Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Ice Cream Store

Here's a little story I thought of. Much of it is loosely inspired from a long-ago conversation on soc.feminism. Scarily enough, the soc.feminism thing was much longer and drawn out!

First, here's the "key":

Vanilla = full-time homemaker role: "opting out of the rat race"
Chocolate = careerist role: "bringing home the bacon"
Swirl = some aspects of both roles: "a balanced life"

Felicia the Feminist says: It's great that women can have chocolate now. I'm really happy about my own bowl of chocolate here, but...

Charlie the Chauvanist says: Oh, no! Starting up with your feminist whining!

Felicia: Well, vanilla looks good too.

Charlie: Oh, I see. You're unhappy about your choice. Well, tough. That's life. Maybe you should re-think that whole feminist philosophy of yours which encouraged you to choose chocolate.

Felicia: Um... It's not that. I like chocolate. I just think it would be nice if I could have some vanilla too.

Charlie: Hah! You're saying you want both?! You can't have it all, sister. You only have so much time to eat it all.

F: I don't mean that I want two bowls of ice cream. I can't afford two, nor can I eat two whole servings.

C: I've seen a few women do it, though it's really rare.

F: I agree, and I'm not one of those women.

C: So you want something that's impossible.

F: No, I don't think it is impossible. Maybe there's a way to blend the two...

C: How selfish of you. You want everything handed to you. You can't afford two bowls of ice cream. Do you expect everyone else in the shop to foot the bill for your other bowl? And then only eat half of each?

F: No! That's not what I'm asking for.

C: That's what it sounds like to me.

F: What about altering the machine so the two flavors could mix together... a "swirl", perhaps? Do you have any ideas how to do this?

C: Look, there's no real answer to that. You'd be best off just accepting things the way they are. Life has tough choices. You're lucky you even have any choice. It used to be that women could only have vanilla and men chocolate. Now women can choose chocolate too.

F: But what if I like aspects of both flavors?

C: Sounds like your female hormones are giving you a craving for vanilla. You should have considered that possibility before you made your purchase. Feminists are pushing women too hard to choose chocolate, and this is the result. They're wreaking havoc on society because they're not considering hormonal differences!

F: I don't see how hormones are even relevant to this discussion.

C: Hardly irrelevant when you consider statistics ! On average, women have a very strong preference for vanilla & men for chocolate.

F: Hmm. Interesting how vanilla-eaters are so often disrespected.

C: Well, it takes a tough constitution to digest chocolate. In any case, people can't change the way they're hard-wired.

F: OK. Even if what you say is correct, I'd argue that both sexes have some degree of preference for both flavors. Why is it even relevant what people statistically choose? I know I would like a little of both and I know many other women who...

C: There you go again. You feminists just can't stop complaining. Look, YOU CAN HAVE CHOCOLATE NOW, just like men, if that's what you really want. Though I suspect very few women really want it.

F: But consider that women still get dirty looks for choosing chocolate. Never mind the few men who dare to choose vanilla! Come to think of it, did you ever consider that a lot of men might like the "swirl" idea? I bet a lot of people would be happier if it were an option.

C: You mean you would be happier.

F: Well, yes, I would be happier. When I first came into this shop, I was sort-of expecting the "swirl" option, but I wasn't able to articulate it. But even if I could have explained it, it wasn't even there.

C: So, I was right. This is about your own life - your own bitterness. You can't stand the chocolate you chose, but now you're stuck.

F: Hold on a second. I said I like what I have now. Chocolate is very nice. I'm grateful I even have a bowl. But I see other women coming in the store who seem to have the same vague assumption I had that they could combine the two.

C: Selfish, selfish, SELFISH! Who's going to pay for the other bowls of ice cream for all you lovely ladies? Us men?

F: You're clearly not getting my point. Is anyone else in this shop interested in talking about how to modify the ice cream machine so it can make swirl?

C: Duh! You can't change the machine! Who do you think you are? It runs according to natural physical laws that can't be changed.

F: The same sort of engineering that went into the existing machine might be applied to this new idea...

C: You think you're a god or something. Like you can force women to suddenly like chocolate and men to like vanilla.

F: Arrrgh. Does anyone else want to talk about my actual idea?


Blogger Michael Chermside said...

Just wanted to say I really love this story -- I feel like I've seen this very conversation taking place before!

12:56 PM, September 27, 2004  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Love this. I'm linking this to my blog. :-)

8:52 PM, March 14, 2005  

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