“Long ago, I became more interested in the real world than in make-believe.” – Shirley Temple
I hate that we’ve become a society which feels the need to coddle the precious feels of the allegedly disenfranchised. There are legitimate issues about which we need to be concerned, so when something useless takes up space and time, it perturbs me.
According to MRCTV, a bike shop in Canada has decided to dedicate three Sundays out of each month to making their shop feel more “inclusive.”
The BikeWorks website states that these days are “for women, trans and non-binary persons,” and that during this time “the shop is operated by women, trans and non-binary persons.”
The site goes on to say:
“Only those who identify as women, trans or gender non-binary individuals are permitted to participate in our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program…If you do not identify as woman, trans or non-binary, you can support this important initiative by respecting the space and not entering during the program.”
The FAQ reads like an English 102 syllabus, in that it’s outrageously liberal. One particularly hilarious example is the following:
“Q: I am a man. Can I send my girlfriend/wife to pick up parts for me?”
“Answer: …Trying to access the shop while it is closed to the public by giving directions to a woman inside is disempowering and belittling the people working inside and reinforces toxic gender stereotypes.”
However, their mission statement also says:
“BikeWorks should be a safe place for anyone to visit regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, language, or ability.”
Hmmm. Anyone? Ok, a private business can do whatever they want. Unlike the gay mafia and the entirety of the Democratic Party, I’m all for that. However, my question is this: How weak have we become as a society that we must exclude an entire gender to feel “safe?”
That’s what this bike shop predicates its entire “women, trans, and non-binary” days on–that the very presence of men is just too much for non-men to handle. I picture women, trans, and non-binary people like some sort of cave-dwellers exposed to light as a man walks into the bike shop, screeching and burning as they try desperately to cover their near-translucent skin.
First, by excluding men to dispel what they call “toxic” behavior by men, such as “assumptions that women need more help than men,” or “double-checking the work of a female mechanic with a male mechanic,” or “asking to speak with a mechanic (making the assumption that a female volunteer must not be a mechanic),” how are men ever supposed to learn about this “toxic” behavior?
Excluding men to deal with problems of sexism is like excluding food in order to counter obesity. It’s not very productive. Food must eventually enter the picture, as it’s an integral part of life, one which must be dealt with if one is to survive. Just the same, men who display “sexist” behaviors (I put sexist in quotes because what many define as sexist is ludicrous), must eventually be faced in real life.
Second, by excluding men, one is simply discriminating on the basis of gender. One is assuming that every man is so deeply, inherently sexist, that they all must be excluded. That in itself is sexist.
Self-segregation is an unfortunate byproduct of a world in which some were not equally treated at one time. However, it’s a pendulum swung too far.
How about we tackle life’s problems head on, without the need for entire days dedicated to the fragile feels of the disenfranchised, excluding an entire segment of the population?
I suppose we can just go even further in the direction of self-segregation. BikeWorks should have several days out of the month dedicated to excluding all non-black cyclists, and other days dedicated to excluding all non-Muslim bike enthusiasts. Let’s create a world in which everyone feels oh-so “safe” from the evils of getting one’s feeling hurt for a second.
Or maybe we can collectively grow a pair. Either way.