Cattle Boys And Cleaning Girls
Posted on November 19, 2017
There’s lots of things in the world that piss me off: Wi-Fi pretending to be connected when it’s not, uncooperative customer service people, and of course, people in general. The biggest thing, however – like every girl – is being told to do certain jobs just because I happen to lack a Y-chromosome. I’m not going into wage inequality, glass ceilings, corporate struggles between being an assertive male leader or a ball-busting bitch of a CEO, I’m just talking about something as insignificant on the societal scale as looking for farm work. Au pair, domestic help, cleaner… you name the stereotypical female role and it is available for girls only. I get it, sweeping is so goddamn difficult, no guy would ever comprehend how that’s done, right?
A few weeks ago, I made the decision to quit my job in social media, and explore remote places enrolling in farm work – literally making this blog less Sex, more Shit. This would give me an extra year in Sydney, and at the same time be another priceless experience. People looking for fruit pickers didn’t seem to care much about gender, but lots of ads specified whether they were looking for male or female workers. “Heavy physical labour involved” usually meant “boys only”, “working with children” or “taking care of domestic duties” would scream they wanted a girl. Imagine a girl fixing pipelines and a boy baking cakes and emptying dishwashers, the world would come to an end.
I actually grew up a farmer’s daughter. My whole life I spent chilling with cows, feeding chickens, or sitting in the back of my Dad’s tractor. Even if the farm hasn’t always been my main interest in life, it was something I could always rely on. If my parents would read this, they would say I was always more occupied with books and music, but I have always been grateful for such a sweet set-up as a child. I never had to help out that much, but when I did, I always preferred the things my Dad did over my Mum’s tasks (sorry, Mummy). Driving tractors, feeding the cows, working on the land always interested me more than actually milking the cows, making sure everything is clean, this all whilst running an entire household (thanks, Mummy). This is why looking for farm work has shitted me so much. Stop offering me cleaning jobs just because I have a vagina. It doesn’t work that way.
Ironically, after writing this paragraph, I have to admit I’m currently employed as a domestic help/cleaner. The family is really lovely, and I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity of working on an Australian cattle station. I thought, surely there will be loads of times I can go and help out with actual farming duties. So far, it’s been cleaning all the way – which is absolutely 100% what they told me the job would be. In my fairy tale mind, I just assumed cleaning would entail cleaning stables and scooping poop (yes, that would be my version of a farm fairy tale, being ankle deep in cow shit). So far, I have cleaned verandas, swept paths, and done the dishes more than I have ever back home (again, sorry, Mum).
The actual shitty part about this all, however, is not the cleaning. Again, the family is really nice and they are very thankful for the help they get – I’m literally writing this eating the Toblerone they gave me as a thank you. The actual really shitty part is that they just hired a new backpacker to be a general farm help, so while he gets to ride motorcycles to check on the cattle, I get to sweep the paths. He goes out doing the “heavy lifting” and I’m here washing dishes. Sorry for the repetitiveness of the word shit, but this is what absolutely fucking shits me the most. This guy, who I’m sure is strong enough but surely not (much) stronger than me, gets to do all the “manly things”. This guy, who has barely seen a cow in real life, gets to go out, see the fields, and help take care of the cattle. You’d think experience would prevail over the mere fact of having a dick, but unfortunately, that is not how the world works – especially in farming. Boys do boys stuff, girls do everything else.
It’s a man’s world, I sigh, sweeping the paths, silently planning a revolution.