October 11, 2007

Pakistani Publicist Takes Wide Stance On Diaper-Changing Stroller

babydeck.jpg

The BabyDeck is a changing station built into a stroller seat. It folds out like a La-Z-Boy footrest [actually, it folds out like the footrest on a Delta Business Elite seat, which is the opposite direction from a La-Z-Boy.] It was invented by a dad in Texas whose wife was grossed out by a changing table in a public restroom. [It's definitely an improvement over their interim solution, which was to get an SUV.]

As the inventors shop their patent around to major stroller manufacturers, they are proceeding with the launch of their own BabyDeck-equipped stroller, the Abiie G-305 BabyDeck. [Abiie is apparently the term for Aprica in the Shenzhen dialect.]

But if you just think the impact of the BabyDeck technology will be limited to the stroller industry, a social observer named Ernest Dempsey would like you to think again. The BabyDeck is nothing short of a gender stereotyping revolution, an earthshattering redefinition of men's and women's parenting roles:

Still, the gap created by centuries of disparity between gender roles lingers in our time. One of the most common manifestations of this gap is the particular duties in parenting a child-the 'who does what' issue. An interesting study reveals that women (or moms) are the ones expected to change the baby's diapers.

The study in question was made by Greg Allen, an American filmmaker and writer, who was doing research on the number of public men's room in New York that were facilitated with diaper-changing facility. Allen's findings pointed that most men's rooms lack a diaper-changing table. Most of them also lacked enough space to change a baby's diapers. In contrast, more women's restroom had the diaper-changing facility as well as enough space and furniture to clean a baby. The social implications of these facts are pretty clear: dads are not expected to change a child's diapers, even if they want or need to do so.

...

BabyDeck Stroller is likely to dramatically change the parenting roles that are prevalent in our modern society. With the restrooms out of the diaper-changing scene, the responsibility of diaper-changing is automatically divided equally between parents of both genders. The appearance of BabyDeck Stroller, therefore, negates traditional gender-based stereotypes.

Well, obviously! It's as inevitable as night following day. It makes as much sense as buying an Escalade in order to change a diaper. Or as using some random blogger's "research" on men's rooms as a datapoint. Or as a Pakistani press release writer-for-hire with a ridiculous pen name making grandiose pronouncements on the state of gender relations from the freakin' Tribal Frontier, where gang-rape and stoning are still considered valid punishments for women.

So yeah, the BabyDeck Stroller should be out sometime in 2008. I heartily endorse this event or product.

BabyDeck Stroller with Changing Table [mybabydeck.com]
Is a Parenting Product Negating Gender Stereotypes? [newsblaze via aj at thingamababy]

Totally related, you'll love the ending: "Just a kilometer" a short story by Ernest Dempsey [milkmag.org]

14 Comments

I actually thought you were kidding about the SUV until I read their little profile on their website. You know, we have a hard time finding storage space for all these diapers since the kidlette was born, so I guess the only viable solution is to buy a McMansion.

I got to the sentence about an "interesting study" and thought really? I'd never heard of that one. Then I kept reading and decided yes, I need to buy a mcmansion too.

This event or product -- good one.

Mike

I don't get this. If you have a stroller that reclines a decent amount, or flat, isn't it basically the same thing? I've changed my son's diapers in his Maclaren Quest since he was 3 months in addition to changing him on the front seat of my Scion xB. I don't understand the need for an SUV or a special stroller.

Maybe they should have gotten something like this instead: a traveling changing pad

Sorry to see that you were pissed off Greg! If you only had a stroller of the type I wrote about, you would have had fewer problems with your mood swings. But it’s still not too late, you can get one now. And if it doesn’t offend, I can personally write to the seller to offer you some discount. After all, you’ll have to change your baby’s diapers once the stroller is out (no matter how cranky you fell about it). So why not do it on the stroller’s clean table instead of a dirty floor, unless of course if you are allergic to cleanliness more than you are to the term ‘Pakistani’

About hyperboles, carefully reading your post will tell you who is going boom. Though it will certainly be left to you to clarify what sets you exactly on fire about a conclusion that apparently follows from the case presented in the article. As far I know, motivation often comes masked, so if things have not been very well around you, please understand that Ernest Dempsey doesn’t and cannot have a role in messing them up.

