Western Women Are Selfish

A few days ago I took my four month old daughter to the grocery store while my husband stayed home with our four year old and worked on packing up the house for our upcoming move.

When I pulled back into our driveway after grocery shopping, I noticed a small piece of white paper folded up and stuck under my windshield wipers. I pulled it out and stared at it in shock.

note left on my car stating that western women are selfish

A few thoughts crossed my mind. First, I found it a little ironic that someone perceived my trip to the grocery store as selfish. They should see some of the ways I’m selfish. Going to the grocery store and methodically choosing healthy and inexpensive food is not one of them.

Next, I was creeped out that someone was watching me, judging me and then being aggressive enough to confront me about it. But chicken poop enough to do it via handwritten note.

After that, I was ticked off. I made some assumptions, and given the fact that this person made some assumptions about me, I felt justified. I guessed this letter was probably written by a man from another country that came to the United States in search of opportunity and the freedoms that this country provides. How dare he judge me exercising those freedoms when he wants the same for his own family? But on his terms, with his wife (I’m assuming he’s married…. these are my assumptions and I can assume what I want) apparently and selflessly never leaving the house.

Then (after I shared the story with my husband, mom and best friend), I was finally just sad. Sad that there are cultures that really believe this. Sad for the women who feel like they can’t do anything for themselves or have their own thoughts and opinions because culture or religion dictate otherwise.

Yes, I understand that the bible says wives should submit to their husbands and for the longest time I had a problem with this. What if I had married a complete douchewaffle? I am supposed to do whatever he says because he’s the one with a penis? I couldn’t comprehend that. What finally occurred to me, though, (other than the fact that my husband is not a douchewaffle) is that the concept has more to do with mutual respect as the scripture goes on to say that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves them. (Ephesians 5:25). So, really it’s the equivalent of a double negative (double positive?) and as long as we have mutual respect and love for each other, we’re all good.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this note. But, how would you react if you received this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(P.S. I think I should add the following to my resume: Unique ability to weave scripture and the term “douchewaffle” into the same blog post in a cohesive way).

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  1. Your P.S. was one of the exact thoughts going through my mind.

    You are NOT reading too much into this. Women around the world, especially in cultures other than ours, don’t exercise more rights because THEY DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE THEM. Hillary Clinton once said, “Women’s right are human rights.”

    You did not overreact and I’m so glad that it made you feel bad for other women and it didn’t make you feel bad about yourself. Rock on, mama.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      Thanks for your comment, Fadra, and for sharing my post. More than anything I was floored by the comment. I am so thankful for the culture of freedom we have and can’t fathom anything different. Have you ever read A Thousand Splendid Suns? It’s by the same author as Kite Runner. I bawled through the entire book. That’s who I picture when I read and reread this note.

  2. Dianne / Smilenwaven says:

    WOW – just WOW – SMH

  3. Commandeering the grocery store mic and calling out the ass hat who left the note would be on the top of my list on how to react…Totally would of been worth the night spent in jail…just think of it as quiet time…

  4. I don’t even get it. What the heck is that even supposed to mean? The ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me.

  5. You definitely did not overreact. Had I received a note like that and found it while I was still at the store? I would have looked around to see who was staring and confronted them. That is a woman’s right here in America. I understand that other cultures are different, (don’t agree with them, but, understand) but, no, don’t you dare put something like that on me. This is how I was raised. If you don’t like it, stuff it. That person was a douchewaffle ๐Ÿ™‚

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I didn’t actually see it until I got home. It’s probably a good thing, too! I would have been even more creeped out if I was still in the parking lot.

  6. Perhaps this is because I live in the D.C. area or maybe it’s because my husband works in counter-terrorism, but I would have been scared had I found that note on my car! And unless you’re escaping to the grocery store because there is Starbucks in the front and a cup holder on the cart (not that I’ve done this or anything…) there is nothing selfish about providing food for your family. Good gravy, people be crazy.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I wish there had been a relaxing Starbucks run involved! At least wine was on sale that day and I bought a few bottles… ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. My first thought was along the same lines as yours, which is “What a douche donkey.”

    Then I thought, “Dude. Douche donkey is a creepy stalker.”

    Then I got sad that there are people and places that think like that, and that whomever it was wasn’t brave enough to say it out loud. But I think that may have been a little bit scarier if Douche Donkey were aggressive rather than just passive-aggressive.

