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Today I had my first every chop saw 101 demo course. Excitement mixing with fear: excited for trying out and gaining a new skill but also afraid of the power and the grave consequences if I didn’t use the tool properly. 

‘Safety First’, ‘Always tie your hair’, ‘Find a cutting buddy’, ‘Never Chop ALONE’. All these signs and Nell’s repeating words really put me on a full alert of the serious consequences. If I wasn’t in this 3D class, I would definitely ask for help and let others cut my woods into pieces for me since I felt this is ‘heavy masculine’ work that I have never had any experience. But in class, I paused myself for a second when I saw other students confidently took turns and make their cuttings. Why couldn’t I do heavy work by myself? I really do not want to find another excuse rather than my doubt about my ability or afraid of the gender stereotype by showing too much masculinity. I rethink my fear, the terrible excuse, and escapism I made up for myself in the past. I came up front the chop saw and shout “Cutting” out aloud. The whole process only takes around 5 secs without much effort, which just like my fear is easily snapped into pieces. 


One Response

  1. Nell Ruby says:

    I love this. This is one of the reasons I like to introduce power tools in this course. The ONLY reason that these tools feel “gendered” is because of practice and ownership. The thing about power tools that is so ironic is that they actually require less strength than hand tools, so there really is no difference in terms of which gender might be innately more suited for them! A student who took my course about 15 years ago went on to study industrial design in graduate school, and won an award for designing a saw (I can’t remember what kind) that was smaller for a woman’s hand. Nice reflection of your own thinking and biases.

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