Friday, September 9, 2011

The husband creche.

At first, nothing much about this pub in Belfast attracted me -- I took a picture of it because of the giant pot of flowers along one side. Oh but look here, this pub was advertising its 'Husband Creche' services!

Is he getting on your nerves and under your feet??
You can leave him here and shop in peace!!!
Free Creche!!!
Just pay for his drinks and we will look after him.

I thought this ad was interesting for so many reasons:

1. (Married) men are infantilised, since they need a babysitter.

A creche is day-care for very young children, who are grouped together and taken care of by an adult while their parents go to work. Historically, a creche was public and primarily targeted poor mothers who had no choice but to work.

Since this ad targets women whose husbands start to complain and whine as they go shopping, understandably it uses the word 'creche'. But instead of being partners, husbands just start to become another dependent to entertain and take care of.

2. Men hate shopping and love drinking. Women love to shop. (Till they drop.)

I'm pretty sure you know at least one man who loves to shop. For new clothes, parts for his car, cosmetics even. And so what? Shopping is just buying things -- some women and men make a list and zoom straightaway to find the things they need and want, some prefer to take long leisurely strolls.

Although shopping has been constructed to be the favourite past time of women (and if you're a woman and hate shopping, you're called a man), it's an arbitrary choice. It's like how watching sports while drinking beer with their buddies has been constructed to be a male hobby. 

And just as men are not simple primitive creatures who are easily satisfied by a beer, women do not have a one-track desire for shopping.

3. Men are reluctant to accompany their women (but may perhaps pay for?) shopping.

This generally makes men and women enemies of each other. Worse, this makes husbands and wives enemies of each other, unable to communicate or agree on how to spend their time and money.

I can just imagine the scenario that the pub had in mind: wife wants to go shopping, husband doesn't want to walk around for hours, wife insists because she wants to spend time with him, husband reluctantly goes and complains all the way.

People, if she wants to shop but he doesn't, don't go together. Men, if you go then don't complain. Women, if he hates shopping, find some other activity to do together. 

4. Men and women have opposite views on shopping. Period.

Classic generalisation. Personally, I hate spending hours shopping (I think it's a waste of time) and may exceptionally walk around with a friend to accompany him or her to buy something. 

I'm trying to imagine if I was a man and my woman wanted to dump me at this 'creche' -- uh, I think I could make better use of my time instead of being forced to do something I don't want and then being 'taken care of' by strangers like babies, with drinks to occupy me.
Update 22/9/11: Here's a great post by Sociological Images on how the idea that men are like babies is 'obnoxious' and 'offensive'; it mocks men while upholding patriarchy at the same time.

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