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The Modern Cavewoman: Thoughts on Gender Roles in Everyday Tasks

Maranda Provance, Director of Engineering

Posted on February 19, 2014

This article was originally Published on Medium.

Last weekend I changed my car battery without asking someone of the opposite sex for help. Woman has evolved!

Okay, so it’s really not that dramatic, but it did feel slightly more empowering than it should have. The fact of the matter is that most common household chores, including easy fixes to the car or cooking a simple meal, can be done by a person of either sex over the age of 14 who has the right tools and the ability to perform a Google search.

So what kept me from trying these things on my own for 25 years? I’d say it’s a mix of inexperience and laziness—alright, yeah, it was mostly the laziness. It’s absurdly easy as a woman to plead ignorance or weakness. But as a champion of equality for all living beings, I feel obligated to not only claim my own equality in the enjoyable areas like workplace pay and advancement but also in the areas that are just plain annoying for anyone—like “man” work.

It turns out, changing your battery—or switching out a garbage disposal, which I did last weekend—are really not that difficult to figure out. All you need is a combination of the right gear, including the Internet, and a never-give-up disposition that allows you to try something over and over again without needing to pull wads of your hair out. Luckily for me, someone gave my husband a full tool set as wedding gift five years ago. Now strewn haphazardly throughout our garage, I grabbed a few of the tools and set to work.

So here was my process:

Step 1 — Google the shit out of Mazda 3 battery removal.

Step 2—Dig through tools to find a wrench-type thing that removes bolts.

Step 3—Google the name of the wrench-type thing that removes bolts.

Step 4—Attempt to use a socket wrench to remove bolts.

Step 5—Google how to use a socket wrench.

Step 6—Worry about shocking myself to death while removing bolts.

Step 7—Lug heavy battery out of car.

Step 8—Release sigh of relief.

The lesson: Some things just take time and experience to learn. Period.


Take programming, for example. I often wonder why there aren’t more women in the technology field. I think the reasons are two-fold: (1) we’re scared of the learning curve and (2) we’re worried about fitting in. Honestly, I would have never tried programming if someone didn’t offer to give me a job and teach me the ropes the day I graduated high school. It’s a hard thing to throw yourself into a group where you might not relate when you’re at an age where your main priority is finding a place to belong.

Today, I’m a back-end developer at an award-winning interactive shop. So why did I decide to take the plunge? Probably because I have no shame. I wasn’t very good good at sports in school—not bad, per se, but definitely not good. I wasn’t about to win any beauty contests—although again, I’m not so bad in that department either. But I was good at schoolwork, so I decided to take some pride in being a smart, nerdy girl. Kick in the fact that nerdy chic was once considered a legitimate fashion trend, and I had found my place in the world. You’re saying I can wear my glasses and use them too? Count me in!

I’m good at what I do, and I enjoy it. It’s the perfect love story. I’m certainly happy ever after. And I wish more women would be willing to take a risk and fall into the perfect match as well.

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