My trusty riggers’ gloves have worn out – a bramble patch too far – and as we were in Notso Bigtown we wandered into the local hardware store to buy some replacements. (This was after the other half had recovered from seeing a sign in the hairdresser’s window saying ‘become what you want to be, instantly, with raccoon hair extensions’ – as long as what you want to be is a raccoon, presumably). There were two displays of gardening gloves, one for the chaps, in gorilla sizes and one for the laydeez in actual usable sizes. You could tell which ones were for the laydeez because the riggers’ gloves were not just twice the price* but came in two fetching colourways: lilac, and black with pink polka-dots.
After a spot of ranting, I was forced to buy the polka-dot ones because feminist or not, I still have very small hands, and can’t wear the gorilla sizes. But I’m still cross. Partly because it represents the onward march of the pinkification of anything remotely practical that women might want to use just to make sure we know that just because we’re changing a wheel or hammering a nail doesn’t mean we’re not really daddy’s little princess at heart and will be rammed back into our Disney Princess Castle the minute we show any signs of uppityness, Harriet Harman take note. And partly because, hey, women have been gardening for years and years and years and don’t need to be patronised with pink equipment to make us feel we can take part. I mean, did Vita Sackville-West opt to wear pink polka-dotted gloves? Did Gertrude Jekyll only take up horticulture because she could do it with a pretty pink trowel and gloves to match? This is gardening we’re talking about, not something properly male-dominated like fishing, or setting fire to your farts.
And besides, if I wanted to dress up like something out of a fairytale to do a spot of weeding, I would do it properly, not mess around with polka dot gloves.
*Logically, because being smaller they use more… oh no wait, hang on…