    I’m also sad because I don’t know what to do to make it better for women in other places. It makes me feel like a bloated, lazy American not to be doing anything.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I know that feeling, Tricia. I once heard an independent filmmaker speak about a film she’d produced about honor killings in Afghanistan. This was probably 8 or 10 years ago and there wasn’t much press about honor killings (and acid attacks) as there is now. She said she was inspired to do a film about it because it broke her heart that she had learned about the occurrences on page ten of a newspaper. She was horrified it was on page TEN.

  8. Just…baffled.

  9. I wrote a whole thing before and didn’t read the directions below and got bounced! Whoops!
    You did not overreact. I would be pissed that a NEIGHBOR left a note on my car, like THAT!
    How ridiculous is that – what happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?
    Also thank you for pointing out that submission to the spouse is not a one way street!
    And? Your grammatical prowess is to be applauded!
    Keep being an awesome mom!

  10. I wonder how long you’re supposed to stay home for? Does your husband have to do every single thing that takes place outside of your prison walls? I mean…what?

    My vote it for mother and baby to go to the grocery store, so I can have the fun of making wavey fingers and faces as I stand behind you in line. But that’s just me.

  11. I shared your post on my FB page, but wanted to share my comment here as well…

    Is taking your baby to the grocery store selfish? I think not. If I were going to be selfish, we’d – scratch that – *I* would be in Panera or Starbucks. Or maybe just hiding behind a dumpster somewhere, hoping the family couldn’t find me. Definitely not the grocery store.

    I’ll just be over here shaking my head.

    Jamie @ http://www.mamamommymom.com

  12. Wow. So many thoughts. Totally agree with Fadra.

    Your PS definitely needs to go on your resume, and you should get credit for coining “douchewaffle.” Also, let’s go ahead and label the note-writer a douchewaffle, ok?

    I am so glad you included the second half of the wives submitting to their husbands verse. It’s one of the most misunderstood pieces of Scripture ever. When you read it in part, it’s infuriating. When you read it as a whole, it’s a beautiful picture of submission to each other, of two individuals to the marriage as a whole. And if husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…well, that’s THE most selfless love possible.

    And I’m glad you didn’t give the douchewaffle the power to make you feel bad about yourself, because really, going to the grocery store with an infant? Don’t judge unless you’ve done it. The very opposite of selfish. And yes, the note just highlights the plight of women in some unlucky areas of the world. And makes me so very thankful that I had the good fortune to be born here, not there.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      Thanks, Angie. By the way, I didn’t coin “douchewaffle,” some friends in a circle I run in did. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just used it effectively in a post AND quoted scripture at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree that the scripture is infuriating at first brush, it took some time for me to fully understand what it meant.

  13. I was totally admiring the fact that you use douchewaffle and scriptures in the same post before you even said anything! HA!

    I can’t believe that someone reached out to you like that in such a negative way. It IS creepy as heck, but is probably what many of the diverse cultures think about us anyway. Just like we have our own opinions about them.

    This got me thinking though. Aside from the oppression of women and the horrendous things done to women both domestically and internationally, it truly is WOMEN who do a lot of the decision making when it comes to our “freedoms.” Take our religions for example. If you’re a Mormon woman, you don’t drink because you CHOOSE not to drink and you believe it’s what God wants for you. If you’re a Catholic, you CHOOSE not to take birth control because that’s what you think your God wants for you. As with women in any other free country…they choose their “oppression” to a point. Of course they don’t see it as oppression ….we do. Just like someone who isn’t religious may see not being allowed to drink alcohol or take birth control can be seen as “oppression” or lack of freedom.

    Also, that guy is probably single. Just sayin’.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I like how you think, April. I agree with what you’re saying about women choosing the practices of their religions and being faithful in them because they want to. I don’t have a problem with that and am wholeheartedly thankful to have that freedom. What I have a problem with is someone imparting those beliefs on me. But, like someone else said, at least this person was passive aggressive in his/ her judgement and not actually aggressive.

  14. WHOA. That’s one passive aggressive AND chauvinest neighbor you’ve got there. Maybe you’d know who it was that wrote it if you’d just STAY AT HOME with your baby instead of running off all the time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s so messed up and I’d be pissed and sad about it too.

  15. your ps should TOTALLY go on your resume.

    Its horribly sad to me that someone would do that. Honestly, its not even the fact that it was about you as ‘western woman’. Its the fact that someone was obnoxious and SELFISH enough to judge you and try to make you feel horrible. WHO DOES THAT? God only knows what other signs they are leaving on cars of people doing much more objectionable things than your super-risque grocery store trip!

    Lets take a minute and thank God that our daughters are growing up in a place like America where they are not treated like that.

