.

Well said David!

4/11/16       #21: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Rube Kanarsky Member

As Will Rogers once said about politicians, and applies here as well:

"I tend to ignore them. Paying them any mind just encourages them."

4/11/16       #22: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
D Brown

Well , Mel has placed herself in an all male work force for the most part . Perhaps if one of us older beat up woodworkers went to work in a manicure shop or any other mostly all female work force , chances are that we would not be any more well received than Mel . I missed any pictures of Mel's work but if she is good enough her best bet may be to open her own shop then she can hire anyone she wants when she owns the business.

Life is hard and not always fair

4/11/16       #23: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Actually Mel, becoming a chef seems a lot more interesting, plus you can eat your mistakes. So many of us have been employers of people that had dreams of it being much different than the reality. If you really want to work your way, the suggestion to start your own business makes sense. BTW, being boss isn't all its cracked up to be either.

4/11/16       #24: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

"BTW, being boss isn't all its cracked up to be either."

You can say that again. That is perhaps one of THE most undermining posts of this go around. Its always the young go-getters who come out of the gate thinking the boss has the world by the short hairs and is living the life. The people who have been around a while wouldnt trade places with you for all the tea in China.

One of the best lines of the past five years of my life was when the girl I'm currently seeing said "man... you have no 5 O'clock". She finishes her work at her designated time and at that moment her life is hers. Her salary is deposited into her bank account every other week. Her statement comes in the mail every few months showing her how much her retirement contributions have increased or decreased. She Christmas shops every year with nary a concern because she has a Christmas club setup as part of her salary deduction. Copious quantities of vacation time and sick leave and more accruing with each hour she works.

Meanwhile I am doing paperwork at night while watching TV. Meeting customers on weekends. Tossing an turning at night when things are slow. Tossing and turning at night when things are busy.

But we grumpy old boss'men... oh well.

4/11/16       #25: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
David R Sochar Member

We were about 3 IPA's into it a couple of years ago when a friend that was also a life long business owner of a wood shop said "It's not so much a job as it is a lifestyle. No matter what, there is always more to do, and there are things that get ignored. I could make perfect things, but have never had a perfect business."

4/11/16       #26: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

On a slightly different tack imagine the horror of being a woman that not a single man in that shop paid attention to.

My hunch is that if I was a woman I'd want a balance somewhere in the middle.

4/11/16       #27: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pinestraw 2016

I don't know what is wrong with you guys, when you become the owner, you make your own hours, always make a profit, and the workers are always great?

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4/12/16       #28: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Tom G

It seems that these days everybody wants the green but not the black and blue .

4/12/16       #29: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I don't get on here that often because we are a one of each custom furniture manufacturer. When I do get on inevitably there is a Mel-o-drama griping thread. I have come to one conclusion: if anyone male or female named Mel comes looking for a job here I am throwing him/her out the door.

4/12/16       #30: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...


You need to chill.

Mel makes great contributions to this website. She is a welcome addition.

4/12/16       #31: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Mel hasn't alienated this audience. She has provoked it. Whether or not we agree with her we should at least validate that her opinion is at least as important to her as ours is to us.

Like Trump, she is often wrong.
Unlike Trump she sometimes comes around and even admits a little bit that her perspective has been changed a little bit. I know that she has certainly changed mine in the past but that's no big deal. Pat Gilbert has even occasionally given me pause to think.

Pat, however, is right that the youth of today can be a bit whiney. I put it down to training. They just need more training.

4/13/16       #32: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Ugh. I don't generally post on here in general (though I enjoy reading everything) and especially not on anything quasi political.

As someone in between an 'old timer' and a millenial, employer of 10 (men), and father of two daughters who I want to grow up and kick ass, this thread makes me sad and kind of laugh at the same time.

The defensiveness of the guys who have posted here is telling. She raises valid points & if you deny it you're kidding yourself. Yes discrimination is everywhere against everyone for all reasons. Yes guys give each other shit all the time & harass the new guy more than anyone. Yes you should just keep your head down and do the work.

If you can't sympathize at all with the idea that a woman working in the average woodshop probably has a larger load of crap to deal with to do the same job you are kidding yourself. We would all benefit from at least not denying it - it's no one's job to 'solve' it but don't convince yourself that pointing out the obvious is just whining -

4/13/16       #33: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Go Bernie


"Pointing out the obvious" is one thing. Histrionics is quite another.

Your daughters will likely be much more successful at "kicking ass" if they can differentiate between the two approaches.

I have no way of knowing for sure but I suspect Mel too would be more successful at work with less of a (well deserved) chip on her shoulder.

Mel does raise some legitimate points. Myself, I too had a moment of sadness today. I went to the website of my health care provider and noticed that amongst all the pictures of healthy health care customers on their site not one of them was within two decades of my age.

This made me feel very bad about myself for reasons that I can't do anything about.

4/17/16       #34: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

All right, Gentlemen, lets just do this properly.

I assert that sexism is absolutely devastating in trades. It somehow annoys the crap out of most of you.

There are really 3 options to start with.

1. I am totally wrong.
2. I am totally right
3. Neither, but I got something I deserve.

I'd allow for any of those. I'd correct if I had it wrong. But I'm also disgusted at how many of you knee-jerked into "Mel is making this up". Not surprised, but honestly disgusted.

So lets tackle this.

1. I am wrong. So I imagined all of this because I was brainwashed by college or some sort of scenario.

Could happen. But tell me why:

a) when I brought this up it was recognized by every layer of the shop, including the owner.

b) when I made this stop it was applauded by all layers of the shop

c) the young girls are now doing real work without harassment

d) The first memo got posted in the women's washroom (they usually only get posted above the urinals)

e) I have not, since my massive slap-down, heard a single thing that makes me want to punch a wall.

Why is life so different? All in my mind? Sure.

I can't blame you for not knowing what is going on. But I can blame you for shitting on a person that is telling you what is going on, very frankly, when you have staffing issues that could be easily solved if you could just stop being that type of business owner.

2. I'm wrong. Lets just say I'm off my rocker. Could happen for sure. Then why is anyone, anywhere, still indulging me? If I'm that far off, you folks would attack the content, not the character.

I'm not mad, but I'm feeling pretty disillusioned by most of you.

Btw David-- if you could not handle my angry post, you could not last a day as a woman. You just have no idea.

3. I deserve this. Well, you tell me. Maybe my stained wife-beater was very attractive. That is an open invite for abuse, right?

So this should be nice and rich... tell me. Tell me where I have erred. Tell me if I should just tolerate this. Tell me to shut up. Tell me I'm full of it. Bring it. I'd love to see your brilliant ideas on how I should be "controlling" this.

4/17/16       #35: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

btw when is the last time the finisher texted you at midnight to let you know that you make him want to saw his d off? Yeah, that's right, never. Come tell me how to manage this. Enlighten me please.

4/18/16       #36: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Kevin Jenness

Mel, I agree that the behavior you described is unacceptable and have no reason to think you imagined or invented it.You did the right thing by protesting to management and it seems you got results without completely extinguishing the attitudes that produced it. Good for you. Plenty of people, not just women, put up with that sort of crap in the workplace because they feel they have no choice.

Hazing of any kind is counterproductive despite its long acceptance. It doesn't, in my opinion, have any productive role in the trades. Keeping good young people in what Bud MacIntosh long ago called "this miserable occupation" is hard enough without positively mistreating them in an attempt to build character.

That said, the pushback against you on this thread is not, I think, based strictly on your current issue. Your apparently "drunk-dialled" post of a couple months ago berating antediluvian shop owners as a class was bound to raise some hackles, and you have a record here of being a bumptious ingenue who usually talks more than listens. Please don't take this as hostility on my part. Consider that when you have provoked even the normally judicious David S. to denounce you you may have gone a bit over the line.

I wish you luck in your woodworking career. If you are as good as you seem to think you are at this early stage and stick it out you should become a credit to those who mentored you. No doubt , like most young woodworkers with similar self-regard, you will start your own business and experience the frustrations of the business from that side.

4/19/16       #37: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

Boy, I wish I could add something to Kevin's response but that would be tough.

Gender aside, if you cant get along in this forum (go try a bunch of the others out there) its on you. This forum gives us lowly climbers of the ladder the gracious benefit of interacting with many of the most experienced and elite in this craft (though I know of none who have the slightest attitude of elitism).

