NOT HOT…

Cruising through the ‘webs today this feature on furniture in the female form caught my eye with the heading, “Women Inspired Furniture – Hot or Not?”

It contains a series of furniture designs that are built around the female form, particularly from the waist down. There’s Her Chair which gives a plastic outline of a woman crouching (in what looks to be an uncomfortable and well.. just plain daft pose) and you are expected to sit on her knee.. It’s not her chair at all, is it? It’s not a chair for women to sit on and appreciate, it is a chair for men to look at and objectify women.

In particular, I like the comment as follows – it shows that we still have a lot more consciousness-raising work to do among women.

Some women might think it’s sexist, I think it’s pretty sexy. I’d definitely have at least one or two of these pieces in my house…though dunno about the chair. Pretty uncomfy looking. Where is the sexy furniture based on men-???? :)

In one breath, she says it’s sexy, not sexist (and yes, for some, the two CAN coexist…) and then the next she points out a couple of the sexist traits – the furniture is not built for comfort, and is only in the shape of women… And can thus be construed as sexist!

*facepalm*

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Quickun… Cos it’s awesome.

This is kinda sad really...

This is kinda sad really...

This is from xGothiChickx via GraphJam.com

Public spaces or parking spaces?

Reading this today reminded me of one of my pet gripes – you will see it all the time in any large town or city.

I work in Boston.  It’s cool.  But you know what’s not cool?  Being a pedestrian in a driver’s intersection.  Either you have to sit and wait for a million years for the “WALK” signal to let you cross, or you have to take your chances and hope any unseen cars will stop as you technically or actually jay-walk.  It’s a sad, sad game.  Of course, this game is played across the nation.  So why am I blogging about it?

Because one of the intersections I have to cross to get to and from work could and should probably be called ableist.

When I go to work, I either ride my bike or take the tram. Leaving apart the danger that cyclists often experience in trying to get from A to B in a healthy and safe manner, taking the tram is also a pretty dangerous experience. I am lucky enough to live close to my tram stop, and need to cross at a pedestrian crossing to get to it. However, time and again, cars run these lights (which are also one block away from my local primary school). That, I can blame on individual drivers, or law enforcement.

However getting off the tram, I have two choices. I can get off at what is popularly known by my friends as the “Wheel of Death” – a 5-way intersection with 3 main tram routes running through the middle of a large roundabout. It’s scary enough for drivers, but for pedestrians it’s almost suicide. To get to my work I need to negotiate zebra crossings (where people don’t stop for pedestrians) , pedestrian crossings (where the lights are badly marked, and ignored), and the extra awesome part where you have to fling yourself across the road  with no assistance from traffic signals or crossings at all.

The other option is to walk for about half a kilometre extra, and bolt over two major roads, neither of which have enough time on the timer for pedestrians to possibly cross in one go.

It’s a silent issue. You won’t see people arguing for it publicly. Its not in the news. But how many time have you had to cross the road at an intersection that’s made purely for drivers? When you press the button, cross when the light turns green, but still are stranded in the middle of the road by the time you finish. It instils fear in pedestrians. More than that, it punishes them for having the temerity to use public transport or walk to their destination, rather than waste money and resources and drive. It punishes those without cars, or those without the funds to have a car.

You won’t find these intersections in the inner city. You’ll find them on major arterials. You’ll find them wherever the car has overcome Shanks pony.

Gender Blender frames this as an ableist issue, which is right to a certain degree. Its not just ableist, because it also discriminates against the able. In my experience, it is discriminatory against the poor.

This is discrimination that is class-based, age based, based on those who choose to make environmentally responsible transport choices. This is making those who have no other choice but to use public transit suffer for the convenience of those who can travel as they please.

Why are our cities built this way and why aren’t we complaining louder?