Today, I really must take issue with The Lakeside Collection catalog. I was scanning their newest catalog offerings when lo and behold I came upon Cutting Boards for Special Women. These cutting boards are part cutting board, part home decor, and part positive affirmation for women and grandmothers.
Oh dear. You know I am going to have to take issue with this today. Sure, they are lovely and would likely make a fine gift for a woman or grandmother who values such a thing as a decorative cutting board. I am not here to argue that. What I struggle with is the notion that the purview of decorative cutting boards is gender-specific. What about men and grandfathers?
Which reminds me (before I go down the men and grandfathers rabbit hole) – why two categories – women and grandmothers? When you are a grandmother are you less of, or more than, an amazing woman? Perhaps that categorization is all a marketing strategy designed to push it as a Mother’s Day gift for grandma. But if that was truly the case, why not have a mother version as well? I guess I am going to have to conclude purely from this cutting board evidence that grandmothers are a class unto themselves; and, for my own self-inflation, I will likewise conclude that grandmothers are more amazing than the amazing women the other decorative cutting board is focused on (note, the entirety of this conclusion is based on this grandmother’s sense of status valuation and not on any real data – although I am sure there is real data out there to support this).
But back to men and grandfathers – where are their decorative cutting boards? Don’t they need positive affirmation as well? Couldn’t we just change the backgrounds a bit to include the stereotypical wildlife or nature components that adorn the vast majority of greeting cards for men and change “woman” to “man” and “grandmothers” to “grandfathers”? Really, it should be that simple. Perhaps The Lakeside Collection is waiting to roll those out a bit closer to Father’s Day – is that the plan? Because speaking as a woman who only has a kitchen because it came with the house, I find the underlying assumption of these cutting boards – the assumption that the kitchen is a woman’s place – more than a tad irritating.
To be fair, I recognize that The Lakeside Collection is not the only offender here. This type of gender stereotyping is endemic in society. How often do you see male-specific cards or gifts adorned with flowers, shoes, butterflies, or bluebirds? How often do you see female-specific cards or gifts adorned with sports equipment, mountain streams, television remotes, or beer cans? The answer to both questions is – almost never. We are still holding on (as a society) pretty tightly to gender stereotypes from the 1940s and 50s.
Most days it doesn’t irritate me quite as much. As I said, most days I am fairly reasonable – but not today. Today I ask for gender equality in access to decorative cutting boards – even if they have wildlife or nature on them – we need to take some steps forward on this front. And if you really want to gain my applause, put some butterflies and bluebirds on them.
Day one thousand three hundred and eighty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da