Sometimes, when you look back at advertisements from the early part of the last century, you just have to shake your head.
Some ads, like those describing stoves, washing machines or any other things for the home, are overtly directed at women. They actually even use the word "Ladies!" in the ad copy most of the time, usually followed by "Ask your husband for this!"
Other ads, like those concerning cars, cigarettes or whiskey, just to name a few things, are clearly directed at men.
It's funny to see how distinctly the lines between the genders were once drawn. Today, while ads for some products are clearly geared toward one sex or the other, it's not always blatant. The copy writers are far sneakier about it in this day of political correctness.
But there are times when it seems that there is still the shadow of a line between the sexes.
Like when a woman walks into a store, looking to buy paint or other things for home renovations that some still consider part of a man's milieu.
I'm not saying it's all stores. There are plenty around that have staff who are happy to help anyone, regardless of gender, age or any other identifiable characteristic.
But the odd time, it happens that a woman walking into a store like that is completely ignored.
It's happened to me.
And it always shocks me.
As someone - a person, not a gender - who is a new homeowner and not very familiar with things like caulking guns or putty knives, I love it when I walk into a store where I need to buy those things and people ask me if I need help. Because I clearly do. And I have been served very well at some stores when I've walked in, looking more than a little lost.
But there have been times and places when and where I've wandered around, clearly looking for something and unable to find it, while others who obviously know their way around the store - and who, 90 per cent of time, are men - are helped immediately. I've usually walked out of stores like that without buying a thing.
Because that treatment still burns. I find myself hoping that I've been ignored because of staff indifference, or because of staff shortage. I hope it's not because of my gender.
But it could be.
Stereotyping and bias still abound in our culture. And I'm not saying it only happens at certain stores, or only against women. That's just my example. I know there have been plenty of cases, in other parts of Humboldt, where people have been judged solely by what they look like. Calls have even been made to the police, reporting that people of a certain race were spotted downtown, "just in case anything happened." Obviously, in some minds, looking a certain way makes you suspect.
It's shameful, but it's true.
Maybe things were simpler in the 1950s and 1960s. There were clear lines, lines that worked really well if you were an upper middle class white male. But those lines clearly didn't work for everyone, because they've become all but obsolete.
We need to work on erasing the last little bits of those lines, that are still visible every so often, in certain places, in certain minds.
Lines are divisive, and barriers to growth.
And we want growth, so it's time to do away with the lines. And to open our minds.