Archive for » November 13th, 2009«

Gender stereotypes at the grocery store

We were at the grocery store, the three of us, picking up a few things. As one does. An older gentleman stops my husband and asks if he can “borrow” me for a moment as he is supposed to pick up something for his wife but can’t find it.


J looks at me, I said Sure! and off I went. His wife, he said, had sent him to the store for heavy whipping cream. To be sure he was getting the right thing, I asked him what she was making. Whipped cream. Then at least he had the item name correct.

I walked over to the coolers with him and we found the heavy whipping cream. I showed him which carton to get and he thanked me profusely. He didn’t want to get the wrong thing and have to come back again after getting in “trouble” with his wife.

What that man didn’t know is that my husband and I both cook. I’m more of a baker than hubby is, for sure (although I don’t even do what I used to – I need a bigger kitchen), but we both cook. And my husband probably definitely knows his way around the kitchen better than I do.

I didn’t get offended when he asked my husband permission to get my help. Does that make me less of a feminist? I didn’t mind helping because I did actually know where the whipping cream was in the store. And I didn’t get upset when he assumed that I would be the one that bakes or cooks or shops for our family. He was just a man who needed some help.

More than once I’ve been amused at elderly gentlemen who mistakenly put me in a gender stereotype. They’re from a different time and different way of thinking. I don’t think we’ll change them. I just meet them where they are. And make a note to train my son differently.

photo copyright ME