I’ve recently introduced my husband to the West Wing. In season 4’s episode Guns Not Butter, Josh the deputy chief of staff, desperate to win a key battle, tries to get President Bartlet to agree to fund an NIH study into the effectiveness of prayer in return for a vote for an important foreign aid package.JOSH: Do you think, Mr. President, the people who get this money care about an NIH study? BARTLET: I don’t care if they care! I care! And oh, by the way, so do you! JOSH: $115,000 is what Commerce spends on Post-Its.:
BARTLET: Toby? TOBY: Threats to civil liberties only ever come a few dollars at a time.
I probably don’t need to explain why the leaflet from a car sales/maintenance company below aggravated me to the point of ranting at my poor aforementioned husband about the leaflet for a good 20 minutes until we both had to sit down and have a cup of coffee. He gently reminded me that the company are probably only responding to market research that tells them this kind of thing works and that I can’t change the world and the way it treats women in one go.
That’s when Toby’s line came back to me. This leaflet and the attitudes behind, to one side and in front of it, and the attitudes it then perpetuates are those things that affect the world in what I consider to be a negative way. It is what is in front of me, and who knows how other many women in my home town this morning.
I’ve blurred out the company’s name because this isn’t meant to be a particularly specific poke at one company, but I’ll be writing a sternly worded letter. I can only change myself and only one thing at a time but I can act when something offends me and hope that by tackling little things, big changes will follow.