The sidewalks on West Franklin Street have been in the process of being replaced, and because of the construction, a sign that reads “Men Working” was placed on the sidewalk. This sign has been a topic of debate among students, mainly the ones finding something to be offended about instead of studying for their final.
Sophomore Annie Praise, a self-proclaimed social justice warrior, talked to The Black Sheep about the issues she has with the sign.
“It’s extremely sexist and implies that only men are capable of doing work,” Praise told us while holding a neglected philosophy textbook. “What about women and non-binary folk? Don’t they have the capacity to be construction workers, too? We are a city that celebrates, and even advertises, the fact that we are extremely diverse and welcoming of all people, no matter who they are. It’s 2015. It’s about time everyone is represented in signs like this one. The sign should simply say ‘People Working.’ ” She insisted on telling us more of her in-depth problems with the sign, explaining for the next several hours that it had nothing to do with her philosophy exam the next day.
We talked to one of the construction workers, Bill Coors, to get his opinion on the matter.
“All of you people are so sensitive,” Coors told us, sexistly. “So what if the sign says ‘Men Working?’ We’re in a man’s world. The President of the United States? He’s a man. The President of VCU? He’s a man. These construction workers? We’re all men. Except for Terry, but they’re cool with whatever. And yeah, Dave likes to wear a dress on occasion! That’s just what bros do! But why do we need equality for women? Why do you people come in and complicate things?”
We asked him if he’d feel differently if a woman was elected president. “I mean, don’t take this the wrong way; I really respect women and all. I’m actually a really nice guy. But, as a man, there only a few things I want out of life. I just want to work, make money, drink beer, watch football, have awesome sex, and harass women on the internet. Why is that so hard? Why do people insist on taking this freedom from us? We’re being oppressed!”
There’s no word on when we will have gender-inclusive or even gender-neutral working signs, but until then, we’ve been spraying painting “Wo” on the front of all the signs.