This Dad Calling Out Sexist Supermarket Sign Is Another Win For All Parents

"When society makes parenting inclusive for dads, it helps to 'free up' us moms too."

Too many of us are subjected to sexist standards thanks to the deeply ingrained notion that raising children is a "woman's job." As a result, fathers are too often thought of as "babysitters" instead of "parents," and are scoffed at for being stay-at-home dads. They also rarely have access to baby-changing stations in public restrooms, and, at least in the U.S., aren't expected to take much time off for paternity leave. Dads are too often underestimated, which results in patronizing comments when it comes to their kids as well as praise for doing the bare minimum

To help change these sexist standards and stereotypes, we need to change our language and alter our expectations. And that can be done with something as simple as pointing out everyday sexism on a public sign. 

On Monday, a Canadian dad did exactly that. Justin Simard pulled his car into the parking lot of a Sobeys supermarket in Stratford, Prince Edward Island. Simard, who was with his 9-month-old son, was in a parking spot with a sign that read, "Expecting Mothers and Mothers with Small Children." 

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"When I went to get out of my car, the person in the spot next to me gave me a dirty look, which quickly vanished when I took my son out of his car seat," Simard told HuffPost. "Then the wording of the sign bothered me. What about single fathers? What about same-sex couples? It occurred to me that the sign could be more inclusive."

So, he used social media to get this point across. He snapped a photo of himself and his son next to the sign and tweeted at Sobeys, "Crap, am I allowed to park here? #notababysitter #dadissues." 

The tweet has since been favorited over 400 times and has more than 100 retweets. Many people are frustrated by the underlying sexism in our culture when it comes to parenting. While changing signs, reexamining our biases and the language we use, and raising awareness about sexist practices are certainly beneficial for dads, being more inclusive can also make a huge impact for moms, too. When we think about mom and dads equally as parents, we help to fight stigma associated with women in the workforce and help them better balance work and family

Twitter users replied to Simard's tweet praising him for pointing out the sexist sign. 

A representative from Sobeys also saw Simard's tweet and responded on the supermarket's Twitter account. "You are definitely entitled to that parking spot, Justin!" they wrote. "Which location was this so we can update the signage? #SuperDad."

No word yet on whether Sobeys will actually change their signs to use more inclusive language for all parents, but these types of conversations help to raise awareness about these issues. We're calling this one a win. 

Cover image via Unsplash

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