This past week Donald Trump made a speech where he stated that Hilary Clinton is playing the ‘woman card.’ All I could do was laugh. It was a very dainty and feminine laugh mind you as after all, I am a woman. What on earth is a woman card and at what point did it get easy being a woman in society? Only a woman can understand how hard it is to live in and navigate through a place and moment in time that still favors men. And for those women working in a male dominated field, the pressure and challenges are even greater. If you are too assertive, then you are labeled a b*#$h or your sexuality is questioned. If you are quiet then you may be seen as a pushover. If a man harasses you and management is alerted, it is quite possible that you could be ostracized and not viewed as a team player. No more did this ring true but in the tragic case of Fairfax County Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. Firefighter Mittendorff was reported missing the week of April 11th and after an exhaustive search, her body was found in the Shenandoah National Park where it is alleged that she killed herself.
It was discovered that Nicole was being harassed online by fellow firefighters who called her ugly names such as slut and whore, comments that surfaced even after her body was found. The Fairfax County Fire Department has opened an investigation into the cyberbullying of Firefighter Mittendorff. And let me remind you, cyberbullying is a form of harassment. Sexual comments made in cyberspace are sexual harassment. The fact that the comments are not being made to someone’s face does not diminish their impact.
Current numbers show that female firefighters represent approximately 4% of the total population of firefighters. It is a tough job and is a very difficult profession to get into. To argue that women sleep their way into these jobs is absolutely ludicrous. Furthermore, the pressure on women entering this field to succeed and to prove themselves to their male colleagues is extremely difficult. And sorry folks, I just don’t think the woman card can help you scale a 50 ft. ladder with a 150 lb dummy on your back. It just doesn’t work that way.
L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213
Note: if you have not heard from a friend in a while and you are concerned, please check on them. You never know what a person may be going through. Let’s support and help one another out. It may prevent another tragedy such as this one. And it is okay not to know what to say. You can always direct friends and family to resources such as:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 Samaritans 1-800-273-TALK
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Cloherty, M. (2016, April 27). Investigation into cyberbullying of Fairfax firefighter to set precedent. WTOP. Retrieved from www.wtop.com.
Golgowski, N. (2016, April 27). Female firefighter’s suspected suicide sparks cyberbully probe. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/nicole-mittendorf-firefighter-bullying_us_57e2959e4b0d0042da9b3d6