It was the soft gruntings of subjects’ reptilian brains, Rapaille says, that clued him in to the fact that women are obsessed with cup holders. Cup holders signify coffee, he says, and coffee signifies safety, and safety is what women want most in cars.
As we now know, the mass hysteria over “crack babies” and their deviant mothers was unfounded. Crack cocaine doesn’t do the kind of damage we thought it did to developing babies. Unfortunately, instead of learning from this heady mix of bad science, a sensationalist press, over-reaching prosecutors, and the narrative of the selfish mother content to damage her baby, we’re repeating it.
It’s 2013, not 1985, but it’s still considerably harder for my preschool-age daughter to find representations of herself onscreen then it will be for our newborn son, once he starts watching TV.
Within the business world, this squeamishness has long been the problem that has no name; marketing executives and consultants I spoke with were well aware of the issue but didn’t have the vocabulary to talk about it. Avery had to borrow from anthropology to find the term ‘gender contamination,’ which traces back to the kind of ancient cultural taboos that banished menstruating women to special huts for fear they’d pollute everyone else.
Given how unpleasant the car-shopping experience is for women, who find walking into a dealership to be like landing on an all-male, vaguely hostile planet, buying online is something tantamount to a feminist act.
Of all the places where Sarah Palin—former governor of Alaska, former Republican vice-presidential nominee, possible presidential hopeful—might find a natural constituency, New York City’s Liberty Island is not one. “I’ve heard of Michael Palin,” he says.