Sunday, May 6, 2007

How could I forget?

We went to Citi Centre mall on Saturday after the dentist and before the Rickshaw Challenge. Spiderman 3 just came out on Friday and a tyre company, CEAT, had a promotion in the main hall with a challenge - wrap some velcro on your arms and knees and try to climb a slope with velcro strips on it. We watched some 20something guys attempt it and fail pretty spectacularly. How hard could it be??

Katherine wanted to try. After watching a bit I encouraged her to approach the guy with a clipboard and ask for a turn. I stepped back to watch until she truned back crestfallen.
The answer was No, and the reason? Oh, you'll love this: she's a girl. We went out to the car all the while muttering how unfair it was. But as we started up the car and began to pull out I got more and more agitated about this stupid reason. Here's where Ian turns into SuperDad. I poked Ian and asked him to take Katherine back in there and make them let her try. OK, not my finest moment, but you get what I was after. We battle to have our kids understand that anything is possible, any door is open to them, and some company like CEAT is going to tell our kid they can't do something because she's a girl? What kind of message is that? Ugh.
So, Ian... sorry, SuperDad... brought Katherine back in. He went up to Clipboard Guy and said to give her a chance. He heard again, she was a girl, not allowed. Clipboard Guy's manager came over and said Nope, no girls. SuperDad asked to see the rules (rules?) that say so. Manager Guy backtracked and said SuperDad would have to sign a release. OK then, release in hand, Katherine started getting outfitted. Manager Guy called his Big Boss Manager. Big Boss Manager said No, that girls were not CEAT's target clients. SuperDad states that women buy tires too. This time, the rules were amended... boys only. And only boys 18-40 years old. So said Big Boss Manager.
Girl with the microphone who was helping Katherine get ready was very confused, and was told to make an announcement that no one under 18 could participate, and of course... men only. I'm sure there was a collective groan among the teens standing around waiting for their turn.
SuperDad brought his flexible, agile and very capable girl back to the car. She was upset and rightly so for how they treated her. What great PR it would have been if they had let her even attempt the challenge. Fact is, she would have made it to the top, a whopping 7' high. And she would have made all those macho guys look bad.
Hmm, yes, perhaps that was the real reason after all?

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