This past weekend, I was on a super-short visit in the Shire to spend some time with my parents. After my mom and I went to Whitney’s Farm to pick out carving pumpkins, we were driving back to her house when we passed this billboard:
It reads: “Hardware Store for Women,” with a photo of a big, huge diamond and the name of the business: M. Edward Jewelers. “Wow, that’s a sexist ad,” I said. “That’s exactly what I was just thinking!” my mom responded.
The implication that women have no place or interest in actual hardware stores — you know, the ones with hammers and nails and duct tape — is preposterous, of course. I was just in a real hardware store the other day, picking up flashlights and screws for Occupy Boston.
When I think of hardware stores and women, I think of my mom buying canning supplies, gardening tools, and chicken wire. I think of Mimine, a 30-year-old woman who is the lead construction engineer at the building site of the eco-village the Papaye Peasant Movement is creating in rural Haiti.
It makes me sad — and, yes, angry too — to see a local business using old, tired gender stereotypes to try to sell its products. Even if I were interested in buying a diamond, I’d choose another place to do so after seeing this ad. But really, I much more need a hammer than a diamond, thank you.