Being one of two woman working on the floor and the only one under 45, put a very obvious spotlight on me. In addition to a factory worker, I became a therapist, trainer, mother, daughter, sister, object of affection/desire/lust/aggression. Alongside 250 men ranging from 19 60, my place wasn’t clear. The only other woman had been put into a category of old dumb spinster who wanted to fuck everyone, which she went along with because “its just something you have to do. That’s how they joke with each other.” That was true, they did make fun of each other.
However, in ‘joking’ with each other, the other men weren't made to be less of a person like she was. I was assertive and did not go along with any ‘jokes’ but I was still kind and warm. I was either constantly asked on dates or something to be protected from the other men on the floor. I provided comfort and understanding only when no one was looking, it was clear that I was the only safe space for these men. One man in particular didn’t know how to use a drill and was required to drill four holes in a thick industrial steel garage door. Instead of asking for help from his supervisor he asked me to show him what to do in secret during our lunch breaks. Ultimately he wasn't able to do it and I had to stop and help him before he hurt himself. This time my help was public and resulted in immense ridicule from the rest of our coworkers. Afterwards, he said that he wishes I was at least a “butch bitch”
I’m not sure where beauty would have existed in this factory but it would have been impossible to find among the toxic masculinity.