Given this, I am glad that you find my pen name ridiculous; at least there is something that can make you laugh. But also try nitrous oxide please (look it up in Wikipedia to learn what it is). Fianlly, thank you for linking to my posts and interview, though I would appreciate linking to some post or news story that really shows gang-rape and/or stoning in my ‘freakin’ Tribal Frontier’. Then it will go to show that I am as ignorant of my culture as you are of yours; but just for fun sake, please take a look at these few links and think (at least try to, if you will) whose culture is inflicting more pain on its citizens:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545289/
http://chicagoist.com/2008/03/21/developmentally.php

Finally (really finally this time), this social observer named Ernest Dempsey really wants you to think again, not of gender stereotypes (which you may still not be able to understand properly) but of the ethics of writing and some good relaxation techniques that may help calm a sulking mind.

In good faith,

Ernest Dempsey


thanks, Ernie. see you on the cricket pitch.

As I told you in my email reply to your request to remove this post, the gang-rape was a reference to the case of Mukhtar Mai, who was attacked at the demand of a rival tribe or of a tribal council [panchayat], and who has spoken out and pursued prosecution of her attackers. It was an extremely controversial and widely covered case that embroiled Pervez Musharaff while garnering tremendous international media attention. I'm surprised you pretend not to have heard of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukhtaran_Bibi

As for Matthew Shephard and others, those are examples of American bigotry and backwardness that are right in line with the other ones I mentioned in my email. You might consider Wyoming, where Shephard was killed to be the American equivalent of your tribal areas. I'd only mentioned the US South, because that's where I grew up, and it's what I'm most familiar with, not because I claim it's the only place you are able to find retrograde thinking in the US.

And as for my ill humor, I can't disagree with you more. I greatly enjoyed writing to you at length this morning and pointing out the ridiculous inaccuracy of your for-hire puffery disguised as pop cultural analysis. It was a nice occasion to remember how entertainingly clueless both your faux-article AND the stroller-changing table were. And for that I thank you.

Greg, thanks for taking the pains to post your reply. It deserves my own and I hope you are not short of space here.

Choosing to ignore your hollow adherence to your claims of my article's puffery and pardoning your own of the kind, I would you request you to read something carefully when you read it or make a claim about it. Yes, I noticed your uninformed claim about Mukhtaran Mai and the laughable attempt to connect her case to ‘my’ tribal area.

First, I live in a settled district that is adjacent to the tribal areas but not part of it. So I am not from the tribal frontier, neither the entire frontier province is tribal. Secondly, Mukhtara mai was not raped in a tribal area or by tribal men. I repeat Mukhtara Mai WAS NOT RAPED IN TRIBAL BELT. She is a Punjabi woman and She was raped in Punjab. Punjabis and Pakhtoons live in a single country but they come from very different subcultures. I belong to the Pakhtoon race; my folk have historically looked down on Punjabis for their loose values and tolerance of oppression. In Punjab, oppression and torture of subordinates by a landlord has been a historical feature. In the tribal belt (which you think I come from), with Pakhtoon population, no one can even think of touching a woman with bad intent, let alone raping. If someone does it, he is a dead man.

We also have no horrid Panjayat system, like the one that allowed Mukhtara Mai's rape, but a 'jirga' system that has the highest regard for women's chastity and safety. Even when men are at enmity in Pakhtoon tribes, women of both sides are free to tread the territories of the enemy without risking their lives or honor. So next time when you talk of something relating geography, please make sure to take a look at the map of the respective areas and make sure to read the names and locations carefully. After Mukhtara’s rape, people in my part of the world used the incident as another example of the cultural cancer that is eating away Punjab. I hope I have made it sufficiently clear but if you still have something on your mind, please feel free to communicate. I am sure I can hear you! And I accept your Thanks with a smile.

Ernest

I am truly sorry, and I am grateful for the opportunity to correct myself. I now see that your completely backwards misinterpretation of my "research" on mens room changing tables in New York City as evidence of some parental gender role stereotyping revolution in the US was not, in fact, related in any way to Pakistan's unfortunate troubles with its Lower Races [sic].

And I also apologize for my insensitivities to Pakistan's geographical nuances. As someone who is greatly vested in the cultural distinctions between New York and New Jersey--which is right across the river! Check a map!--I should have known that "tribal area" and "tribal area adjacent" are not the same thing.