If you cant find the humility to deal with what you get here, your likely not going to find it anywhere.

4/20/16       #38: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...


I humbly disagree with you.

Humility is for people who ought to be humble.

Many of Mel's insights are very profound for someone with her level of experience. She does need some seasoning and would prosper more with slightly thicker skin but some of the contributions she has made on this forum show great insight and wisdom.

There is, of course, no way she could compete with the insight many of the veterans on this site can offer, but compare her to the average young worker in your own shop. Not many of them, I would guess, have the chutzpah and passion she brings to the table.

She does lead with her chin. So what?
My product wouldn't be where it is today without a certain level of arrogance on my part either.

Give her time. She will start to fill those shoes.

4/20/16       #39: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Cabmaker- You are starting to confuse passion with a malcontent employee that will never be satisfied with the company or the current position. I have a background in business as a corporate executive. My last job I had 156 employees and another 175 customers. I know the difference between a motivated person who talks about how to move the company up and forward and one that is all about their own little world.

Please list the positive contributions you mention and how we can use them in our day to day business. If you actually believe any professional owner would ignore sexual harassment complaints in this litigious time then good luck in handling your business.

4/20/16       #40: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

I dont disagree with anything in your response Cabmaker. Sadly all anyone has to go on in a situation like this is a gut shot assumption based on all of the information given. Certain things in these exchanges likely give me a different gut shot than you. The term "stained wife beater" is a very interesting one to me personally.

I agree with Glen that I find it hard to believe any shop in North America would be ignoring or ignorant to any form of discrimination given the current climate. But as I said in reply, maybe Mel is operating in one of the remote/rare areas that operates as if it were fifty years ago. If thats the case, for many more reasons than employment, I would move.

There are tons of questions politically correct, and many incorrect that one would love to ask in this situation but they are best left for a frosty glass at the bar.

I agree with your summary of conviction as opposed to complacency but "the cause" factor is a hard one to deal with and I am in no way insinuating that Mel is fibbing, or over-reacting. But if your having a late night text conversation with someone in the context mentioned, they likely got your number, youve likely been interacting, and there are likely issues there that are far deeper that simply being a woman on the shop floor.

This is an impossible format to resolve an issue like this which likely has hundreds of details that are not factored in to any conclusions.

None the less, the forum has been quite so at least its something to read.

4/25/16       #41: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I only log into here once in a while now. It's cause it's a hard thing to do.

It is a valid question to wonder if "She pisses us off and we are the more thoughtful end of the spectrum. Maybe she has a problem?"

Maybe I do. The sex talk still hurts like hell tho. I'm not really sure what that means. What is the conclusion again?

I'm on all sorts of forums between all my hobbies and political interests. This is the only one where I offend people regularly without trying.

By the way most of you have been this belligerent about millenials. And wondered why I was so upset.

You folks have seemed angry, to me anyways, since day one. You still seem like an angry bunch. I'm not sure what level of experience would make me feel different.

4/25/16       #42: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I had to shove someone in the chest and tell him to stay away from me today.

I fully expect most of you to construct a rationnelle for it. But keep it in the brain bank maybe it'll come back to you one day.

4/25/16       #43: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Also--- in our original gender thread (which btw would make any office worker cringe and then some), it was mentioned by several that we don't not want some evil women distracting man work with curves and whatnot.

Well what happens when your curve bearer is more focused than your average dumbass? Then what?

4/25/16       #44: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I would say and agree that sexism, racism, and all the other things that are hurtful are not acceptable in the work place. The problem is, a lot of employees who are weak performance wise use these other thinks as a crutch. These people are not really picking on you because of your gender, but more likely because you are poor at your trade, Don't get the two mixed up.

4/26/16       #45: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Sorry JSO but that's absolute nonsense. You clearly have no idea how bullying or harassment work. People get victimised for all sorts of reasons and it rarely is because they are poor at their trade. In my experience the reverse is more likely, people feel threatened by those with more skill.

That being said I have no idea what the situation with Mel is but to dismiss her frankly disturbing description of sexual harassment as simply being brought on herself because she is poor at her trade is appalling. Do you believe the incidents that Mel has described would be acceptable if she was a poor worker? That kind of logic is almost akin to the concept of women being held to blame for their rape because of how they are dressed!

