May 4, 2012

You Can Stand Under My Umbrella, Ella, Ella

Is Innovation Sexist? Let me tell you a little story about a stylish dry lady and a very soggy man.

I spend about 40 minutes of my day walking to and from work.  It takes me 20 minutes each way between the office and my home.  I choose to embrace any method of innovation to improve those 20 minutes. Living in Chicago, there is no guarantee that my 20 min walk will be a pleasant one. I am often being challenged by the elements.

I recently purchased a new umbrella to keep dry when it rains.  Yes, I already own multiple umbrellas, but often times with one gust of wind, the umbrella retracts into the convex position like this:

By the time I get to my destination I am just as wet as if I didn’t bring an umbrella at all.

I’ve seen many girls commuting to work carrying a bubble umbrella like this:

I had to have one.  I imagined the benefits I would have by owning one:

  • I had never seen a girl fighting the winds that may be challenging her to take her umbrella.
  • I would never have to raise the umbrella to look up to see if a light is red or green, I can simply just continue looking straight ahead and not compromise my dryness in an effort to not get hit by oncoming traffic.
  • My purse, laptop bag, or anything that I am carrying always ends up getting wet from the rain when I carry a traditional umbrella. My purse will now safely stay dry under the bubble!

What an innovative umbrella!!! I was so excited for all my walks in the rain with it. But I had to ask the question.  Why do I only see women walking with it? Do men not care as much about staying dry? Do men not care about being able to look out straight ahead and see where they were going and not always have their eyes peeled to the ground?

On my inaugural walk with it one morning this week, I happened to walk past a group of four men all gathered outside of a building engaged in conversation.  One yelled out, “Cool Umbrella!” I thanked him for noticing, but I wondered…would he ever use one?

A few minutes later this past me:

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I saw him battling with his broken umbrella.

And while this is not me, this is how dry and happy I look while using my innovative umbrella.

My gut tells me, in the battle of the sexes on embracing innovation…this one goes to the ladies.

But feel free to let me know your thoughts below.

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