Girl on Fire: Comics, firefighting blurring gender lines

Creston Fire 6[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, April 16, 2015]

A few months ago, I sat on the couch of my friend Nicole Shope watching something on Netflix.

We were talking, and she mentioned she had started buying a comic book series focusing on the life of Kara Zor-El, or Supergirl. I flipped through the pages of one of the comic books, admiring the drawing of the characters, and decided I wanted to start my own comic book series.

Since then, I decided on beginning the A-Force collection, a series similar to the Avengers, but with only women at the helm. Unfortunately, that series begins in May, but I have been anticipating it for a long time.

A-Force is the first all-female team in the Marvel Comics universe, and features leader She-Hulk, Dazzler and Medusa. I think it’s also good timing for Marvel to release such a series, as in the news there are always stories and essays pushing for more equal rights between men and women.

I love that there are things girls and women can enjoy that used to be just for boys and men. It used to be masculine to read comic books, or study science, whereas it was feminine to stay at home and take care of children. However, the lines between gender roles are becoming blurred, and I think that is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with a dad staying home to take care of his children, and there’s nothing wrong with a woman pursuing a career as a scientist in a laboratory.

Even Tuesday night I noticed this feeling a little bit more than usual. Creston Fire Department held an extrication training at Charlie Brown’s, where we sliced open several wrecked vehicles to practice using different tools and improving our techniques.

I was the only female at the training, but that didn’t matter. The guys were willing to teach me more about cutting off doors and entering upended vehicles. Thanks to the weight of the spreaders, Jaws of Life and reciprocating saw, my shoulders and arms were sore the next day.

I love being a firefighter. It’s unlike anything else in the world, being able to help someone in need, and having the other firefighters as friends and comrades. I can truly say I don’t feel any different from every single one of them, even though fire service has always been historically a male-dominated profession.

Maybe, someday, it won’t matter what one person or another wants to pursue in life, so long as they are happy. Also, here’s a funny quote I like: Pizza rolls, not gender roles.

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