This has nothing to do with adult… just some random sociology I experienced whilst off on a little adventure – enjoy!!
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I recently took a trip to the wilds of Small Town, AZ to visit a friend. One sunny afternoon, we stopped by an adorable â€œOld Townâ€ city center eatery. Organic, eclectic, and local, the menu was an amalgamation of Southwestern inspiration layered atop comfort food classics â€“ yum! Halfway through my poblano-and-some-kinda-squash soup, when I didnâ€™t think I could be more in love with the place, I noticed this amazing sign:
(pictured: the best ever!!)
My goodness, what I had just done by eating was everything I wanted to do every day, always! Keep commerce and trade in the community â€“ check. Consider the environment â€“ check. Create local jobs, invest in entrepreneurs, and localize tax dollars â€“ check, check, check!!
The signâ€™s titling â€“Â If you just purchased something from Old Town Mercado, hereâ€™s what you just didâ€¦Â â€“ alluded to a wider, collective movement going on in Small Town, AZ. From what I could tell, it seemed like the locals had been takinâ€™ the power back. As I finished up my soup, my mindâ€™s eye saw community activists and organizers working to reclaim their autonomy within the context of a global, big box marketplaceâ€¦ I envisioned forward-thinking entrepreneurs investing in the future by giving back to their townâ€™s infrastructure. Awesome.
My now-empty soup bowl symbolized the power of grassroots resistance, and I knew that the prickles I felt behind my eyes werenâ€™t just from the spicy poblanoâ€¦
But it was time to move on â€“ my next adventure in Small Town, AZ awaited! I got up and ventured to the back of the restaurant, looking for the facilities and a place to wash my hands. Not unexpectedly, I came upon two-and-only-two doors at the end of a short hallway. And though the doors themselves were quite ordinary, the signage that spelled out the options available through each respective entryway just wasnâ€™t.
One door was labeled â€œCocksâ€ â€“ cocks..? Ohhh, cocks! (I get it, hehe) What may have been construed as a slightly vulgar attribution was balanced out by an image of a realistic rooster, an adult male chicken also known as a cock, on the door of what was presumably the menâ€™s restroom.
(pictured: cocky signage)
Unsurprisingly, the second door was also doing the whole gender/chicken double-entendre thing. But, taken in conjunction with â€œCocksâ€ and roosters, this doorâ€™s attribution and its accompanying image delivered a far more offensive message. This door was labeled â€œChicks.â€
My immediate response to this signage was confusion â€“ was this a restroom for children, for little baby chicks? Howâ€¦ progressive? The picture of a hen where the other door had a rooster, in lieu of a fuzzy newborn fowl, however, let me know that this second door led to the womenâ€™s restroom.
First off, set aside reductive heterosexist pairings and the gendering of public spaces, including restrooms. Further, set aside whoâ€™s left out of normatively gendered womenâ€™s and menâ€™s public facilities. These issues, though significant, are beyond the Sociology 101-level issues that were clucking right there in the hallway.
Why newly hatched baby birds, why â€œChicksâ€? Why not adult female chickens, why not â€œHensâ€? Why signage, why attempt to erase gender while simultaneously infantalizing women? Is it because â€œHensâ€ has some sort of negative connotation to it, while â€œChicksâ€ sounds kinda sexy and fun? If so, why glorify youth and marginalize mature womanhood in such a manner?
I felt my social-justice-and-poblano inspired bliss melt away as my feminist-informed hackles got more and more riled. And when it dawned on me that the signs were handmade â€“Â handmadeÂ such that a representative from this â€œprogressiveâ€ and â€œtransgressiveâ€ local community establishment had to actively reify gender inequality in such a way …well, I almost marched my way up to the counter to complain.
But then I realized something that, in the midst of spicy soup and signage, I had momentarily forgotten â€“ humans and human society are a mixture of both/and. There is no such thing as a purely radical community fighting 100% perfectly for the good of every authentic experience all of the time; nor is there a purely evil empire looking only to maintain power inequality and crush the souls of others. Most people and places and spaces are multifaceted and complex, a mixture ofÂ bothÂ radical communityÂ andÂ power inequality. Most human social creations are a balance of both good signs and bad, and this awesome little restaurant in Small Town, AZ was no different.
I bought a tea for the road and got back out there.
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You may quote anything hereinÂ with the following attribution: â€œReprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright Â© Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).â€