Ikea Politics

I’m so tired. I’ve been out for a drink for a friend’s birthday but I’m suddenly gripped by the urge to sort out my DVD storage. So, I’ve decided to build a cabinet. My mate Alan is a carpenter. We were chatting about what’s the best way to deal with my DVDs the other day and he drew up an awesome, unconventional blueprint for a really good storage system. We thought “sod it, let’s be ambitious. Let’s start from scratch!” so we bought some wood and some nails and some tools and we’re going for it.

It’s not just us though. We’ve other friends here too! Sarah is here. She’s amazing. She took woodwork at school. We’re quite close (not as close as me and Alan, I’d trust him with my life). I was going to ask Alan to take charge of cutting up and assembling the wood for my cabinet, but I’m afraid that my other mates Terry, Andrea, Karen and Phil would think I’m being sexist. I mean, it looks bad, doesn’t it? I always go on about how women and men should be treated equally and have the same opportunities, the same pay, etc. I’ve campaigned and fought for that for ages! But if I give the carpentry job to Alan (even though he designed the shelving) people might think I think a woman couldn’t do it. So I’ve asked Sarah. I’ll keep Alan close, but not so close as to anger those who think I might NOT be a feminist who supports equal rights. I mean, Alan would probably be better-placed to see his design through, but then.. Well,  I don’t want to look bad. So – you know, Sarah’s spice rack was awesome! – I’ll give her the job.

What? Tokenism?! No. Not at all! I mean, yeah, I think Alan would be better since he’s, you know, pretty much designed this storage unit for me, but no. Sarah is great! She’s great! And, you know, she’s a woman, so you know, people – women, male feminists etc – they’ll think “look at him, trusting a woman to do the top job, good man!” right? That’s not tokenism! That’s, like, well, I don’t know. But it’s like… eh?

What? You think maybe Alan WOULD be better? I don’t know – I mean, I sort of agree. But then, you know, people will complain that I didn’t trust a woman to do the job. Huh? Yeah I know. I’m probably over-thinking it. Sure, I SHOULD give the job to the person I think is best-prepared and most-able to carry the design to fruition. I know. But then, it looks bad, doesn’t it? Not having a woman in the important job, like. I KNOW she’s not been as hands-on as Alan, but then that’s not important, is it? I mean it LOOKS better if I give it to Sarah, doesn’t it?

Alan is all “oh, but I helped put this design together!” but he’s being very gracious about me choosing Sarah over him. He gets it, you know? He understands that it LOOKS better – especially with me being a feminist and all, all marches and championing equality – to have Sarah on board. Hmm? I don’t know if she wants to help me build the cabinet. I haven’t asked her. Nope, nobody’s asked her. I don’t know, she might not want to help, but – well, you know… It LOOKS better, doesn’t it?

What’s that? Appointing someone to a job just because it LOOKS better to those who might criticise my proven and provable feminist views and ardent battle for equality among genders, races, sexualities… No I KNOW! I mean. No. No I don’t think it DOES look like I’m simply bowing to pressure from critics, regardless of Sarah’s ability and willingness to help out on these shelves, if I appoint her above Alan. No.

What? You’d rather – given these shelves are going to be supporting a valuable load – that I offer the position of “chief woodcutter and helper” to someone who really knows their stuff; someone I know and trust with such an important and delicate job? Hmm… But what about what all the other people say?! Isn’t that most important?! No? Really? Oh.

Maybe I’ll ask Alan then. Sarah, I’m sure, can help me fix my exhaust instead. I mean, she’s a qualified mechanic after all… But then, cars… That’s a man’s job, isn’t it? Where’s Alan?…

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