I am sure a number of you have daughters. How would you feel is they came to you and told you they had received this treatment. Would your answer be, " Get over it! And get on with it! " ???


4/26/16       #46: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
David Waldmann  Member

Website: vermonthardwoods.com

"I am sure a number of you have daughters. How would you feel is they came to you and told you they had received this treatment. Would your answer be, " Get over it! And get on with it! " ???


Great post. Thanks

4/26/16       #47: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert AKA Pinestraw

One other thing that is worthy of note.

Whenever there is a continuous conflict there is always a 3rd party creating it and they are unknown.

E.G. in the middle east the country that never gets mentioned despite the fact that they have financed many conflicts and all of the terrorists that were involved in 9/11 were from this country. And despite what the talking heads tell you it is not Iran. They also have the record for the most executions in one day.

Or the divorce lawyers who profit from conflict.

Or the Gloria Steinem types who plant the seed that women have been oppressed. Statistically speaking about pay this is pure nonsense.

4/26/16       #48: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Puzzleman Member

Great post Richard.

My daughter is a strong person and stands up for what she thinks is right. If any one gives her sass, she can give it right back (probably part of what she learned from her dad).

If any one of the things that Mel reported happened to my daughter, I would have a big issue with that company and would strongly suggest that she take legal / government action. Just one of those comments is totally out of the bounds of decency and respect.

People talk about having respect for their coworker / employees / other people.
However, it seems to me that when it comes down to it, everyone wants to belittle someone else so that they feel better about themselves. I catch myself doing it from time to time and fight myself to get my thoughts back under control. My personal problem is not with females but rather over obese sized people. I know that they may have physical problems as to why it happens in some cases but other cases are things within their control.

So to you people that are morbidly obese and cannot see your shoes nor belt buckle, this is the same issue. Except that being female is something you are born into and is the way you are. Being obese is a choice and you have the control to make yourself healthier and lower the cost of health insurance for everyone. Same could be said of smokers and smoking.

Do not cast stones at others until all of your issues are resolved and you are a perfect person in all areas.

Mel, get the Canadian version of the EEOC involved. If you have to resort to physically pushing people away, there is a SERIOUS problem there.

4/26/16       #49: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Pat Gilbert AKA Pinestraw, I am unsure what the relevance of your post is? The situation Mel is referring to has nothing to do with pay disparity rather quite serious abusive behavior. Conflating the two issues and then discrediting the situation based on an argument that pay disparity is statistically untrue is at best ignorant.

Mellem, you have a limited capacity for compassion if you see this as a reason to sue for assault.

4/26/16       #50: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Paul Downs

I think that Richard has it right. It's always hard for those who haven't been subjected to prejudice to believe how it plays out day to day, even when all evidence is otherwise. I've been in a lot of shops and met a lot of woodworkers, and nothing Mel has said strikes me as unlikely. There's a very strong streak here of rejecting the message because every little thing about the messenger is not, to some people, just as they wish.

4/26/16       #51: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Mark B Member

Good lord...
Screw it...

Mel... direct question... whats the deal? Honestly? Put it all out there. All of it..

Are you married, single, involved, polyamory, heterosexual, lesbian? Whats your political bent? The questions go on and on and on and not because you may be in one or more of the aforementioned categories (or many more) but because many of these speak clearly to an individuals temperament and how one interacts with others.

I have many friends who are in the non-standard categories and to put it bluntly, they unfortunately often times dont interact well with others. They try to overcompensate in areas where they fall short and they under compensate in areas where they are strong. It make for very very difficult interactions at times.

Are we as a society suppose to be somewhat accommodating, yes, without a doubt. Will we ever get it perfectly, no. Sadly the burden is on the other person to persevere (not through criminal wrong doing) while change takes place.

You say its hard for you to log in here? I find it unbelievably hard to believe that being on multiple forums and groups, especially political ones, that this is the worst place you are treated (not that you deserve to be treated badly). I have frequented many online political forums and you may as well be walking into a room full of flame throwers and be ready for it. They will eat you alive.

This place is romper room compared to that world.

I applaud the smart individuals who have simply stepped out of these interactions because they are turning less than productive but I still find myself fascinated by why you seem to be having such a difficult time in your workplace. The compassionate side of me wants beyond anything to find out that its just that your in a super nasty place and have no other option. The rational side of me knows there has got to be more to the story.

