No brawn, and no brains either


Someone recently offered a couple of bathroom sinks on my local Freecycle list. The original message read “These have been in our garden for yonks and are extremely heavy so will need at least two brawny types to take them.” – nice and simple…

A couple of days later, and the poster sends another message to the list:

“I have had a big response for the sinks as anticipated: however: I must reiterate how heavy these are and not one response indicated the ‘brawny types’ stipulated in my ad.

Can I stress that this is emphatically NOT a job for me and another female and is one of the few cases where blokes are definitely required. I am not prepared to help in any way with lifting these things. Sorry to be so insistent but when you next reply, can I have an assurance please of two blokes to help.”

I don’t actually have any interest in the advert, but it made my skin bristle a bit at the insinuation that women will not be strong enough, that only men can be “brawny”… #MFIF



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17 Responses to “No brawn, and no brains either”

  1. fiona888 Says:

    I recently had a similar experience with Freecycle:

    A couple of weeks ago this offer was posted:

    “OFFERED: new bag cement 25kg?

    Bought yesterday. Just opened bag and found it is not what we wanted! It is general purpose cement, needs mixing with sand and aggregates, I beleive [sic]. 25kg.
    We are [located] in XXXXXXXXXXX. E.mail some times when you can collect, please.”

    So I replied with this:

    I’d really appreciate being considered for this please if it is still available, as I’m trying to get my garden sorted out and this could come in handy.
    My husband could collect tomorrow morning, or one evening next week (not Friday).
    Many thanks.

    To my utter disbelief, this was the reply:

    “XXXXX you are welcome. Check with your
    husband its the right stuff. If you are sure, we will put it out for you to collect tomorrow morning.
    XXXXX[female name]”

    Now obviously I was grateful to be offered what I’d asked for, but ‘check with my husband’?!

    I could have understood that comment if I’d said “my husband is trying to get the garden sorted out” (since it would be reasonable to check with the person doing the job, irrespective of gender); but I didn’t, he was only mentioned in the context of collection, as per the request in her offer (because he’s the one who has a driving licence, and also I’m physically disabled).

    As it happens I am not doing the garden myself but have arranged for a gardener to do it, but she doesn’t know that, and furthermore it is ME who has arranged it and discussed requirements etc. with the gardener, not my husband – who wouldn’t have a clue!

    Apparently I’m not intelligent or capable enough to have done my own research, or to know my own mind and have made a considered decision (be ‘sure’ of my request) without consulting a man – #MFIF, obviously!

    • skipla Says:

      I have had a similar experience when shopping for video games. I come up to the counter and am asked: “Have you checked with our technical staff whether this game fits your computer?” simply stating that I can tell this unassisted does not always work. They still insist that I should confirm with someone.

      • amerilia Says:

        I’ve been flat ignored while buying video games before and called “sir” and “he” at at least one EBGames location located at the fashion mall in my city. I guess they don’t get any girls in there that aren’t there with their boyfriends, so they address everyone as guys! Heck, on one occasion, I was wearing quite a feminine outfit and carrying a purse, and I still got male addressed. Nowhere else. Just that ONE EBGames location. I don’t go to that location anymore, btw.

        As for shipla’s comment, I know that a lot of stores nowadays ask if your computer is compatable with the software. Time and time again I have seen people return opened PC games because they try to install them, it doesn’t work, and they have to return them for store credit (and if I remember correctly, at EBGames, they don’t even take PC games back now for trade-in because of the horrible resale value and the lack of PC games out there nowadays). Now, the comment you received does seem a bit ridiculous and it sounds like the other person was uneducated as well (with a statement like “fits your computer”). I guess lack of intelligence breeds ignorance.

      • skipla Says:

        Its not really that someone asks me whether a game is compatiple with my computer, it’s rather the times when I say yes it does but they do not accept just my word for it. They insist on having it confirmed by someone else. Yes I’m blond and look as someone that would not be able to tell, but there you are I have a MSc in Computer Science.

  2. longanlon Says:

    “I don’t actually have any interest in the advert, but it made my skin bristle a bit at the insinuation that women will not be strong enough, that only men can be “brawny””

    well, good luck lifting those sinks, than.

    • trixtah Says:

      Oh, bugger off. Some women are quite strong.

      And maybe, if they’re really THAT heavy, we can actually use some brain and bring either: a) a wheeled dolly, or b) a couple more friends.

      • skyhawkmkiv Says:

        Agreed. Just because they’re heavy doesn’t mean the only option is to dead-lift the stupid things. Motion to bugger off seconded.

      • fiona888 Says:

        Yes, indeed some women are VERY strong and, conversely, some men are weak; so to bring gender into it was irrelevant, ridiculous, stupid and sexist.

        Motion to bugger off ‘thirded’!

      • rubytuesday1989 Says:

        I have nothing left to add, as trixtah, skyhawkmkiv and fiona888 have already said it, so motion to bugger off is fourthed! (Is that a word? If not, it is now.)

  3. amerilia Says:

    I’m a janitor, and one who sometimes has to move/stack/put out chairs and tables. As a result, I have developed a fair bit of physical muscle that isn’t very visible. So, when I am not working, I frequently come across guys, where, when I am able to carry things that are a bit heavy, are quite astonished and surprised because the stuff is apparently too heavy for a girl my age and size to pick up. Sometimes, I relish in the fact that I can carry things that guys can do and gloat in front of them, but other times it just gets tiring being expected to let guys do things for me. After all, I am equally as good as most guys. But since I’m not brawny, I obviously wouldn’t be able to lift something heavy. MFIF I guess.

  4. skipla Says:

    I’m a ‘brawny’ woman some call me ‘butch’ I’m 1,85 m Scandinavian. I’m strong I have a cousin that is not my equal in strength but big on DIY and feminist (me too).
    I had an interesting experience once when I needed to take out a washing machine in dead of winter with lots of very slippery ice outside. I knew I could take the washer out with the help of a strong male or an equivalently strong female. I did not know any strong female but asked this cousin of mine whether she thought her husband would be up for it. My husband is not strong enough. Nota bene this was not that the washer itself was all that heavy. It is simply that when you can fall on ice at every moment holding between you a heavy object then you can hurt yourself very badly. She said her husband was too weak. Fine I start thinking further. Guess what, she comes by with her 14 year old daughter and offers to take it out with her daughter instead of me ‘helpless frail lady’. There I stand head higher than her and thinking “‘my bad’ I could actually carry you to the wan and you really think I was just being sexist for not asking you to help!” I guess I was also sexist for not asking my husband for help…oh no it does not work that way round does it. No then I’m just being sensible and evaluating actual physical strength. Not for a moment did she consider that I actually could have evaluated the situation correctly. MFIF

  5. sz01 Says:

    Bet I could lift them.

  6. kktwain Says:

    Why should the poster even care about the gender of the people offering? Shouldn’t it technically be THEIR problem?

  7. jesurgislac Says:

    When I had to move a defunct washing machine from the top floor of a block of flats to the curbside for collection, I looked up Yellow Pages for movers, found a local company, and arranged a time when I could be in: we agreed over the phone that this was a “two man job”, in those words, I think, because that meant a higher fee than if the man I spoke to could do it on his own.

    I was absolutely delighted when the team that showed up was a man and a woman – it was the woman’s first time on this particular kind of job, so I overheard the man explaining quite a bit about moving this kind of load to her. She wasn’t particularly brawny, and nor was he, but they had straps to go round the washing-machine to move it, and as he told her, “It doesn’t matter how heavy it is, so long as you don’t let it get away from you”. He wasn’t patronising and he wasn’t sexist: he was just explaining to a trainee how to do the work.

    It was a real education in the application of brain over brawn: sure, men have more upper body strength than women do, but moving a very heavy object down multiple flights of stairs wasn’t a job for a strongman, but a job for two skilled people who knew how to do it.

  8. cactuartamer Says:

    I had a situation like this while helping a co-worker move house. We were taking the refrigerator out. (And mind you, he didn’t even have a full size fridge. It was somewhere between the mini-fridge and the full size kind,) I and a male co worker were lifting the fridge, and when another male co worker sees me starting to lift up the fridge he runs over, basically pushing me out of the way so he can hold it and scolding me because “It’s dangerous!”

    I was positively fuming. Plus that was embarrassing as hell. I went to a women’s college and no one ever had any problem moving any damn furniture without men around all the time. ‘Dangerous,’ indeed.

    • fiona888 Says:

      Surely physically barging in when some people are already in the process of lifting something is much more dangerous!

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