Rubin on Wry is thrilled to welcome guest blogger Dianna, a talented journalist and web producer for a popular media outlet. She's also extremely innovative - she thought of this "guest blogger" thing. Oh, and she's my girlfriend, too. Interested in being a guest blogger? Leave me a message in the "post" section below.
I'm a sucker for a gift shop. I have been since I was a wee one. I have vivid memories of dashing through museums, scurrying past animals in a zoo and being fidgety in my seat at baseball games. More than anything, I wanted to be in the gift shop -- the promised land of useless things, with jacked up prices and absolutely no "collector's item value." I wanted that shirt that proudly said "Cubs" in bright pink; the stuffed animal that I would lose interest in by the time we got home; the pen that I would never use.
I've since grown out of that phase, mostly. But I still, on occasion, enjoy going to the gift shop. I'm going back to Chicago in a week and thought it would be cute to get my three-year-old cousin Sophie and my just-under-a-year cousin Dominic "Future President" T-shirts. They're everywhere in D.C. and, yes, they are cheesy. But they are also adorable, so leave me alone.
While heading toward Chinatown, Jon and I stumbled upon some sort of "official" visitors center; I felt certain I would find the gifts. And I did. But I didn't buy them. Not there.
Because of this atrocity that was in the store.
My first reaction was "What. The. Fuck." I made a beeline toward Jon and demanded he take a photograph. His response? "Oh that's cute." After gut punching him, I explained why this (the T-shirt, not the gut punch) was completely outrageous.
Here is my beef with this: It is implying to little girls that being the president's wife is just as desirable goal in life as being president. I'm not some sort of crazy women's lib-type. I still expect men to take out the garbage, ward off burglars, squash bugs when necessary. But encouraging girls (even at the age required to fit into the tiny size shirt I held today) to aspire to be the woman behind the man is just sad.
My second reaction, if you were counting, was "Is this what a female president would be called? The first lady?" Maybe it's just the fact that we haven't had a female president. Her title hasn't been defined, nor has that of her hypothetical husband or partner. Perhaps, I misconstrued the message of the t-shirt. But the fact that the shirt was made in China, cost under $8 and was sold in a place that panders to Southern (sorry) tourists, I'd place money on that not being the case.
Growing up, I was always told "Don't marry a doctor; be a doctor." I'd like to think that other mothers are sending similar messages to their daughters. But when you see shows like "18 Kids and Counting," where the girls aspire to be housewives, or any of the "Real Housewives" series, where women aim to be "kept," you sort of get the feeling that my mother's teachings are not the norm.
Maybe my next gift shop adventure will prove more successful.