Saturday, October 5, 2013

Elinor Otto

Some of you may have already heard about Elinor Otto's story, but I thought I'd share it because it's awesome. Otto has been working as a riveter ever since WWII when she took the job as a 21 year old. She is now 93 and wakes up at 4 in the morning to go to work at a Boeing factory in Long Beach. Otto is shocked at all the attention she has gotten and says she enjoys work and prefers manual labor over sedentary office work. It's interesting to think about why the public reaction to Otto's story has been so strong. I think this is partly because her work ethic is very inspirational (especially given her age) and many place her in the broader context of the women's movement as a heroic feminist. She avoids framing herself as a hero and states she enjoys her job because it keeps her active.

This is an interview with Otto:


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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Maddie! Elinor seems like an amazing person. For someone who a lot of the time doesn't feel like leaving the couch as a 21 year old, it's remarkable to see someone with such an incredible work ethic at 93!! While I am happy NBC shared her story, there were some parts of the interview I had problems with.

    The male reporter at the factory asked her "Is this appropriate work for a women?" In my opinion, the amazing aspect of this piece is that a human being (whether they are male or female) who is 7 years away from being 100 is still working at a factory. However, he didn't ask "Is this appropriate work for someone who is 93?" He made it sound like it is surprising that any woman, regardless of age, would work at that factory which I think is very problematic. In addition, he asks her if she is done with the "taking care of men thing." Why does he assume that she would have to take care of her husband were she to marry a third time? I loved watching Elinor but I think there is definitely a sexist tone to the segment.