If you take a close look at the stick figures in your life, you’ll notice that the “generic” stick figure is actually a great example of the way many of our societies center the male (as in, it’s generic insofar as the male is the generic human and women are, well, women). That’s why the bathroom symbol for “men’s” is the same one you see virtually everywhere representing “person.” Unless, of course, children or cleaning are involved and then they weirdly sprout skirts.
Today our Facebook friend Tamar G. sent us one we couldn’t resist sharing. It’s a playground sign from Goettigen, Germany featuring an adult and child. As is common, the adult has been carefully altered to be identifiable as female because the sign is in reference to caretaking kids. Someone in Goettigen found this as annoying as we do, however, and scribbled upon the sign: “Daddy, I also want to wear a skirt.” What a fabulous way to fight back against rigid gender rules.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.