At 12 years old, Dani Gonzalez was told by her friend’s stepdad that women weren’t strong enough to be firefighters. Now, many years later, she’s shared an iconic response.
The remarks, ideas and opinions we hear as a child from the adults around us are often the beliefs we come to internalise.
Whether we see traditional gender roles being played out in front of us in the home, or watch women defy stereotypes to take on positions and responsibilities often reserved for men, the world we see around us as a child can often shape our own expectations for ourselves and the people around us as we grow up.
But sometimes, there are those opinions so blatantly wrong that even as children we come to disagree with them. This was the experience of Dani Gonzalez, who has shared her response to a sexist comment she heard at the age of 12 in a now viral Twitter thread.
The post, which includes a video of Gonzalez beneath her sharp response, shows her stood in the gym with a grown man slung over her shoulders – in response to a claim she heard as a child that women aren’t strong enough to be firefighters.
“When I was 12, I remember my friends stepdad (who was a firefighter) comment on how he felt women didn’t belong in the fire department because ‘no girl could ever lift a grown man’,” she writes above the truly iconic video.
Click play, and you’ll see Gonzalez squatting as the man balances across her shoulders – something which, for her, looks extraordinarily easy.
“Lol anyways, f**k you Craig,” she adds.
The tweet, which now has over 130,000 retweets and more than 850,000 likes, has since attracted both encouragement and criticism – with many of the replies suggesting Gonzalez’s lifting was “not impressive” at all because firefighters also have to pick up unconscious victims and wear a heavy uniform.
But Gonzalez was having none of it.
“The point of the original post had nothing to do with me actually being a firefighter (I am not) and everything to do with women/young girls being told they can’t do something because they’re women and less physically capable,” she writes. “You can do anything you work for.”
As more and more of us wake up to the benefits of strength training for women, Gonzalez’s post is a powerful reminder not to listen to critics who suggest women aren’t capable of weight lifting – because, in fact, we’re extremely capable, thank you very much.