4/26/16       #52: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert AKA Pinestraw


Re read my post this time for comprehension.

I challenge you to find an exception to it!

4/26/16       #53: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Thanks guys--this is the stuff I want to get at. Even if it gets me all sorts of weird accusations--I know the right people will get it.

Wanna dig? Let's dig.

I'm a 33 year old married mother of a 2.5 year old. I've been married for 10 years this June. We are very tight and we discuss this stuff all the time.

It's funny-if you prevent me from doing serious work over gender, I apparently loose it and hit the ground hard. I know I can rationally discuss such a thing.

When it comes to uncomfortable and misplaced sexuality, I never talk to anyone about it. I don't know if I'm right, but I somehow feel like it's my fight to fight and no one elses.

Does that make any sense?

4/26/16       #54: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I've seen my own mind crumble lately. This link is relevant. I also hit all the very sad points of reactions to work bullying.

I'm not weak. This sucked. I'd like to hope it can happen less often.

TED video

4/26/16       #55: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Sorry for the third post... but man, you guys have no idea just how much this stuff hurts to the core. And how hard it is to assert, and stand by. I really hope some of you get it. Just in case you ever have some sort of control, in anyone else's life, that might need this knowledge.

Trust me, no one else will hit it as hard as I did in your shop. For a reason-- it doesn't feel good. Actually I wouldn't suggest it to anyone. Yeah you may win, but your everything gets torn open en route.

No one needs that. I'm just hear like a heart broken fool begging you all to hire women and take care of them. You'll be surprised what you get back for that effort.

4/27/16       #56: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Kevin Jenness

Pat Gilbert, when you are reduced to accusing your reader of not understanding your point, the fault is often not in the reader but in your writing. Go back and read your post for comprehension from the point of view of someone not riding your hobbyhorse. If you think the unseen influence in Mel's case is a women's rights lawyer say so clearly.

Putting male/female pay disparities aside, do you really mean to say that women have not been oppressed and do not currently endure abuse in the workplace? Mel's experience shows the opposite, and whether or not she wears a torn wifebeater or is married or lesbian or has a particular political bent has no relevance to being subjected to the behavior she describes. The workplace is a place to work. Many other things happen there as well, good and bad, but no-one should be made to feel unsafe because of gender issues. Judging by the frequent complaints on this forum of the paucity of honest and committed let alone competent employee candidates, the trade can scarcely afford to alienate 51% of the potential workforce. I hope the management at Mel's shop takes heed, or there may well be a women's/labor rights lawyer in their future.

Mel, I am sorry you have to deal with this. I hope that you can get more support within your shop. Changing a subculture is not easy, bu management can enforce behavior and set a tone for the operation. As you say, it is clearly causing you a lot of stress., Still, it doesn't help your cause to say things like "You folks have seemed angry, to me anyways, since day one. You still seem like an angry bunch." Maybe, like Pat, you should preview your thoughts from the perspective of your audience before posting. Good luck.

4/27/16       #57: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Robert Member

Dear Abby,Instead of continuing your education at the University of Oh Woe is Me just quit and open your own shop.Jeeeze Louise.

4/27/16       #58: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
pat gilbert

"Putting male/female pay disparities aside, do you really mean to say that women have not been oppressed and do not currently endure abuse in the workplace? "

As stated in the post, I'm saying that where conflict exists there is a 3rd party creating it.

Usually by insidious methods.

I have seen women work in this industry without a problem.

Women don't usually gravitate to this sort of work. Just like the overwhelming majority of veterinarians are women.

In any case where there is conflict there is someone unsuspected creating it.

4/27/16       #59: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Puzzleman Member

Mel, Is there an employee handbook at your workplace? If so, it should cover everything that you described and how it is to be dealt with.

Which brings up the question of how many of our companies have an employee handbook? If you do, is it used to handle situations as they arise or does it collect dust in the corner?

I have one for my shop and I have over 2 pages that talk about discrimination, bullying, actions that are to be taken and not taken and resolving issues.

This type of situation would not even get 15 minutes of time in the shop as it would be nipped in the bud.

