Strollers and Privilege
I am not rich. You can tell because I do not wear a monocle. Well, I wouldn’t wear one anyway because all that squinting would give me wrinkles. True story. I do however consider myself a person of privilege. My family has health insurance, food to eat, and clothing to wear. We are fortunate. My good fortune is not always outwardly evident.
Yesterday my husband informed me that my flip-flops were too small. I asked him in my typical needlessly horrified manner “Why would you say such a thing?”. Perhaps I threw in some slightly more colorful language. He responded “Um, because your ashy ass heels are hanging off the back of your shoes”. I looked down and much to my surprise my ashy ass heels *were* hanging off the back of my flip-flops (in my defense I never wear flip-flops and threw them on because I had high hopes of getting a pedicure on Sunday).
As usual I digress. The point is that sometimes obvious privilege makes people uncomfortable. I recently read “The Stolen Stroller: An Urban Bourgeois Problem?” in the New York Times and immediately thought of my beloved, my UPPAbaby Vista. Was I being judged by passerby as I strolled through bucolic Ithaca with my babies, iced coffee, camera bag, Ergo baby carrier, water bottles, soccer ball, and snacks in tow?
I love that stroller. I will tell anyone that is willing to listen. It has nothing to do with needing a parenting status symbol. My two-year old son says excuse me when he passes gas and that is something to show off. Not a stroller. The author, Elissa Gootman, asks:
Is the idea of a $400 stroller so outlandish that, on some level, those who have so lost sight of their own privilege as to leave one unattended almost deserve to be robbed? (But my stroller was a double! And we do a lot of walking! On bumpy sidewalks!)
I have neither lost sight of my privilege nor would I ever leave my Uppa unattended. That is crazy talk. Once an irritated Rainforest Cafe waitress informed me that there was a stroller corral for my convenience in front of the restaurant. I thought to myself haughtily “Do you know what kind of stroller this is? Surely you jest”.
Of course people want to steal expensive strollers! Some of them are downright awesome. Does your baby care? Probably not but other Moms and Dads might. My stroller is luxurious and makes my life a lot easier. I could make do with a less expensive stroller but why should I?
If I wasn’t a God-fearing woman I would totally be down with stealing a stroller. I really cannot blame the riff raff. I do however have an issue with the notion that I have outlandish spending habits due to the value of my stroller. We all have priorities and frivolities. It is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe you think my stroller is outrageous and perhaps I disagree with your gold toilet. No problem. No issues here.
I love my stroller. I am aware of my privilege. My heels are ashy and I need some lotion.
Are you a stroller judger? Do you think spending hundreds of dollars on luxury strollers is a frivolous waste of time?