Let’s talk pink parking spaces for women. Please help me, gents, to get into this debate. It’s so hard.
A service station in Hangzhou has created extra-large spaces for women, outlined in pink, to assist she-drivers to reverse their pretty little cars. As a result, there’s a pink stink about sexism on the Chinese internet.
I say great. Damsel drivers in Hangzhou are now more likely to get a space, because of pink’s power to repel men. Most blokes would rather circle endlessly than take an available pink space. What if the paint were to melt and it went on their tyres and they had pink treads? Oh no.
Beyond that, the reversing rumpus has got me thinking. Lady lot is on our side, gals. Moving forward, what if pink paint were to be used for general road markings? At traffic lights, a pink lane could be for ‘females who don’t wish to zoom off at 90 mph within one second of the lights changing, as they realize it’s not pole position at a Grand Prix’.
We know double yellow lines forbid parking; how about double pink lines warning ‘puddles form here so don’t bloody drive through them, creating a big splash and ruining pedestrians’ outfits?’ Sisterhood on the streets.
And whilst the pink tin is open, how about wavy pink lines on the kerb? Meaning ‘drippy air conditioners above, don’t stand here, your hair will go frizzy’.
Plus pink electronics. As well as a green man, a pink lady whose illumination would give extra time to cross, lest you are in heels, or breaking in new sandals. It’s no picnic to hurry with blisters.
And pink traffic cones. For when it’s cold and no coat would work with your outfit. Park straight outside your destination and place an authoritative pink cone at either end of the car. Challenge that!
Or what if women were to seize the narrative of the original provocation, the pink parking space? I’ve long called for special spaces near the entrance of malls. After ‘Disabled’ spaces and ‘Women with Children’, these would be for ‘Women with a Fresh Blowdry to Protect’.
Of course, the pink space isn’t new. Two years ago, Dalian was another Chinese city to get flak for pink spaces which were 30cm bigger ‘to help women park’. After the furore from women drivers, Dalian had to do some reversing of its own whereupon it banged into a lamppost which shone light on the fact women are better parkers than men, according to a survey by a car park company.
Back to Hangzhou, where the service station owner has certainly demonstrated his own ability to insert items into snug spaces, having put his foot in his mouth during this decision-making process. Why did he do it? Attention? To attract business? Why not something more imaginative than merely copying what happened in Dalian? Say, light blue petrol pumps for gents, with bigger nozzles to be inserted in their cars. Man petrol.
Though, perhaps this Hangzhou chap has clocked that Top Gear is just back on air. All the pink fracas could be to entice new presenters Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc to Hangzhou for a glamorous park-off with, say, Fan Bingbing. To prove which sex is better at reversing.
I conclude with a plea: let’s not limit ‘pink think’ to cars. In Macau and Hong Kong, where public transport dominates, we could pink-up mass transit. My request: could buses have pink seats with an adjacent pink space for my shoulder bag?
There are so many possibilities. Let’s campaign for all of the above. Linda Kennedy #rougefortheroad.
* Linda Kennedy is BBC’s cultural correspondent in Asia and starts today as a MDT columnist