4/27/16       #60: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Kevin Jenness


Color me simpleminded but I don't think it is necessary to search for an insidious third party. One with an attitude is enough to bring on a conflict.

It is true, unfortunately, that few women gravitate to this line of work. Why do you suppose that is the case?

4/27/16       #61: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I clearly said that any kind of harassment is unacceptable in the work place. BTW I do have daughters and agree I would not stand for any kind of harassment.

As for knowing about bullying and harassment in the work place I am one of 5 managers supervising over 200 employees, I have been to more leadership courses and conflict resolution courses than you can imagine. The last leadership course was on strictly dealing with the different generations from the Gen X folks all the way to the Millenials. The Gen X folks were given an order and off the went and did it, the same order given to a Millenial, questions like why do I need to do this are asked, and when told, and they think it is a reasonable answer, off they go and complete the task.

What I was saying, and I wasn't talking about Mel, a lot of people use there situation as a crutch. Lets say Barbera as an example is supposed to clean up the edge banding on material coming out of the edgebander and she is using a chisel and she is damaging every 5th piece. What would you do?? As a supervisor you might say, I think maybe you should try this technique, or maybe use a sanding block or maybe go slower, until you get better at it. You might also make her do a lot more of it, or you might get frustrated and move her to a totally different task.
Sometimes and you would be surprised about how often it happens? The employee will say you are making me do this day after day because, of my gender, my race, my sexual preference, because you don't like me or various other reasons, and the truth was you just thought practice would make her better.
These issues can also be brought on by companies who in the past had uniforms or company shirts, hair policies, smoking policies and the list goes on. I can't smoke in the shop, why? Most employees would realize it is a fire hazard, some on the other hand would say it is because you don't like me, or because of my gender, or whatever.

In conflict resolution one of the first steps is to investigate, talk to all the people involved and gather all the facts. In Mel's case we don't have all the facts.

4/27/16       #62: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
pat gilbert


Yes, most Secretaries of State say the same thing.

I had an employee a while back who was probably the most resourceful and dependable worker I ever had. About every 2 to 3 weeks we would get into a disagreement about something. One day he noticed that we had not had a disagreement for about about 3 months.
I said that is true, so I asked what changed 3 months ago? He said that is when I fired worker X.

Previous to this time I also had a hard time keeping employees after Mr X was fired that problem ceased to that degree.

Anyway I found this observation to be useful, take it or leave it.

4/28/16       #63: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Folks yes!! You are getting a window into my eyes by the varied responses. This is what you face. You never know who you land on when you do business.

So it seems simple, right? You get harassed you complain and get it fixed. But it doesn't work that way. If you sit down with people, even the best of people, and mention something like this, it gets met with a big huge load of self-protective aggression.

As it should, I guess. I don;t blame anyone for it. We are all trying to take care of our own skin and our family's skin. But sometimes I wish we could get a little fancier then that.

Dreamer? I dunno. You tell me?

4/28/16       #64: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Tim Schultz


You wrote: "You never know who you land on when you do business."

Have you been doubling down on your cold medicine again?

If you want lucid responses ask lucid questions.

4/28/16       #65: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Paul Downs

Here's how things go down in a different workplace (see link below). Clearly there are men who have very troubling ideas about women working in male-dominated professions. Still think this can't happen in a woodshop?

Social Media, Where Sports Fans Congrega

4/28/16       #66: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
pat gilbert

I have also found this to be interesting, in how these things get started.

As always take it or leave it. (I don't care)

None the less, there is a certain amount of truth that women are better at some things and men are better at others.

How propaganda gets spread

4/29/16       #67: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Kevin Jenness


An interesting lecture in a general way, but what does it have to do with the issue at hand? What do you mean by "how these things get started"? Are you suggesting that the idea that women are subjected to abuse for working in a male dominated field is a "dangerous meme"? Do you think that men are inherently better than women at making objects of wood and wood-like products? Is it possible that some women avoid the trade because of a perception of negative attitudes towards them? Does it matter?

4/29/16       #68: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Pat Gilbert


Just what the speaker indicates. E.G.:

The FDA says eating fatty foods causes obesity.

Gloria Steinum says women are under paid.

Polticians say that big evil business... despite the fact that the free market is the very catalyst of the modern standard of livlng

Or it is important to be PC

Clearly women are better at some things and men others. What percentage of professional athletes are black? What percentage of STEM students are Asian?

