Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Vintage Photo: Women at Work

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | February 13, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Politics
Tags: feminist history, women at work, women's history

Fabulous old photo of three non-nonsense gals working on an engine in Los Angeles. Not sure when it was taken but guessing before or during World War II. Print it, frame it, and give it to the female mechanic in your life. She'll love it.

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YAY!! let's hear it for fem gear heads.

I love this photo. It really connects with me. My mom as a "get your hands dirty" kinda woman too.

The very best mechanic I ever knew was my friend Darrel's mom. She was probably 85 pounds soaking wet and I personally watched her pull a GM 350, rebuild it, re-install it and start it up and time it in about 6 hours, BY HERSELF! (She hated people trying to help cause they got in her way). Hell I didn't know anybody could CLEAN the parts that fast, let alone put them all back together. I drove that truck for two years afterward and sold it still running just fine.

Thanks for this, I'm sitting here right now with these good memories echoing from the past.
When I was a freshman in HS in Houston there was a little ice house in my neighborhood. It was run by a woman and mostly women went there. They were women of a certain age and they had been some of the ones who took to the factories in WWII and who had decided to stay with women after the men came home. They were lesbians the age of my grandmother.
It was the only alternative bar of any sort anywhere in the area.
The first time I went in there was because I was with a family friend who wanted to stop for a beer and was decades older than me. I had no idea that the place served primarily lesbians and a few other local queers. I remember that one of these ladies decide that I was going to dance with her and a couple of the other ones took this guy aside and had an intense conversation with him and he lost all colour.
The lady who ran the place very nicely let me know what he was up to and that he would not be up to it anymore and that I should stay away from him. But I remember her saying to me that she knew that the big gay bars across town would let us (teenage boys) in but that it was not really a good thing. She told me that if my friends "like me" wanted a place to hang out and dance from time to time we could come there where it was safe. We had to drink coke, but there was nothing hiding under the bridge.
I have to say that those grandmothers were the toughest and sweetest bunch of ladies with cool stories about the factories, the war and being odd in this world. And they took care of us which was kind of cool. They may not have known it then, but they most likely did know it, they helped a few kids in my generation develop a sense of self worth and self respect.

I love you guys. Rob, an incredibly touching, gritty memory. It'd make a great story/book/movie.

When I saw this photo of women at work, I thought about my maternal Grandmother who grew up in Akron, Ohio which is home to Goodyear and Firestone.

Like alot of her girl friends and sisters who grew up in the cold water flats in Akron, she worked in the Goodyear Tire plant.

I still have mental pictures of the stories she shared with me concerning her work on the line in the tire plant.