A sign in front of Mellish Motors in New Annan, P.E.I. is drawing criticism online for a “misogynistic" message claiming women "can’t drive”.
The message on the sign, which is on the business’s front lawn along the highway, originally read "Women are like snowflakes. They can’t drive.“
John Mellish, the manager of the used car dealership, said he was having a bit of fun.
"I’ve put up signs about men, teachers, myself, kids, etcetera. I do like people to be talking,” he said. “Good or bad, it does get attention.”
Mellish said the post was meant to be taken “in good humour.”
“We probably struck a nerve with one or two people out there, and so be it — that’s fair ball,” he said. “Some people take it the right way and I love that.”
Chelsea Ling, owner of Papercakes Pretty in Charlottetown, was taken aback by the sign, and re-posted a photo to Facebook.
Her post got 65 shares and over 200 comments — some decrying the sign and some defending it.
“I’m very much for businesses doing what they want and not for people saying ‘oh, they run a business, they can’t do that,’ but I think there should be a common sense line of what’s hateful and what’s funny,” said Ling.
Ling is also frustrated that the sign is on a major highway, saying she wouldn’t want her two young boys to see it, and think it’s acceptable to make jokes at the expense of either gender.
“Just because it is normal in society, I don’t believe it’s okay.”
Sign is 'just a joke’ to some
Some of the comments on Ling’s post say the sign should be taken as a joke.
“It made me laugh lol. It’s just a joke,” reads a comment by Kaitlin Dawson.
A public post by Keegan Arsenault suggests that people are being too sensitive about the sign.
Ling doesn’t think the “joke” is funny.
“Just because jokes like this and misogynistic things like this are so deeply engrained in our society, a lot of people don’t see it as a problem, and that in itself is the problem,” she said.
Still, she wasn’t surprised to see people defending the sign.
“Not at all. This is P.E.I. and we are so in the dark ages,” she said.
New sign directed at 'sensitive women’
Mellish said that while he rarely goes on social media, he did follow the comments being posted.
“If we didn’t have social media, people would get a chuckle out of my sign and their day would carry on,” he said.
“People seem to hide behind the social media.”
He changed the sign in response to the outcry to say “Sensitive women. Don’t read this sign!"
That change also wasn’t well-received by some.
Mellish later added "You know who you are!”
On Monday, Mellish changed his sign again, to read “Attention drama queens auditions for today have been cancelled!”
Mellish said he is known for provocative signs, and said he’ll continue to put up signs that push people’s buttons.
“When people arrive at work, the very first thing they discuss is, 'What did Mellish have on his sign?’” he said.