By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
Thank you to all of you who read last week’s post and Liked it and sent along your comments on its content and intent. But if you look back at the post, you’ll notice that I’ve done some editing. I removed some of the pictures from the article and replaced them.
Why? Because I received the following message from a woman who is also a fire service colleague:
Hi Robert. Just a heads up on the most recent link you shared with the pregnant firefighter’s bare belly…. There have been many pregnant firefighters who have been sexually harassed to share images of themselves pregnant. And, interestingly, society often shows images of women in various stages unclothed (think of all the advertisement around breast-feeding, cancer, etc.), yet do not do the same of men… another example to dominate, or? I’m unsure, however I do know the same point can be made without the explicit image, and thought you should be aware of the fetishes out there the image may fuel.
My reply to this thoughtful message was:
OOPS! Thank you, [Name omitted to protect their anonymity], for bringing this to my attention. Certainly not my intent–I was struck more by the maternal aspect of the image. I’ll find a new image post-haste when I get home. Thank you again. Robert
To which she replied:
No problem- I know your intentions are good- sad not all are similar and for the “ick” factor that is very real. Thank you for your advocacy – Keep up the good work.
I hope that those words have had the same effect on you as they did me. I realize we live in a “twisted” world, and it seems to get more twisted every day. But this?
I sincerely hope that it’s not male firefighters who harbor such fetishes, but I’m enough of a realist to know that it’s likely true. Probably the same ones who offer up the lame defense of their sexism and misogyny with something like, “I have a wife and a daughter, I like women.”
Words are just words without action. We must stay vigilant in our efforts to root-out sexism and misogyny and harassment of women in the fire service. Now we need to add this to the list.