A parking lot decorated in pink has been designated for women only at a shopping center in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei Province, China.
The lot offers wider parking spaces especially designed for female drivers, who tend to cause twice as many collisions in parking lots than in other places, according to Chinese insurance company data.
The shopping center parking lot also provides three lights in every parking space to improve visibility for female drivers.
Bright colors, such as pink and light purple, and cute cartoon pictures decorate the parking lot.
At first, I thought that this was sexist and wrong, and while I might still feel that way, consider the facts:
Provided that the Chinese insurance data is correct (and I assume it is, because why else waste valuable real estate on larger parking spaces), what is wrong with expanding parking spaces for women? From a financial and safety standpoint, it only makes sense.
And while the use of the color pink at first struck me as condescending and sexist, pink is without doubt the color most closely associated with women. The ratio of women to men wearing pink is incredibly lopsided. The mere existence of tee-shirts that read “Real men wear pink” is proof enough that the number of men who wear pink is miniscule. In fact, is there any other color that slants more in the direction of a single sex or gender than pink? Why not use a color that women seem especially attracted to?
The additional lighting in these parking lots also makes perfect sense. I can’t tell you how many times I have escorted a woman to her car on a dark night, but no woman has ever offered to walk me to my car under similar circumstances, nor I ever have I felt that I required an escort. What woman hasn’t wished that parking lots or parking garages be better lit?
As for the “cute cartoon pictures” decorating the lot, I’ll reserve judgment. I haven’t seen the pictures, nor do I fully understand the role that cartoons play in Chinese culture. From an American standpoint, they sound sexist, but I just don’t know.
So I am left wondering:
Is there really anything sexist about this parking lot?
Would American woman complain if a parking area was designated for their use only at the local mall and designed for their specific needs and tastes?
I’m sure many would, but should they?