Perhaps we can end this by finding common ground. I assume we can both agree that buying an SUV to use as a diaper changing pad is just plain crazy.

It’s good to see that you realized, or even pretend to do so, that what I wrote was not related to Pakistan or its cultures or races in any way. What you should truly be sorry for is the act of bringing in Pakistan, my penname, and my story in all this – things that had no business here. Your ‘criticism’ could have been right had you confined it to the idea of my post but you had no right to target my personal details and my country, while also misrepresenting things on account of your nescience. This is what you should apologize for. But I demand an apology. The harm you did is done and there is no use grieving it. And since your post is there with all its ‘originality’, I really doubt whether you have the moral courage to correct yourself and your post.

As for playing cricket, I welcome you here and let you see the respect you get here in my ‘tribal frontier’. You may not even want to return to US and wreck your brains on working out distinctions between NY and NJ cultural distinctions. And you’ll have a chance to see how women are treated in my part of the world (not in Mukhtara Mai’s).

Have a nice day,

You know what, I'm through with you. You wrote a piece of nonsensical, baseless sociological PR puffery that uses inaccurate references to me and my site as your supporting evidence. You write marketing material under a pseudonym, and then you complain and whine when someone factchecks or refutes you. You make grand, wrong and laughable pronouncements on areas of my direct and demonstrated expertise and on my city. And you do it all from some hapless subcontinental backwater, while clinging to some demeaning caricature of vestigial British Imperial-era chivalry. It shouldn't matter to you one whit what some random dadblogger on the other side of the world writes or thinks about you, your pseudonym or your country. Get over it, and get over yourself.

Oh, so now you are showing yoru teeth when stripped of your cheesy logic. Thanks for the real Greg Allen who even doesn't need a pseudonym to shoot his nonsense all about the place. Given your inexplicable cynicism, I am sure you have a bad stomach.

Yes, I don't care shit about what you say and you are free to go and change your baby's diapers wherever you like. Just don't drag me into it. I am through with you.

It should be noted for international readers from countries that are relatively small, that a study of public restrooms in other cities or states (was it NY city or NY state?) might reveal that men in those other places get changing tables in public restrooms just as big and as often as the women do.
That Greg called out Ernie for writing news apparently in order to alert readers to the existence of a new product is interesting. That Ernie found an interesting angle from which to announce the existence of the new product is also interesting. Interesting enough to be entertaining? Probably, but only to people that know one or the other of the two. There seems to be some animosity here, and I have to guess that it's Greg's fault, because his research was not denigrated in Ernie's article, but Ernie was denigrated in Greg's (second) article.

But I have to thank you guys for it, because it was entertaining to me. You can guess which of them I know.

In gladiator times (that still happens nowadays, but they aren't called "gladiators" any more), there were such animosities, created for the purpose of earning money (Hmm... just like war! Gee...), and people - the gladiators - often got hurt. I much prefer the pain here in Cyberspace to the pain of one of my friends losing a limb or getting run through, and maybe, even to these two verbal duelers, this animosity is worth that extra bit of public awareness. Does Greg care if more BabyDeck strollers get sold? I doubt it. Will he repeat his restroom study elsewhere? I doubt that too. But they'll both keep blogging, and maybe provide us with more fireworks.

I can also help international readers guess by pointing out you both share the same IP address in Pakistan and your comments came minutes apart.

And because your misrepresentations and errors are identical to Ernest/Karim's.

And because no one would be leaving comments on a 2-year-old blog post unless he was asked to, or unless he's the same guy. Maybe "dave scotese" will have a such a lucrative career writing product-hyping blog posts for pay, he can free "ernest dempsey" up to focus on higher literary pursuits.

To your alleged international readers (if any), I hereby clarify that Dave stopped by the site and tried to post a comment but this pathetic blog (for dads or dead) wouldn't take comments from strangers (xenophobic?) at first attempt and Dave shared his comment with me. I took the liberty to post it at the site from my computer.

And for your own good, Mr. Logic Master, I suggest that you get psychiatric attention instead of that from some 'abstract' readers. Perhaps that would help you overcome your racist malice.

mhmm. your rant is a fine coda on this amusingly sad tale of your incompetence. the comments are now closed.

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