Have you ever felt frustrated by a particularly challenging parking spot? Did you ever wish someone would allocate a parking spot for you based on your gender? You might never have heard of the small town of Triberg in Germany’s Black Forest region until now, but the town’s mayor, Gallus Strobel, has served the town for over 10 years and recently made headlines with his sex-specific parking ploy.
The mayor opened a new parking lot in the town of 5,000 people early in June. The parking lot boasted two “male” parking spots and 10 “female” parking spots with male and female symbols painted on the spots to direct drivers in the right direction, ABC News reports.
The parking spots and their sex-specific markings were applied as a reflection of the common stereotype that women are terrible at parking and men have a natural talent for parking in tight spaces. The “easy” or “female” parking spots were apparently quick to maneuver into while the “male” spots were:
…not rectangular, at an angle to the road and placed between walls and pillars; that makes parking difficult so we decided to allocate them to men.
Perhaps the most surprising twist in the whole story is that the mayor claims he has used the sexist parking ploy to attract attention to the town and increase tourism. The Telegraph quotes him:
I never expected this reaction… I’ve been on the phone all day, the TV will come. I am happy, and it looks like we’ve hit a raw nerve in society. It’s been a great marketing gimmick.
Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they’re at it they can see the town’s attractions.
While the parking spots have no legal standing and anyone can try parking in them, the mayor’s statements about the parking seem to suggest he finds some truth in the conviction that women are worse at parking. He states in an interview for Spiegel Magazine, “But many [women] also cannot park; Like my secretary. Five times she tried and no success.”
The mayor also pointed out that this new “humorous” parking attraction couldn’t be sexist because there were a whole 10 parking spots allotted to women, and men only received two.
Admittedly, he hit a raw nerve in society and perhaps a few people will drop by the town to revel in the sexism an elected official can get away with. This story might also work against rural Germany by drawing negative attention to the Black Forest area.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons