broadsideblog

Don’t Girlify My Tools!

In business, design, Style, Technology, women, work on August 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm
Twist hammer
Image via Wikipedia

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley has brought out a new line of tools — a hammer covered with a floral design, a sexy-looking screwdriver and a pair of pliers covered in pink and white.

Excuse me?

I’m deeply fond of my tools and my huge toolboxes: pliers, screwdrivers, saws, drills, levels. You name it, I’ve got it. I love designing and making stuff, even if it’s simple stuff — living in a one-bedroom apartment doesn’t allow for table saws or big workbenches.

The last thing I want is to walk into my local hardware store, run by the great-grandson of the man who founded it, and find tools covered in flowers and groovy patterns. Greg, thank God, probably wouldn’t let this stuff into his shop.

Why exactly does anyone think this is appealing?

I love the plainspoken utility of standard-issue tools. I love my screwdriver with all its little inter-changeable heads, adaptable to virtually any need. I enjoy using my drill and hammer and saw, and the pleasure of knowing I can use them competently.

Women who take pride in their ability to work with their hands aren’t the sort of women who need, or want, pretty little patterns on the things we use. The women who need that sort of reassurance — it’s OK, hon, you won’t break a nail! — just aren’t going to do their own home repairs.

We don’t need no girly tools!

  1. Bless you, Caitlin. You are a friend to man. Here’s the thing about it- I don’t mind that they make tools for women according to feminine aesthetics and I know there are a lot of women who might buy them and use them. But my experience as a veteran boyfriend is that sooner or later, I’m going to end up standing on a polka-dot ladder with a rose-petal ratchet in my hand and hello-kitty screwdriver tucked under my chin.

    This is my living will- if I am ever found in a heap under a ladder with unicorn-designed tool handle sticking out of my chest, please replace it with a Stanley before the coroner comes.

  2. This is delicious! What an image…

    Larger, serious question. Why don’t women want to do this work themselves? Never having been taught in shop class or by their Dads?
    Or (as I do with the sweetie) finding places to defer to their/your manliness?

  3. Couldn’t agree more. And the annoying thing is that they are utter rubbish to boot. I’d sooner use my high heel as a hammer.

  4. I’ve done that! I guess the assumption is that women (huh?) can’t handle real tools. Um. Real tools do real work…

  5. Amen. Note to tool manufacturers: if you see a way to make a version of a power tool or hand tool that works better for people with small hands or less grip strength or shorter finger span, please do it–we’ll buy it! But be sure the quality and durability are on par with your standard product and don’t tart it up with flowers or baby-blue accents!

  6. Great point. I see this issue with sports equipment and clothing as well. It reflects some seriously sexist thinking or lack of understanding of the female body and its specific needs.

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