For sure it all matters, but at the end of the day it is about communication, the aforementioned are impediments to communication.

4/30/16       #69: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Puzzleman Member

Where is the employee manual that covers these situations? I have a small company of less than 10 people but even I have a manual that covers these issues and what is to happen if these acts take place.

If they have a manual, pull it out and use it like a weapon to counter-attack these stupid comments.

Also if these comments are allowed it is done with management approval, if not overtly then they do it by not stopping it.

4/30/16       #70: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Robert Member

Enough already...everything that can possibly be said has been said. Either you leave that shop and go open your own shop or you stay put and keep complaining and complaining and complaining. Jeeeeeze Louise.

5/1/16       #71: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Thank goodness none of us ever faced any difficulty or poorly behaved coworkers or mean bosses in our careers.

Thanks for drawing back the veil, Mel, I had no idea that some people were so rude.

5/4/16       #72: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Oh maybe.... oh maybe, I am this fowl idiot that does not know that the world is cruel. Feel free to propagate that one, cause quite frankly you could all banish me tomorrow and I'd still know you were wrong.

Information on unwanted sexual aggressionÖ.

1 in 5 women, and that is of all women you know, have been unwantedly sexually aggressed. Reported-- not even anywhere close to estimated. And no one wants to report, trust me.†

This seems to be a prevailing statistic, as in one in five of your daughters, nieces, wives, and mothers, are likely to be or have been unwantingly sexually aggressed. Think about that for a moment.

Now let me know how great a joke unwanted sexual aggression is. And how small of a deal you think it is. Seriously, bring it.†

Canít stomach any of these thoughts? I canít either. Donít remind me of it 5 times a day at work. I donít know what the answer is, but Iím pretty sure the status quo is not covering it.

5/4/16       #73: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Family Man

Nobody is saying it doesn't happen. What we are saying is you are telling a small portion of the story.

Everybody takes shit- the fat, the ugly, the man, the mexican, the bald, the geek, the scrawny guy, the christian,. etc Most every single person is on somebody's radar and hit list. It's life and as men we know we have to deal with it.

But few wear the victim card as well as the feminist- in fact it has become the mission of their life. And the chip on your shoulder and the drama you have shown over a couple year period- we are calling a spade a spade.

Somehow in a workforce were you compose the majority of it, were you spend 80% of the money in family finiances, were you are convicted of a small fraction of the crime, yet serve a small fraction of the time when convicted, where you iginiate divorce 75% of the time and yet receive 97% of ailimony and the vast majority of custody. Somehow in that world you are still vastly taken advantage up.

There is a reason a finisher is texting you at midnight. Why the hell does the finisher have your number? Why the hell are you wearing a wife beater in front of 30 men and then complaining about the attention it gets. You are either dense or you love drama.

Neither have you, while claiming to be a beautiful woman, once remarked how grateful you should be for how the world is vastly easier place for you.

You see Mel, you are a grown up now. And everybody has to deal with shit and problems. Not just you. We realized the world does not revolve around us a long time ago- it might be time for you to take learn that lesson.

5/4/16       #74: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Robert Member

Survey saaaaays... you are dense and love drama and are a glutton for punishment.And behind door number three.....a lawyer looking to sue.That seems to be your goal.

5/4/16       #75: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Paul Downs

Family Man, Robert, and others: you're making Mel's case for her. For the record, I'm a male, college educated, and can't think of a single moment of being harassed in any workplace I've been in. 30+ years now. Harassment of any variety is not a requirement for adult life, and why anyone puts up with any variety of it is a darn good question.

5/4/16       #76: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I have not posted on this thread yet, but I'll offer this.

As business owners, we have a lot of stuff on our plate. It is an exceptionally difficult job to run a successful company, fraught with pitfalls every hour of every day. We deal with our own share of despicable people, and we choose to either stomach it or not work for them ever again.

So when these kinds of issues come up in the shop, we listen patiently, we assess, we balance the pros and cons, and we try to fix it as quickly and fairly as possible. After all, we have our own shit to deal with. I have in the past dealt with issues like this where 1 employee, for whatever reason, seams to be the source of a problem. That employee on every occassion will swear that they are in the right, and they very well may be. But my priority is not to change human nature, its to make money. So in every case, the majority rules.

