I fear this small issue could be taken grossly out of proportion to change spaces reserved for women across Canada and maybe even across North America. So let’s address this now before there are further implications beyond Sobeys apologizing profusely to men on their Twitter feed.
The article in question “New Father prods P.E.I. Sobeys about mothers-only parking spot.”
Firstly, let’s address these parking spots. They are located in handicapped section. Why? Because women in full-term of pregnancy and postpartum are temporarily handicapped. Some more than others, and mothers, since the creation of these spots, have been aware of that. I am a young mother of two under two and when I was pregnant with my first I used my local spot during the last month of my pregnancy. My legs were swollen, my body ached and yet groceries still needed to be bought. I came back to this spot when I was in the last month of my second pregnancy with a toddler on my hip and a belly that dropped two months early. After both labours I had many stitches and for the first three weeks I used these spots, I was in pain and I was granted a spot to park my car to make the ordeal of feeding my family a bit easier.
No father has ever had to experience this.
My next point is one of inherent sexism, male privilege and white privilege on this island of ours. The first is sexism. A new father is not only demanding space be taken from women in need, but he is also including in his article that he is a stay at home dad and that has to be normalized. My husband is a stay at home dad, many are, I can say that for our generation that is normalized, maybe not for the ones older than us, but for us it is. He wishes to be congratulated for performing a task women have been demanded to do for thousands of years, this is sexism. The province has sexism written in its laws and the coverage of supposed heroism of this man is demonstrative of how easily men can and will move in to take spaces women have fought for.
Next, white privilege. If a person of colour made the same complaint, not only would it not have made it to national news in a day, the local paper would never have picked the story up. But he is a white male, so logic went entirely out the window and the entire audience had collective amnesia as to why these spaces were even there in the first place. The female body needs time to recover from carrying a baby to term, delivering a baby and then healing from childbirth and the purpose of these space is to aid in this stage of life.
I ask the readers to encourage Sobeys and all grocery and shopping locations to keep these spaces for the women who need them and not give in to men demanding them for mobility of their healthy bodies.