Well, I’M impressed.

This is pretty cool. This fall, Giorgia Boscolo becomes the first official female gondolier in Venice.

Boscolo learned how to navigate the Venetian canals from her father who has been a gondolier for 40 years. Kinda cool, being the first female, and all.

I mentioned that she’s the first female gondolier, right? Since 1094. Really.

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5 thoughts on “Well, I’M impressed.

  1. Tom Michaud says:

    First off, this is really cool. I never realized that women didnt operate the gondolas. This is such a huge accomplishment for just Italy in general. It took almost a thousand years, but people are starting to warm up to the idea that men and women can do the same things. Why shouldn’t a woman be allowed to be a gondolier? I see no reason that only men can do this job. All it takes is knowing the waterways and being strong enough to keep the boat going. And this isnt some superhuman strength that is needed. Boscolo has proven that to everyone. I hope this encourages women all over the world to take a chance and prove that they can do a job just as well as men. I dont know what other professions are completely male dominated, but there is no reason that a woman cannot do it (unless it requires having a penis). In today’s world with education readily available to women in developed countries, there should be stories like this all over the place. Like i remember watching espn and seeing a woman broadcast about football for the first time (that i had seen). People around me commented on how she didnt belong there and how she can’t comment on football because she’s a woman. To me this is complete and utter bullcrap. Why can’t a woman read off a teleprompter just like the men do? The male anchors do not posses any qualities that better allow them to talk about football. sure, the in the NFL, all the players are men, but that doesnt mean that those who review the games and plays need to be men too. I think people (mostly men) are very hesitant to let women into what could be considered a boys club, but i think we need to re-evaluate our idea of what is strictly male and what is strictly female. Women should have to prove to their employers that a woman can do the job, they should just have to prove that they are qualified. And if a woman is more qualified than a man for a job, it should absolutely go to her without question. Fact is that the gap that society has created between men and women is ridiculous and should never have existed in the first place. Congratulations Giorgia Boscolo on a job well done!

  2. Esther Altomare says:

    I was completely unaware of the lack of female gondolier’s in Venice prior to reading this blog post. Not that I ever really gave the idea much thought, but I would have never believed that there was not one female gondolier prior to Boscolo in the over 900 years since the practice originated. This blog post got me thinking about other transportation oriented jobs found here in the United States.
    Not once have I entered a cab in New York City and been greeted by a women, granted being a cab driver may not be the most desirable job, it still brings in a pay check and at least from what I’ve seen is a job almost entirely dominated by males. The ratio of female to male truck drivers is almost a joke with a 2006 statistic done by the American Trucking Association stating that of the 3.3 million truck drivers registered a mere 147,420 are women.
    There are so many jobs that are mostly dominated by men, and the women that do break these boundaries and take on these positions are often stereotyped, labeled by their inability to fulfill the typical gender roles, the same labels criticized by the Radicalesbian’s. These women also face ridicule within their own fields by male workers. I find myself wondering how the male gondolier’s in Venice perceive Boscolo, do they find the introduction of women into the field a refreshing, long over due step in the practice of gondoliering or do they find her unqualified simply because she is a member of the opposite sex? There is still an immense gender divide found within cultures around the world that I can simply not understand. I’m so proud of Boscolo for in her ability to break this division within her field of expertise and wish her the best of luck in her likely long career.

  3. Emily D'Addario says:

    We never hear the phrase, “first man to…” So, will there ever come a time when we can stop categorizing women into “firsts?” Although such a gender barrier is frustrating, I suppose hearing this for some time longer is a good thing. As women knock more and more firsts off of their list, they continue to make strides toward greater acceptance and equity. At a slow but steady pace, women have broken new ground, transcending the limitations of their time and displaying independence and bravery at moments where the odds are against them. Giorgia Boscolo becoming the first official female gondolier in Venice is one great example of a woman pursuing something she loves in defiance of gender stereotypes and social expectations.

    This impressive story reminded me of another “first” that I found notable. In attempt to be an aware, worldly high school student, I prided myself in watching the Nightly News. I was taken back when charming and popular Katie Couric, host of the “Today” show on NBC announced her departure for anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” This decision led to immense media coverage which portrayed her making history as the first solo network anchorwoman. She entered a new network dominated by male voices, projecting to a different audience. The morning news has a far more female audience and the show is traditionally tuned in to all female concerns. Her elevation to anchor meant she would be constantly tested and analyzed by her staff and viewers. How will she be dressed? Will she try to mask her femininity? How will a woman in this position affect the ratings? Women in powerful positions are forced to face additional challenges. If she expressed the smallest bit of frustration toward her male coworkers, there would be reports about a mental breakdown labeling her as weak and not suitable for the job.

    “I’m not a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” says Couric. “It’s probably disappointing to some people.” She’s right in that her seriousness and confidence in such a major role does not overly feminize her and that bothers people. It is evident that these talented women can perform significant societal roles just as well as men. While Couric and this gondolier have made some accomplishments, both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin met different sorts of sexism in their national runs, and were less successful. Who will be the next “first” to continue this logical evolution?

  4. Bre Nasypany says:

    While we are on the topic of firsts, the senator of New Mexico since 2007, Navajo tribe member Lynda Lovejoy, is looking to become the first president if the Navajo Nation. Lovejoy says she wants to create jobs, improve roads and access to water, and boost education.

    Lovejoy, herself, says that she has battled with the idea of a woman leading the tribe but stated, “More traditional people are coming to embrace women leaders and put their faith in women.”

    Other tribe members are not so convinced. They worry that Lovejoy’s candidacy is disturbing the harmony of society. Some even went as far as to blame her for a tornado that touched down after the primary.

    These fears have root in traditional stories called Dine. “The interpretation is that women can’t lead, that it creates confusion and mess,” says Lloyd Lee, Native American studies professor at the University of New Mexico. Women have, however, played important roles traditionally. In the Navajo Nation, heritage is passed down from the mother. Women are also the leaders of social service, and environmental and educational organization.

    Unfortunately for Lovejoy, Ben Shelly won the election on Tuesday (Nov. 2nd) with 52.7% of the votes. But we have to admit, gender has to be becoming less of an issue is Lovejoy made it this far and won the primary in landslide fashion.

  5. Merrill Amos says:

    LOVE this. I actually rode on a gondola in Venice my senior year in high school during a tour of the country, and I definitely learned a lot on that trip about non-American (and really OLD) traditions and history. Italians are EXTREMELY proud of their history, which makes the female gondolier even more remarkable. Just as an example at how seriously rooted in tradition Venetians are: each gondola itself has to be made out of a very specific tree from a very specific area of Italy, the design of the boat has never changed, you have to use a certain type of paint to color it, and the christening ceremony is reminiscent of a religion.

    I think a major reason this woman was “allowed” to become a gondolier is the fact that she comes from a gondoliering family. I would be interested to know how she’s been doing since starting, because at least when I was there, the gondoliers were known to be a little frisky with the ladies (many “Ciao Bella”s can be heard at any given moment) so I’m wondering how, if at all, she may fit herself into that sort of modern “tradition.” If she were to say “Ciao Bello” to one of the men…I’m not sure it would be as warmly received…

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