Friday, January 25, 2008

Redundancy: word of the week

Things that annoyed me this week:

1) The advert on TV for a children's magazine (specifically targeted at young girls) called Strawberry Shortcake. Not only does this charming magazine give away crappy pieces of tat so that teh childrens can play at cooking, the TV voiceover cheerfully exhorts these innocents to "learn to cook just like mummy!"

To which I (quite cheerfully - although it would be a lie because actually I'd be spitting with rage) respond: bite me.

Mummy might be an excellent cook. She may well (rather like I do) own many cook books and enjoy good food. However, it is *not* the sole responsibility of mummy to do all the cooking. Nor, in this day and age, should we be marketing such blatant sexist crap to children. Especially when it is obviously false - look at all the famous male chefs on TV who outnumber the female ones. By all means encourage your children to cook but (a) do it regardless of their sex (b) don't do it by making them think that mummy should do all the cooking and (c) ease off on all the pink coloured, strawberry-decorated bits of plastic.

2) All attempts to make powertools/gardening equipment and screwdrivers more "suitable" for women by making them pink or decorating them with a vile array of floral motifs. WTF? Are women incapable of using tools unless they are markedly "feminine" (and I use feminine in the narrowest possible sense, as I hardly think bouquets of flowers are the be and all and end all of feminity)?

Perhaps women in general are scared and perplexed by something like a screwdriver. They don't know how to wire a plug. However, stick some fucking flowers on the thing and all of a sudden - empowerment! Why did we not think of this before? Maybe if we repaint fire engines to be pink with a ribbon border and rose petal motif, women will want to be fire officers!

It is *kind* of the patriarchy to give us the permission to use these tools. I mean, it just wouldn't do for a women to use a plain old garden trowel (the way she's been doing for *years*) because that's just too emasculating. No, better make it pretty for her.

I had this argument with my (supposedly feminist) boss, who thinks its wonderful that this has happened. He feels this is empowerment forging ahead. Now women can do "manly" things. In fact they are positively encouraged to do it. How can this be bad? He is seemingly unable to see the point that women are only encouraged to do these things as long as they do them in the male-approved, girly way. Which, when you think about it, is only the patriarchy once again dictating the behaviour of women.

3) My sexist new colleague: He's in a position of some power in the organisation, which is a little worrying. At first we gave him the benefit of the doubt - his "in a room with a bunch of girls" comments were annoying but could be due to nerves. They weren't. He's just an arse.

Today he made the wonderful remark that if he were in charge of recruitment he would "never hire any women over the age of about 28 because they'll just go and get pregnant". Gee, how enlightened this man is. Especially given that he's about 35 and already has three children under ten. But that's okay, because that's his wife's problem.

Ignoring the distinctly frosty looks he was getting (he works in an office where he is the only man) he carried on making highly "amusing" remarks about our capacity to be walking incubators and how scary we women were and men better watch out. In the end, I couldn't take it any longer.

Him: "...yeah, all the fellas better watch out with you around."
Me: " Haven't you heard Egbert*? You're surplus to requirement. Men are completely redundant now."
(He starts to snigger then examines my dead-pan expression, looking increasingly worried. He then walks off without saying anything.)

On the one-hand, I'm annoyed with myself for letting him get to me. My comment may have shut him up, but he's obviously so thick that it's going to be one more bit of proof to him than feminists are all a bunch of ball-breaking man-haters who envy him his penis. On the other, it may well be true**.

Think about it, if even *some proportion* of men were to become redundant in terms of procreation (and we're definitely thinking crazy sci-fi utopia here) the misogynist wankers who can't control their mouths even in the most inappropriate of circumstances are going down first. Fact.

*Egbert not actually his real name
** I do not think that all men are redundant. Only the ones I don't like (heh).

1 comment:

Aulelia said...

--Concerning your sexist work colleague, women do not get pregnant by themselves!! He makes it sound like women have turned into poachers who force men to impregnate them

Good post.