Ethics Hero: Montana Firefighter Presley Pritchard

This is how female empowerment is supposed to work.

Presley Pritchard was a paramedic who aspired to be a firefighter. She was told, however, that at 120 pounds (that’s the “before” photo on the left above) she was too small and weak for the physically demanding job. Did she sue? Did she take advantage of reduced strength and fitness qualifications to get what she wanted anyway? Did she try to find a firefighting outfit that had a “diversity” quota to meet? Did she give up? Did she decide that she treasured her Size 2 wardrobe more than her ambition?

No, what Presley Pritchard did was begin a long, tough training regimen involving weight training and power-lifting along with a muscle-building diet and increased caloric intake. She raised her body weight by 30%, and aced the firefighter fitness requirements, allowing her to join Evergreen Fire Rescue in Flathead County, Montana without any relaxed standards. She writes,

People told me I couldn’t do it. They said I wouldn’t be a firefighter. They said I was too small and that I was a female which would make it harder…. I’m the healthiest mentally as I’ve ever been. I can keep up with the guys, I am confident in my job performance, and most of all, I’m happy. …I’m hoping if any of you females (or males) are struggling with not feeling like you’re good enough or like you can make it, this will give you hope. Don’t let them tell you you’re too weak, too small, not good enough, not strong enough.

Pritchard has also used photographs of her upgraded physique  on social media to inspire others. She has 33,000 followers on her Instagram page, where she sometimes displays photos like this…

…along with messages like this..

And, just as sure as it is certain to rain on the Fourth of July, some complained to the Fire Department that Pritchard’s photos made them feel “uncomfortable.,” meaning, I guess, that they would be “uncomfortable” if an attractive woman carried them out of a burning house.  Would Pritchard’s pride in her physical transformation cost her the very goal she transformed to attain? Is the Too Sexy Firefighter Principle  a sub-category to the Naked Teacher Principle?

Defiant, Pritchard prepared a powerpoint slide show for the board, including her workout and bathing suit photos with various  calendar photos of male firefighters. She also read from the Montana Annotated Code for gender and sex discrimination.

Speaking for the board later, Evergreen Fire District Board Chairman Brodie Verworn said that Pritchard’s online photos were not a concern.

12 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Montana Firefighter Presley Pritchard

    • Really? She chose to empower herself and pursue her goals in ways that worked for her without asking for lower standards and that’s what you write? Her appearance is not the issue as her employers correctly decided.

      You have become names I won’t type.

      • She’s dressing appropriately for the position she wants/wanted to hold. Dressing pretty is not part of being taken seriously as a firefighter. This is sort of the inverse of the naked teacher principla, for her to make sure photos do not show her as soft or sexy. She can pursue that off camera. (And the man-girls I’ve met look different, in pose and dress)

      • My comment about the ‘man-girl next door’ was a joke, more or less, but thinking more about this a couple of things can be said. Obviously, she shows herself as a strong person who set out to change herself and to adapt to the needs of the position. That is admirable and she deserves praise.

        A larger issue has to do with the mannification of woman and, related to this, the feminization of man. Since everything that is going on in our world, and out culture, is connected, there is no thing or trend that stands apart. What is the cause of the mannification of woman? One sees it more and more. It is an image that is presented and sold by sport companies, but it is also one of the effects of the feminism movement. (I realize that in this particular case she is both taking up a traditional masculine occupation, and has modified her body to do so, and is also taking photos of herself in somewhat sexy (feminine) poses).

        It is a larger part of an ethics conversation, that much is sure, but I am uncertain if it is really a *good* if the traditional roles of men and women are too much changed. My question is: what force is behind the obvious shift in American culture and what is its larger effect? It is obviously *cultural engineering* and also, related to that, the interference of business.

        On *our side* (Traditional Right of Dissident Right) there is a good deal of debate about the role of woman. And the weakening of the role of woman, or the deliberate undermining of traditional role, is talked about and questioned.

        As to being ‘unnamably wicked’, well, I guess you are right! I can’t even decide on the names and labels I would apply to my evil self . . .

    • Good Lord, Jim. Calm down! Remember: soon we will have to fight an insurrection side-by-side and we’re going to have to learn to get along under stress.

      It was (another) feeble attempt at a joke. You know, the ‘girl next door’.

  1. Even women who meet the minimum requirements to be firefighters tend to be tasked with less difficult physical duties than their male coworkers. You don’t want the weakest, softest body on the team given the job of breaking down a door to carry an unconscious 10-year-old down three flights of stairs.

    Same goes for construction teams, teams of soldiers, and police squads. Women are saddled with less risk, put in less danger, and get less of the hard work done, but receive equal pay because to do otherwise would be sexist. I would hope that’s not the case here, but it’s unlikely that any of her male peers had a such a difficult time “keeping up with the guys.”

    • I have no problem with anyone in a role, as long as they meet the same criteria to perform that role. Want to be in a combat squad? Be able to do what would be required of any person performing that function.

      Anything else compromises the mission, and gets people killed.

  2. Good for her! I’ve seen the same underweight issue in rehab people who could not manage to help an adult male after back surgery, Some jobs require greater strength. period,

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