Last week, (or was it the week before? I don’t remember yesterday, so who knows/cares?) it was icy cold and snowing just a little bit. This weather reminded us that 1) it is winter, and 2) we forgot to get the tenants ice melt for their front steps. So I drove over there, and stopped by the Local Friendly Neighborhood Hardware Store. It’s a little independent place, you know the type, where the old guy who’s been working there forty-plus years knows the names of his customers and all the projects they’ve been working on over the last forty-plus years…So anyway, it’s snowing, I am wearing a silly hat.
it was probably this one.
There’s a young guy outside clearing what little snow there is out of the way of the door, and the older gentleman inside asks me if he can help me and directs me to the ice melt. Then he offers to carry it for me. I can’t decide whether I should be grateful or offended, wondering: Do I look like the kind of girl who doesn’t carry things? Maybe it’s my hat. Can he tell that I’m pregnant and that’s why he’s offering? It’s true that my coat doesn’t exactly fit anymore. Does he say the same thing to all the ladies…or the men for that matter? I tell him I can manage it, and stubbornly huck it over to the counter. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer of help, I’m just suspicious of his motivation. There is a middle-aged woman at the counter, and she scans in the ice melt and asks me “do you have a discount card?”. “No”, I respond, wondering exactly what she means. “Well, I’ll give you one, you get 10% off every purchase over $10, and once you reach 10 stamps, you get 20% off one purchase.” I accept the card, although frankly, I’m confused by their business model. Who offers every customer 10% off every purchase voluntarily? Then I look down at the card, which has one little heart-shaped stamp cut out of it:
IT’S A WOMEN ONLY DISCOUNT CARD.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for gender equality. I don’t see why a woman should have any more trouble carrying a bag of ice melt than a man. I know plenty of women who do DIY projects around the house and other “manly” things. I think it’s good that this little bastion of the old school shopping experience is trying to do its part to encourage women to try that which has traditionally been man’s work. But I wonder if a Women’s Discount Card takes things a little too far the other way. I mean you would never find a discount card only available for a certain race or religion, how is gender different? I also wonder how many men make their partners/sisters/mothers go shopping for them in order to score a sweet discount…
On the way out, the older man offers to carry my purchase, again. Then the younger man offers to open my car door for me.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
All this baby business seems to bring out the sexism in people, too. We’re not planning on finding out the gender of our child before birth. This news has rocked some people’s world. “How will you know what colour to paint the baby’s room?” they say. “What about clothes/toys/bedding/anything else a baby needs?” I don’t know, maybe I’m going to put my son in a pink room. Maybe I’m going to let my daughter play with…shock! horror!…CARS. Maybe I want all white things for the baby. That can only go well, right?
I was looking online at “Baby Stuff”, and came across this ridiculously adorable bumble bee themed swaddle wrap thingy, or whatever it’s called. The bee-themed blanket was clearly labelled UNISEX. Because, you know, bees come in male and female, right? Yup. But then, next on the list came a dog blanket, blue, with brown and purple accent, inexplicably labelled BOY. Then came the kicker, the one that set me over the edge to a world of ranty-self-righteousness, the one that has been keeping me awake at night, stewing, The Lady Bird/Bug. Said lady bird/bug blanket is very cute. It’s red and black, and it comes with a little hat with eyes and antennae, and you wrap up your baby to look like a lady bird/bug and post the pictures on Instagram for everyone to “like”. However, the seller of said lady bird/bug blanket dictates that it can only be used by a girl.
Sorry, bare with me here, the list in the photo is actually in reverse order.
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here, but THERE ARE MALE LADY BIRD/BUGS. Yes. It’s true. Haven’t you ever seen A Bug’s Life? And actually, there really are a much higher percentage of female bees in the world than there are males. So I put it to you, dear readers, that this gender labelling, if it has to exist at all, be entirely switched around. It’s much more appropriate to the proportions of the natural world to refer to a bee as a she than it is a lady bird/bug. Not only does this seem entirely sexist, it’s teaching our children false things about the world. Cue existential crisis.
I still don’t understand the boy dog one either.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on equality, sexism and gender roles because I’ve probably got some thought refining to do.