  16. I’m skeeved out for you. Like Tucker would have to bring me multiple alcoholic drinks while I ranted about this –if this was me. Actually, I just told Tucker about this and was all, “CAN YOU BELIEVE someone would do this?!” He told me to chill out.

    To put a spin on this, the first thought was the note was written by a woman. The truth is, we’ll never know and the creep factor doesn’t diminish if it was a chick. Actually I think it increases.


    Glad I saw Fadra’s link to this. It made my day in a very strange way.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I’m glad this made your day, Amy. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s interesting to ponder the person and the thought process behind this note. It’s probably a good thing, too, that we were moving that day because I probably would have been creeped out for longer. I do with I knew if it was a man or woman that left this… I don’t know why but it’s just bugging me not knowing that.

  17. That is insane. I am still dumbfounded by the whole thing.

    I’m so glad it was wine day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I am worried for you that someone was watching you. I think you should report this to the proper authorities for your own protection. Some people in the past have done extreme things in the name of their beliefs/religion and the fact that this person feels comfortable enough to come that close to you and your family totally creeps me out.
    You should also notify the store where you were shopping in case it is happening to others too. They can be on the lookout for the “douchewaffle” that thinks it is okay to judge others.

    P.S. I love the term douchewaffle and plan to add it to my vocabulary.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I probably would have been more concerned for my safety if I hadn’t actually been moving out of the city that day. I might call the grocery store, though, and let them know. That’s a good idea.

      I can’t take credit for the “douchewaffle” term. I run with a circle of funny peeps that have been using it for a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Yes, I’d be creeped out and also ticked off – I hate when people judge others! It’s one of those ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, then shut up” right?! Sometimes I think we’ve all come so far in this world, and then I read a (beautifully written by the way) example of how we have so much more to learn and respect about one another. Sad, yes.

  20. FINALLY getting to sit down and read this now. And, WHAT? The NERVE. Sounds like my neighbor who once told me that I shouldn’t allow my 3 year old son to play outside because he screams and cries when he plays. Cultural differences are supposed to be a part of our amazing melting pot… but in the end it brings about frustrations, confusion and unhappy neighborhood unlove.

    I agree. A total douchewaffle (yay anti-douchewaffles unite!) and, in the end, so so so very sad.

  21. Oh my goodness I can’t think of a selfish thing at all having to do with taking any baby or child of any age on almost any errand. Sometimes it is more like a sacrifice. Sometimes it is okay. Sometimes it is sort of fun. Every one in a while your baby or child acts like an angel, smiles and sings or coos and you get compliments and it is sort of completely awesome. But selfish? Never.

    Getting a note like that would freak me out. I’m kind of glad you didn’t see it while you were at the store. It is sad for all the above mentioned reasons. I am again reminded how blessed I, we, are for all of our freedoms.

    Finally, yes, he is a douchewaffle and I too will be adding that to my online vocabulary. If I said it in front of my kids it would spread like wildfire amongst the young.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      What’s ironic is that I had a really hard time with the bags, the cart and getting the infant carrier back into the car. The cart kept trying to roll downhill. I was having to to use all my super mom strengths to keep it together. ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely not a luxurious and relaxing day out.

  22. Laura Williams says:

    I know this post is old but I had to comment especially regarding:
    ” I guessed this letter was probably written by a man from another country that came to the United States in search of opportunity and the freedoms that this country provides. How dare he judge me exercising those freedoms when he wants the same for his own family?”

    BECAUSE THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME A FEW MONTHS AGO and when I saw your blog I had to comment!

    A similar thing happened to me here in my hometown (Toronto, canada), only the person slipped the note through the driver’s seat window (was opened a crack because i had forgotten to close it up all the way). The person was a she not a he as it turned out in my case. i found out because she had done this with other moms and one of them spotted her. It was an older woman who never married and had no kids I later found through the checkout personnel that I know well at this grocery store. She would always come in to buy piles of cat food. I really doubt a man, even a man from a more traditional culture would bother to do such a thing. This vibe smacks of a bitter woman and in my case it was! I could be wrong but I don’t think so. Anyway God bless you, you are not alone in this type of thing! I have a little boy and a little girl myself.

  23. Laura Williams says:

    PS in my note it did not say “western women” but “Canadian women” (the old woman was from Poland) so I can see how you might think it was a man but I have met this attitude from many Muslim women over here (the kind that are covered head to toe) that I encounter in my area because we have a large Muslim population.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      Interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience! I was probably jumping to conclusions as to who might have left the note for me and it’s interesting to think about who might feel inclined to leave such a note.

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