Bitching About a Matter of Little Consequence

This has irked me for a while, and since I just walked four miles through the rain now seems as good a time to complain about it as any.

I buy my groceries from Fresh Direct. They're an online grocery store in New York City. They're incredibly convenient. They've got an easy to navigate web site that lets you easily find what you're looking for, comparison shop between products, and add and remove stuff from your cart. The selection is better than any store in the area, and the prices are somewhat lower than you get at most neighborhood grocery stores. Fruit and vegetable quality used to be a little dicey, but they've improved significantly in the couple of years I've been shopping with them and now I get produce from them that's as good as when I hand pick it. They're also incredibly convenient for my schedule. I can shop whenever I like with them and usually get delivery the next day, plus I can schedule the deliver for any time between 5 in the morning and 11 at night. I still buy emergency goods from the local stores, but I no longer have to schlep a week's worth of groceries when I do the bulk of my shopping.

So, on whole, they're fantastic. But there's one thing that's irked me for the last two years. Go do their web page. Take a look around at their top menu bar. Roll your mouse over the different options and enjoy the animated icons. Do you notice something odd? Something problematic? Something that would lead to this post being placed in the "Gender Stuff" category?

The "Your Account" menu is represented by the universal pictogram for Woman. This bugs me on a number of levels. First, on the personal level, it bugs me in that I am not a woman, yet the interface seems to tell me that I ought to be. It excludes me. Second, it doesn't seem to be accurate when I move further outward to my group of friends. Almost everyone I know who buys groceries gets them from Fresh Direct, regardless of gender. I know a lot of guys who shop for groceries, I know a lot of guys who cook. I've had conversations with guys about where the best places to get groceries are. Making the Your Account icon a woman seems a bit thoughtless on Fresh Direct's part.

And, of course, it bugs me because it perpetuates the cultural assumption that cooking and grocery shopping is woman's work. Equitable division of housework is one of the largest obstacles in the way of economic equality between the sexes, and Fresh Direct sayin that someone shopping for groceries should be assumed to be a woman only reinforces unequal gender roles.

Again, it's just a small thing. I still shop there because it's a great grocery store. And arguably, by making grocery shopping less of a time sink, Fresh Direct lightens the house work load and makes equitable division less problematic. Still, the icon is silly and unneccessary and I wish that they would change it.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on April 25, 2007 8:04 PM.

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