Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 or 1889?

From Dear Prudence:

Dear Prudence,
I am a 16-year-old girl who works at a supermarket collecting shopping carts in the parking lot and lining them up near the entrance. Customers frequently express to me their disapproval of a girl pushing shopping carts. They've said: "Girls shouldn't be doing this," "Tell your boss he should be sending boys outside to do this," and "You're too cute to be doing this job." Some customers have tried to pry the shopping carts from my hands, and one man even threatened to talk to my boss. Surprisingly, the biggest perpetrators of sexist comments are women. By the end of the day, I feel awful. I want to tell the customers to stop when they say sexist things to me, but it's been my experience that adults get indignant when someone younger tries to set boundaries. Is there any way I can let people know to leave me alone and let me do my job?
—Leave the Girl Alone

Dear Leave,
You're right—you don't want to give lectures; you want to use your youthful charm to defuse the sexist commentary. You need to have several ready replies that you deliver with a disarming smile, such as, "With this job I get exercise and fresh air. Please don't complain to the manager, because then I might have to work the cash register!" "When I'm an adult, I'll have to do my own grocery shopping, so this is giving me plenty of training in pushing carts." "Someday we'll have a woman president. But for now, I'm blazing the trail for female shopping-cart

Because, ya know exerting too much energy can damage your womb and will sap your reproductive energies, virtually unsexing you. Oh wait, this isn't the Victorian era anymore. Silly me.


h/t Meg'n


  1. As long as the grocery store provides a fainting couch and smelling salts, I suspect the poor frail dear will survive.

  2. Meg'n9/17/2009

    Ha. That makes me want to go back and re-read The Eternally Wounded Woman. Good stuff.

  3. Yes! The Eternally Wounded Woman is very good stuff. I'm gonna link it.

  4. Oh, yes. The Eternally Wounded Woman shuold be required reading for all feminists.