DIARY: Traditional Roles vs. Modern Roles of POCFs and the Tides That Bind
Since the fall of last year, I’ve asked myself this question: As partners of commercial fishermen, how do we honor traditional roles without stifling growth as modern women?
Whether a fisherman is gone for weeks, months, or just a day, a boat conjures a sense of detachment as vast as the ocean until a ding of a text message or a phone call tethers you back in. You live in two worlds and can almost feel it the moment your partner leaves the dock.
Because of this, POCFs are more heavily relied on for women’s traditional roles, and many of us don’t realize it until we’re in it. We are called to *maintain the homestead,* and another word we use is “shoreside support,” which can be a different role in itself. Shoreside support extends beyond the home, and/or job, and/or raising kids (which is a f*ck ton already).
It’s running the business side, bookkeeping, advocating for fisheries (and being forced to learn new policies because of it), and more. Overall, POCFs manage the now, plan for the future, and secure deep faith that our guiding Power will also guide our loved ones’ home.
In the “cruising community” (a term for those who travel by sailboat for a long stretch of time), specific boat tasks are referred to as “pink jobs” and “blue jobs.” Pinks take care of the galley, cooking, and cleaning, while the Blues fix things (as we know, boats need lots of fixing). Generally, women take pink, and men take blue, just like Jack and Jill, who went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Tradition, if you will. For modern folks, it’s whatever floats your boat.
To be clear, there is NO shame in enjoying the traditional roles of a homemaker. Providing a safe and nurturing space for our families is the greatest gift, and it ain’t easy. What pisses me off is when a woman’s value is tied to a paycheck rather than the *life-giving support* we selflessly share daily. Add up every job a woman does for her family, compare it to the market value, then write a check. I bet feelings would change. You are worth more than any paycheck or “highliner” season. Remember that. Fishermen work hard to provide, as do you.
By the way, this isn’t “Us vs. Them.” This is a call for honest conversations, compassion, and mutual respect for each partner’s roles. Discuss what works for your partnership, and try it out. Revisit after the season if you need to adjust. This is your life – make it work for you.
Another HUGE trigger is when women – especially POCFs – are told not to express themselves because it may make others (fishermen) feel a certain way.
You’ve got to be kidding me, right? (more…)