An astute SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS reader sent in this picture, snapped recently in a downtown Winnipeg back alley. It’s a sign warning passers-by of some window-washing activity that was happening on an office building.


It’s also yet another example of the male-as-default world in which we live.

Men are working above. Men are workers. And if a woman is a worker, she is a female worker. She gets the qualification added to her title because men are the norm, and women are The Other.

Why must window-washers be assigned a gender? Would it be so hard to have the sign say “Caution: workers above?” (That was a rhetorical question. The answer is no, it would not. In fact, it would take less ink.)

Little things, people.

It’s little things like this that serve to inform our understanding of ourselves and our place in society.