When toymaker Hasbro tested a playhouse they hoped would appeal to both boys and girls, the girls dressed the dolls and played house while the boys catapulted the baby carriage off the roof.
The Weekly Standard
It was the day we’d all been working towards for so many years. We were a sex-and-gender diverse group at the architecture firm of Sidley + Wein + Adcock–44% female identifying as such, 42% male identifying as such, 24% other. Nobody cared that as a group those numbers exceed 100%, we all tried to give 110%, 365 days of the year–366 in a leap year!
Sure there’d been tensions along the way, it was inevitable in any mega-humongo project of this size: an 1,800 foot skyscraper that would, when topped off, be the tallest building in America!
And what was more important, from the point of view of the female members of the team, was that the normal macho order had been reversed; instead of fat cat corporate suites on the upper floors and the on-site daycare in the basement, the kids would be on top–where they belonged! Our society’s first priority, at least in the eyes of the female members of our team, was the children, not some corpulent cigar-smoking tycoon, fattening himself on steak tartare in a posh dining room high above the millions of ant-sized humans scurrying around beneath him.
The time had come for the press conference celebrating our triumph, which would mar the skyline of our fair city long after we were dead and gone. Lisa Tutwiler, the senior women on the design team, stepped forward to the microphone and, after the usual conventional pleasantries, looked out over the little balsa wood model of our phallic symbol and began to speak.
“This is truly a momentous day not just for our firm, but also for the City of Boston, and man and womankind in general,” she intoned modestly. “For once in the sad history of the human race, we put our most precious possessions up where they belong–above everything else. No more will the male ego lord it over women and children, and the stuffed animals they–the children, not the women–bring with them to daycare every morning so that their mothers can escape the stultifying suburban atmosphere that Betty Friedan described in . . .”
At this point her concentration was broken as a toy baby carriage went whizzing by her face, propelled by a push from Todd Sklar, a senior partner who played only a minor role on the project but who had stopped by the conference room to sample the buffet lunch.
“Todd!” snapped Amanda Eklund, a consulting engineer who’d been consulted on engineering for the building. “What is WRONG with you?” she hissed through clenched teeth.
“I don’t know,” he said with less chagrin than seemed appropriate given the very public nature of his breach of decorum. “I think before we sign off on any big building project, we ought to see how far a baby carriage would go if somebody flung it off the roof.”