1. #1
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    Question a question of cattiness....

    Okay, this goes out to the ladies working the fire lines, but guys--your unique perspective is welcome too!
    I have started to notice as I do my fire fighting training, that the women (who are minorities in number) seem to be more competitive with each other than the men. I would think that being so few of us we would pull together, but instead I see a lot of jockeying for position and those who openly lavish attention on the guys for favoritism- while stabbing other ladies in the back. ( call it flirting or what ever-it annoys me)
    So I wonder--is this the way it is? I keep thinking that maybe it has to do with age and maturity. How ever, that doesn't make the cut throat enviroment I am experiencing any easier. If a person wants to do this job (in my opinion) they should be able to do it the same across the board. If a woman can't do the duties at the same level as a guy, she ought to be out--because making allowances of that kind can cost some one their life. If I can't pull one of my big brothers out--I don't want to be there.
    I hope that this is just a few females across the board and not the norm. I know women can be very hard on each other and themselves, but if the fire service truly is family, we should all be pulling for each other--not against.

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    The women on our department all used to go to the international womens fire fighters convention every year (payed for by the city by the way) and they said it was the same thing there as you describe here. It got so bad they all stopped going. They described it as a manhating bitchfest. I actually think guys do the same thing though it doesn't bother us as much as it does women.

    Rigin

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    Default quickie...

    I just briefly scanned your posting, but I am guessing
    because the fire service has been a male dominated
    profession for so long that the women might feel the
    need to prove themselves more.

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    Behavior like that (be it from the girls or the guys) is no more than a childish game, and the station is no place for games.

    It doesn't matter if it is a paid or volunteer department, it is too important and there is too much at stake for anyone who is inexperienced and with little training to act in such a manner.

    Your attitude towards firefighting is excellant and, coupled with hard work, it will become evident to you officers and the veterans in you department.

    Try your best to ignore the BS from these girls and just do your job.

    -bob-

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    Red face

    The response is great--and I didn't even know about a women's firefighting convention...
    The biggest thing here is that this is a paid and volunteer station for the whole county. Out of that we have a few female firefighters, but they're all grandfathered in under an old clause that if you were a volunteer-you didn't have to pass a physical agility test-just the written. Only 2 ladies in this whole place have passed the physical, also, there are NO female officers(paid or volunteer). So now, many of the girls are trying to use their "wiles" it seems, to stay on, even though they do little or nothing, and they can't pull their own weight (much less any one else's) Okay, I know, I sound like I'm adding to the catiness, but the 2 that passed their test-they're helping me with my training, and my studies. I agree that we females may feel even more pressure to prove ourselves, but what's frustrating me is how do we accentuate everyones value and worth regardless of gender. When I have to deal with another girl who's snippy, I really wonder "why?" and, is it worth it? I don't want to be that way, and I NEVER want to be a manhater.
    The life for me-- making sure that every life we help, every moment we live, we give back and leave what we found better off for our efforts.

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    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    sassy:
    If you can stay on the bull for 8 seconds, you are a cowboy.
    If you can dance with the devil, you are a firefighter. Period.
    And besides, in full turnouts, you all look the same.
    So, if you can do the job, you belong. If you can't, then you don't!
    Gender makes no difference.
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    Thumbs up Keep up the good work...

    I think that that's just something that you learn to live with. Is it right? No. Just do what you're doing and put yourself above those kind of games.

    I know I had the same problems when I first started my classes. I thought that when I started getting into the more advanced classes that it would be an even bigger problem, but it hasn't been. I think it has been partially my own change in attitude, but also the harder classes like the more advanced structural firefighting classes will weed out the women who are just around for attention from the guys. You'll end up with just the ladies like you who are there to do a job and you won't have to worry about it. When I first went out for like Firefighter 1, I felt that I had something to prove. I have come to realize that, like Chief Reason said, we all look the same in all the gear. I stopped thinking of myself as a female on the fire ground, and started thinking like a firefighter. If you forget about the gender barriers, at least from what I have found, the guys will too most of the time.

    As far as pulling together with other women goes, if another woman needs help and I can be of assistance, I'll help, but the same goes with a guy. I won't go into a class and isolate myself in a group of other women and add to men versus women atmosphere. That just further alienates you. If they don't want to be a part of the whole group that's just tough. And if they want to be competitive and cranky, good for them. They'll be the ones having a lousy time and you'll be the one feeling the "Brotherhood."

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    "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap it if we do not lose heart."

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    Thankyou-everyone!! I like the advice of us all being the same in gear!! SO TRUE!!
    I know I can rise above it all, because I love being here at the house, I love to learn, I love doing everything I can to be part of the effort. Just a little FYI on why this came about... When I first started here as an EMT ( what I am now while I do f/f training) I came on a day that the duty crew had to leave. They were toned out to a fully involved structure fire on a new home. I had another female with me that was supposed to come to the same dept--different shift. I knew after talking about it w/ her and listening to IC on tactical that they were going to have a long, hard day. They would return wet and cold ( it's freezing up this way) So I Went over to the store and picked up some stuff, and made dinner for them, and when they got back to the house, I went out and helped with the cleaning of the hoses and the trucks ( which mildly amused and impressed, as I was told, some captains). This was brought up at our next class, and I was thanked. Since then, a few of the females here act like I'm trying to do something(not sure what) that they don't like. Personally, I don't care, except, that I don't want the officers that could potentially hire and promote me to think that either. SO- you see, I feel like I do have to prove something, and I do worry about walking a very precarious line.
    Either way though, thankyou again to all of you for your support and wisdom. I said it before-I'll say it again, I love to learn, especially from the real experts--you!