This thread has convinced me not to ever hire a woman. Not because anything Mel said is untrue, but because I don't need this shit. The more statistics that Mel quotes the more it solidifies my stance. I'm not interested in changing the nature of man. More specifically, I am not interested in implementing and upholding a company policy that attempts to change the nature of man.

So with all due respect Mel, everything you have said may be true. It changes nothing. You're the problem, not because what you say is not happening, but because it IS happening. These are cultural problems of which I have no interest in wasting my time on.

So, by now you have come to realize that you're not going to get the sympathetic ear on this forum that you had hoped for. You think all of us are bad people because of it. So be it, we simply don't care. We have our own list of shit to deal with and your kind of plight only adds to our list of shit. I recommend you move on to another trade.

5/4/16       #77: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Family Man

No we are not making Mel's point for her. The point we are making that any pretty woman handing out her phone number and wearing a wife beater around a shop full males is going to attract some (un)wanted attention. Anybody knows this. The chip on Mel's shoulder the size of an urban city in which she has constantly over the years shown, with a large dose of everyone else is the problem and not me adds to our stance.

I know that as a large white conservative christian male I have to handle myself differently in different environments. If I'm in a room of 30 men or women, whether alone with a single woman or a single man, whether I'm walking a country street or in the hood. Whether I'm Montana or the middle east. I'd not only be an idiot to not realize this, but I'd be a bigger idiot to expect everyone else to change for me-no matter how I act. But that is what Mel is expecting. Mel has been the victim now at one shop, then in a job hunt, now in a second shop...three scenarios with only one constant variable- Mel.

5/4/16       #78: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...
Robert Member

Not making any case Paul. She is willingly participating in the hand she is being dealt and as long as she stays in the game of her own free will, she will either keep bluffing or fold.

5/6/16       #79: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I have been subjected to all kinds of racial and sexual harassment. I am a straight white man who can handle it. Sometimes that meant leaving that place of employment, other times it meant making sure that my tormentor left.

In any case, to say that only women get harassed is beyond stupid.

5/7/16       #80: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

I've tackled my last problem person yesterday.

I've had problems with a sexually domineering project manager. We're talking straight up stand-overs and pervio talk when alone on a daily basis.

I snapped yesterday. I can't post what I told him here, but I can assure you, he is not about to forget it.

He tried to protest, but I shooed him back up to his office. I slammed my fist on the bench and told him to go. And he did without a word.

He took it. He went back up.

Now that's fine and all-- I scolded a bad dog and put him back in his kennel. But is this something to celebrate?

You guys have the brains and the power and the control to protect someone like me. And guess what? I work better without harassment. Do you need stats to tell you that workers are happier unharassed? I can locate them but I'd judge you for needing them.

5/7/16       #81: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

"She is willingly participating in the hand she is being dealt and as long as she stays in the game of her own free will, she will either keep bluffing or fold."

Let me know where I am bluffing. I'm way more open to killing this horrible feeling then you are. I'm serious. Ask me anything.

5/7/16       #82: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

btw anyone who says that this is proof to never hire women--- I encourage you to never hire women.

Trust me no woman deserves you unless they are like you, and part of your messy self directed life.

5/7/16       #83: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Wait sec guys... I glossed over something important, I think.

A lot of you are reproaching me of being full of fight. I never thought to stop and think about it because yes, indeed, I am full of fight. I just assumed it was a common understanding.

But it just occurred to me that some of you are kinda asking---is it a good idea to fight that hard? That is such a fair question.

The way I see it is that if what I am asserting is indeed true, would that scenario not warrant a fight?

What would you do?

5/7/16       #84: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

If anyone else read this thread and felt a bit of a pit in their stomach--- yeah buddy, me too.

5/13/16       #85: Follow up and thoughts on the gende ...

Wow, what a drama queen you are. I read this thread and I was ready to jump in front of a bus. Please go somewhere else and ruin someone else's forum.
I remember when this used to be such a great site with so much help, now we have more drama then an episode of days of our lives.
If you are being harassed like you say you are, posting on this forum will not help you, you need to contact law enforcement, the last time I checked sexual harassment was against the law.

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