Two panel picture. On the left is a male mechanic with no hair and glasses. On the right is a female mechanic taking a picture in the mirror.


‘This is a man’s world’: Female mechanic exposes workplace discrimination in viral TikTok

'Man loves tools so much he became one.'


Jennifer Xia


Posted on Sep 1, 2021   Updated on Sep 1, 2021, 6:19 pm CDT

A TikTok video posted by a female mechanic garnered attention after she exposed a male mechanic saying she didn’t belong in the body mechanic world.

“Don’t be here, because this is a man’s world,” the male mechanic says after telling her she should go do something with her life like go to college. The video quickly went viral, receiving more than 6 million views.

According to Data USA, 97.7% of automotive service technicians and mechanics are male. On average, male technicians and mechanics also make over $9,000 more than female technicians and mechanics. Beyond salary and demographic makeup, research has also found that women who go to auto-repair shops tend to be charged more than their male counterparts.

Jess, or @Mechanicchickjess on TikTok, posts videos challenging the belief that women don’t belong in auto-repair shops. From TikToks showing her at work to tutorials teaching where the cabin air filter is in a car, Jess says she is part of the movement to empower other women. 

In response to the video Jess shared exposing the male mechanic, people online said he felt threatened by her skills.

“He’s just made [sic] ‘cause he became a mechanic to prove he was a ‘man’ and now you do it better than him,” one user commented. Others chimed in, saying men fantasize about pin-up girls working on a car but don’t push for equality in the actual industry. 

“Man loves tools so much he became one I guess,” one user commented. 

However, despite being Automotive Service Excellence certified, which is awarded to automotive professionals who have more than two years of professional experience and have passed the ASE exam proving their merit and mechanic skills, Jess received a comment from a fellow female mechanic, @psychodaddi on TikTok, saying she was just a lube tech. 

The difference between a technician and a mechanic is that technicians work more closely with the computer inside cars to perform a diagnosis, while mechanics are more hands-on and fix parts of the car.

“Please don’t boast around saying you are “ASE Certified” mechanic,” the comment wrote. “It really discredits the females who are actually mechanics. I swap engines and transmissions. I don’t just do air filters…” @psychodaddi reposted Jess’ original video to her own page, which has now been removed.

In response to @psychodaddi, Jess said she knows what she is capable of and questions why a fellow female mechanic was taking credit for her video after leaving the comment. 

“Like you’re talking shit about me and how I’m not a real mechanic but then you completely took credit for my video that I posted, the trauma that I went through, the discrimination that I went through,” Jess says in a video.

Despite the gender discrimination that exists in the automotive industry, some people online said Jess’ video inspired them to believe in their passion. 

“My sister sent me this video, knowing I want to be a mechanic,” one user commented. “I honestly cried because she sent it to show she believes in me.”

User @mechanicchickjess did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment and user @psychodaddi did not respond via Instagram direct message.

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*First Published: Sep 1, 2021, 6:18 pm CDT