Her class consisted mostly of male trainees; her instructors often paid more attention to the male pupils and made the females of the class complete extra training tasks. Colasurdo knew that her trainers expected her to either drop out or fail, but that only gave her incentive to disprove the prejudice behind her gender. One day, the instructors tested the lifeguard trainees with a rescue mission. The task required the trainees to pull a very heavyweight dummy out of the deep end of the pool. Some struggled for success, and others failed. When it was Colasurdo’s turn, she completed the test with ease.
She jumped into the pool with a graceful, urgent dive. She picked up the dummy by the armpits. Colasurdo released a mouthful of bubbles underwater as she began to swim to the surface. The dummy followed her grasp, like a weightless corpse. When they both reached the surface, she raised the dummy’s head above hers as if she was presenting a trophy to her lifeguard teachers and fellow classmates.
“Oh, wow!” one of the instructors whispered in a quiet shrill.
In the end, Colasurdo became one of the few to pass the class, but her lifeguard journey had only just begun—she now had to make use of her lifeguard certification by obtaining a job.
Her first interview took place at a local YMCA. Colasurdo noted that most of the lifeguard employees of that establishment were men, yet she accepted that as the norm. Because of her small size and gender, the Y ...
... middle of paper ...
...a tests and tasks, and refused to heed her instructions. This used to bother her, but she now finds herself accepting her lot in life. She tried to show her boss and supervisors that she was just as capable and competent as any other lifeguard, yet her efforts were still not enough.
A few weeks ago, Colasurdo told one of her friends about how she felt about her experience with sexism in the workplace. “There’s nothing I can really do about it. It’s just the way things are, and it’s not even necessarily a bad thing…. It’s just a thing I have to deal with.
Hannah Colasurdo is a female lifeguard, and her gender often determines how she is treated at work. Even though she believes that sexism is unfair and uncalled for, she does not necessarily consider it is a grave crime against humanity. It is simply the way things are, and there is nothing she can do to change it.
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