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All I wanted was a cup of coffee

July 12, 2009

After a few weeks away, I got back home last weekend and stopped by a small restaurant in the center of my town to buy a cup of coffee. Buying my coffee there is a deliberate choice; even though Starbucks is often more convenient and Dunkin’ Donuts is cheaper, I try to support independent local businesses whenever I can.

In the last few years, this place has grown from a small lunch destination to a much larger business, complete with live music at dinner and many small gift and clothing items on sale. Waiting for my coffee the other day, I had to do a double – and then triple – take when I saw the tee shirts that were on display. They depicted a cartoon character husband enjoying “manly” activities, while his wife waited on him, dragging the animal he had killed hunting or mowing the lawn while he relaxed in front of the television. Beneath the pictures read “Wife is Good,” a wordplay on the popular Life is good products. The msot disturbing thing about all of these images is that in every single one, the woman’s face was hidden and the man was ignoring her. She was never a person; she was just there to act as his servant. And that’s the point. That’s why it’s supposed to be funny.

Witty? Maybe. I don’t really think the designers of these tee shirts should get too much credit for riding the coattails of another company’s success while recycling age-old misogynistic stereotypes. Offensive? Absolutely. To reduce women to the role of a servant and call her “good,” while suggesting that men aspire to these images of oppressive masculinity is just plain wrong. I haven’t been able to find the shirts online, except for these gems over on ebay. Bid away!

What’s most upsetting to me is that these are being sold in a restaurant in my generally progressive town. This is the kind of crap I expect in my spam folder, not my local coffee shop. People say that feminists go looking for something to get angry about, but all I wanted was a cup of coffee.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cynical Susan permalink
    July 14, 2009 9:13 am

    Were you able to express your concern with the restaurant’s management?

    • July 14, 2009 8:11 pm

      Thanks for asking the obvious question, Susan! I might post about this again later, but for now, the short answer is no. In that moment, I thought about asking to speak with a manager, but I wanted to give myself time to think about exactly what I could say. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I could speak my mind on this one without potentially jeopardizing my mom’s relationship with the coffee shop, which is within one hundred yards of the store she owns. I’m thinking of sending an anonymous note though, but unfortunately that will not require any response on their part. Any suggestions?

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