Gender stereotypes affect all parts of our lives. This includes unconscious biases at work, and the Hidden Curriculum at school. It even affects how we drive and where we park.
This article from the online TIME magazine reports that a Chinese mall has separate, larger parking spaces for women. These parking spaces are pink, 30 cm bigger than normal spaces, and are “respectfully reserved for women” because of a local belief that women are bad at driving. The mall managers said that they wanted to “make it easier for their female customers” by giving them extra room.
Is this sexist? Some might argue that it is sexist towards men because it gives women privilege just because of their gender. Julia Wood (2013) might argue that it is sexist towards women, because it stereotypes and treats them like children, who are “less mature, less competent, less capable, than [male] adults (p. 236)”. These large, pink parking spaces reinforce the stereotype that women are bad drivers, and that women depend on male mall managers to “protect” them.
Is it oppressive? According to Frye (2000), we would have to look at the whole social system, culture and history of China to see if this situation is a part of system of oppressing women (p 12 – 13).
What do you think?