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    Sounds like you're doing the right thing by pitching in and helping where you can. Glad to see you are staying out of the BS, keep up the good work. You're the Firefighter, those other women are the house brats thinking they've got something to prove.

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    Sassy.

    Short version is..

    You used your brain and your initiative to help with the situation. It is not the publics perception of the "Hero" that is necessarily that of the crews.

    The guy that is on a background job, and thinks to get water to the front line folk on a long job.

    The person that takes over salvage, resupply, clean up, to give the crew a chance to unwind.

    These are people we remember. And they become part of the TEAM, real fast.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    sassy, As others have said,"keep doing what you are doing".

    I have over 40 years in the fire service and have benn an instructor for over thirty. I have been involved in the training of many women over the years. My observations are as follows.

    1. Females who are genuinely interested in the fire service will make every effort to learn the "job" and will become a respected team member.

    2. Females who are there for "social" reasons will not normally be around very long. Their motivation is normally quickly identified by not only other females but most of the guys also. They are not part of the team.

    3. Males can do the same thing by trying to become the "teacher's pet". This usually involves doing "special projects" for someone above them (IE wash and wax the Chief's personal vehicle "just because they felt like it").

    4. You must also realize that you will have a certain amount of "cattiness" in any organization. There will always be the few who are jockeying for postion. Thse are the people that you will have to learn to live with. In most cases co-workers will have also identified these individuals and their power is more akin to the "Legend in their own mind" than any real influence.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Talking

    Bitchfest? You ought to be in the kitchen at my FD's HQ at shift change!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Wink

    LOL!!! The bitch fest at our house usually comes at, or directly after shift exchange! The BS from the guys doesn't bother me at all, very entertaining!!!
    It's just the few females that think they have to be "helpless" that sickens me. And now that I've got some good advice under my belt I'm not too concerned--To hell with them! I know I'm better than that, and I bust my hump to help out. Not because I have to, but because I WANT to.
    Thanks guys, just getting a pre-cast, gotta go before the tones.

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    Sassy, everyone is correct, keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about everyone else... Like Ray said, the ones there for social reasons will not be in the department long, whether it be male or female.

    Take care and stand fast, and do the job to the best of your ability, not anybody elses ability, because everyone has their limitations. The BS like you are describing is in almost every department, people jocking for higher position or favoritism... This goes for the men as well as women... So it's just not women who do it..

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    I don't hang out with the other women until I see that they are here to work, not to party or meet men.

    I am my own worst critic because I know that in my department I am judged not only on how well I do the job, but with the knowledge that I am judged harder than the males doing the same thing. I don't complain about it because it isn't that hard to do things as well or better.

    There is only one person (male) who doesn't give me a fair shake, I do my best to just ignore him.

    I guess I must be doing OK, I've been a lieutenant for 3 years now....
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

    Dusty, working on Crusty IACOJ

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    Originally posted by fflynn17
    I guess I must be doing OK, I've been a lieutenant for 3 years now....
    And you haven't killed 'em all yet??

    Wow, I'm impressed, I've been Lt. for about 5 months and I wanna kill 'em ALL. Next sloppy fireMAN that leaves a pop can on my nice clean boat is gonna get it! Or the next one to throw a cigarette in the drain or spit on the floor...And they said I can't put curatins in the bay...the nerve! I'm just kidding guys...

    Sassy there's no law that says women can't be officers either...strive to acheive whatever goals you want...you'll get there. Other than like one person and occasionally the dispatch center, I've had no problems being a female officer. My dept. supports me 100%, and they put me there so they should. All of the other depts. around that we work with have been great too. I don't worry about being a female nearly as much as I worry about my age. I have taken quite a bit of crap for that, from depts. that don't know me and that we don't work with regularly.

    Just another little piece of info for ya...in July we got our first lady Chief, 2nd one in the state. So it can definately be done.
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 11-29-2004 at 09:16 PM.
    IACOJ

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    I can't say I've ever experienced anything like that. We all get along and support each other. There are a couple of "men" who give their fare share of BS, but I try not to let it get to me...I just do the job. No problems with the ladies.

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    Worst fight I ever broke up was an all out cat fight. Nothing is off limits to you girls!
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Smile

    As I said before, it's just a few females, and they only show up-it seems- to make a show of themselves. And if they actually do any training, you can tell that they really don't have the skills ( or atleast not as up to date and at their optimum) yet they will just show up when ever out of the sky blue and expect to pull shift and get to do all the best stuff.
    Luckily we have some very sharp Capt.s and Lt's. They don't risk the duty crew to make some one smile. How ever, I don't want to add to the problem--so no more negative! I just want to concentrate now on my own training. Hope you are all up for a lot more questions--I've got a bundles worth growing inside!!!LOL Thanks every one!

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    Originally posted by stm4710
    Worst fight I ever broke up was an all out cat fight. Nothing is off limits to you girls!
    ...... "And then I awoke from my dream"
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    But was the hose bed dry?????
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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