Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The world is changing.
It’s just a little unclear whether it’s moving toward the latter part of the 21st century or the latter part of the 17th.
You see, Matt Stuart, Head of Google Home and Nest Product Planning, was on one of American’s newest planes — presumably the dreaded 737 MAX — and didn’t like what he saw.
Instead, what offended Stuart was the icon on the changing table. It was a woman changing her baby.
The aggrieved Stuart tweeted, in capital letters:
DADS CHANGE DIAPERS.
Together with some perfectly appropriate emojis.
In a trice, her husband, CNN’s famed media correspondent Brian Stelter, was retweeting his backing too.
And the public battle had begun.
On one side, self-declared progressive types, who believe this a simple and offensive symbol of archaic sexism.
On another, those who thought it a touch prejudiced that progressives should think someone in a skirt was necessarily a woman.
On a third side were those who wondered why there’s a person in the icon at all. Surely one could indicate a changing table without an image of someone doing the changing.
And on a fourth side were those who thought there were more important things to get angry about. Which made them angry.
There were even examples posted of signs that were more of today.
Isn’t that a bit sexist, I hear at least two people cry.
Naturally, I contacted American Airlines to ask how it felt about this Twittered brouhaha. I’ll update, should I hear.
I have no baby in this fight.
It is, though, merely one example of how hackles can be raised at the tiniest word or image — sometimes justifiably — and how Twitter manages to lift those hackles to celestial heights.
It’s also an example, many would say, of the thousand little things that go into cementing a traditional view of gender roles, rather than reflecting a much changed reality.
The truly dry and mischievous, though, might wonder whether the icon is the work of the aircraft manufacturer.
To get it changed would cost the airline money and no airline wants to spend more money than it has to.
Especially on making all its passengers happy.