Today husband and I went to Tractor Supply, which we do often, because we live in the woods. Supplies for rural livin’ abound at TS and we enjoy roaming the aisles checking out the latest in chicken watering technology, etc. Today I was especially excited to go because I had decided I was going to buy myself a new pair of Carhartts. Gardening / cutting down trees / generally working around our property in regular jeans doesn’t work so well and I decided it was time to treat myself to a nice pair of heavy duty Carhartts with the lovely extra layer over the knees, a hammer loop, etc.
We walk into the store and I bee-line for the clothing area. I start wandering through the racks of $9.99 Wrangler jeans with bedazzled ass pockets, vaguely country-esque looking pink button down shirts, and steel toes boots with pink vines wrapping around the ankle shaft. After a few minutes exploration, I came to the realization that there were not one single pair of women’s Carhartts in the store. Across the room was an entire wall of men’s pants in all styles, sizes, colors, etc. But for us? Just bedazzled jeans and some obnoxiously ugly capris.
I almost started crying.
I’m not sure why at this particular moment such a thing affected me to such an extreme, but it did. The store was telling me that I should want to look cute and feminine, and if I needed to actually get anything done, well, that wasn’t my place and I should just let a man do it for me. Extreme, cliche, I know, and I’m sure not what the purchasing manager had at the forefront of their mind when they decided what to order for the clothing section. But it stuck with me. I tried to explain to my husband why it affected me so much. I’m not sure he really gets it, honestly. It made me realize how lucky I am that such moments only happen to me rarely. Many LGBT people, POC, and others deal with tiny little moments of exclusion on a much more regular basis (not to mention big giant moments). It eats away at you. A thousand microscopic cuts.