Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Shopping centre in infantilising women shocker

I am banging my head against the wall at this story about a shopping centre in China that has created a car park just for women that has bigger spaces. See in the picture on the Telegraph site - it's called Lady Parking. Stunned.

So the idea seems to be that women need bigger parking spaces because they, in the words of an official from the shopping centre that built it, "have a different sense of distance". I suppose I am supposed to be pleased he/she didn't say "inferior sense of distance" but that's the notion behind it, and the story managed to find a "shopper" who used words to that effect.

That's ridiculous in itself - the notion that all women are bad parkers and need bigger spaces. They obviously haven't met my (male) neighbours. Some people are bad parkers and some are good, and it has nothing to do with their gender. I find it such a massive step backwards to continue using tired and lazy stereotypes. There's no evidence to back up their claims, the shopping centre just wanted an attempt at publicity. Employing "female parking attendants" to help women park? Women always bang their car doors when they open them? Stupid! They are saying that all women everywhere cannot park, there's no attempt to say that they are only referring to some women.

But the daft claims that this Lady Parking needed to be in pink and purple annoys me the most. Apparently pink and purple were picked because they are bright colours. What? Orange is a bright colour. Any colour is bright if you paint it right. No, they chose pink and purple because they are associated with girls. So this is a statement not just of women's inability to park but a low, infantilising move to make women look incompetent and childlike.

They could have made this new car park about creating a safe, supervised and well-lit space for women to come to a shopping centre confidently without fear of attack or harrassment. This car park will offer those things, but that seems to be by the by. Why would that have been so difficult?

Alternatively, they could have created a car park that had bigger spaces for ALL their shoppers, and not made it pink, and therefore helped out the male drivers too. But that wouldn't be a pat on the head to little women would it.

The last statment in the article is that there are 200 road deaths every day in China. It seems to me that maybe ALL of the country's drivers need better lessons, not just the women. I'd like to see if the stats for China match those of the UK - that young, male, drivers cause more accidents, not women.

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