Tobe Frank: Legislating your bowel movements

To be frank I was shocked, aghast, and appalled yesterday morning as I watched Greens Senator, Larissa Waters (on Today with Karl and Lisa) make an absolute fist of her attempt to not only portray toy stores as gender biased bigots but that such bias leads to domestic abuse and inequality down the track…really? Have we nothing more pressing to talk about in this country? Have we no other problems more worthy of our time and attention? Does the merchandising and layout of a local toy store really need Canberra’s bureaucratically burdensome influence and interjection? Do kids really give a…what anyone else thinks let alone Senator Waters? This is redefining the term ‘First World Problem’. The peasants and paupers who use to collect the fat from the bottom of the barrels (that’d be used to preserve meat and other produce on the long journey from England) to make candles (hence the phrase ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel), showed far more ingenuity and productiveness than this waste of a red leather seat.

I thought Lisa Wilkinson tried very hard to restrain her complete bewilderment (and laughter) as Waters repeatedly tried to suggest that department stores and toy stores alike, force age old and out dated stereotypes on children by having gender-separated aisles. Yes, I remember the last time I inadvertently tried to sneak a peak at the slutty Barbie doll aisle, I was quickly escorted out of the store by security and told not to come back until I knew my place in society: behind the wheel of a matchbox car or stationed for the night shift in the Lego police station. Maybe I needed a trip to the optometrist? I must have missed the flashing neon sign that says ‘Toys for Girls’. I must’ve have been dazed and confused by the excessive glow of pink and purple hues, clearly telling me to keep out…not for boys!

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And I remember the time I ran out of the store in horror, vowing never to return because there was a girl, “a girl, Dad!”, checking out the various superheroes – she even looked like she was going to buy one! Oh the dismay and disgust…how was I going to go on? Had she veered off track, unintentionally stumbling into the boys aisle or was this a deliberate plot to upset and unsettle the traditional trusted typecasts that society had pre-labelled us with when we came out with a willy or a gina?

I mean, really people. Do we have to do this? Even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, ‘just delete it and starve it of any more oxygen’. Sure, whilst the aisles may be set up so that all the dolls, be it Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Bratz or Polly Pockets are all in the same section as are the Spider-Mans, Batmans, Supermans, Iron Mans and Hulks across the way, but what is she suggesting they do? Mix it all up a bit. I can just imagine tears flowing like Niagara Falls as poor kids circle the store for hours trying to find the latest Star Wars figurine, not realising that it’s been unisexually positioned next to the tea party sets (which by the way, my boys always liked playing with).

It’d be like going to the supermarket and having the taco shells in one aisle and the taco sauce over yonder because the Italians feel threatened by having too many Mexicans in one place. Chaos would reign wouldn’t it?

Fact is there’s a logical order to the way these stores are merchandised. They intuitively help the kids and the parents. There is nothing in a store that prevents a girl from exploring train sets and tractors nor is there a physical or invisible barrier that restricts boys from adventuring, with a wandering eye, into the world of Ken & Barbie. The cashiers at the register don’t raise an eyebrow at a little girl wanting a Tonka truck, nor do they suggest that a young boy, “step away from the My Little Pony, little man, step away”.

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At the end of the day, my beef is not strictly with Senator Waters – no need to waste any more time on that black hole – I do, however, think that it is systemic of bureaucracy gone mad and the insatiable appetite of public servants to legislate the shite out of anything. What’s next, Tony Abbott having to do a deal with another shining example of quality public office, Jacqui Lambie, who, in payback for her vote on some unrelated matter of national significance, requires support for her new piece of legislation…The Bowel Movements Bill 2015? Critically, this bill will not only police how one must fold (not scrunch) the dunny paper, but will regulate stools and the passing thereof.

Us over 60s know that a daily dose of fibre and prune juice will keep you plenty regular. Bullsh*t will just block you up…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these elected representatives need not only to have KPIs put in place, but they also need gag orders and time-out corners in just the same way that parents deal with their rogue children: unbiasedly, uniformly, and without any sign telling them what to do.

Now, on with more important matters, where’s my newspaper? I’ve got business to do!


Do you agree with Tobe? Is Senator Waters’ suggested policy a good idea? Or is it hilariously terrible? Tell us below!