Aldi has been criticised by a mother-of-three for its ‘ridiculous’ decision to paint over a stick person’s skirt and child parking bays to ‘avoid offending male and non-binary shoppers’.
Ema Taylor drove to the store in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, with her children Cerys, 10, six-year-old Blake and Ariya, one, at 4pm on Tuesday to pick up some fruit.
Yet she was not able to find a vacant parent and child bay as work was being carried out to paint over the skirt to reportedly ensure the figure was gender neutral.
The skirt of one of the stick-women was painted over at an Aldi store in Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Ms Taylor, 29, said the spot now appears to only be suitable for Superman as the figure appears to be wearing a cape now black paint has been added.
Her Facebook post criticising the supermarket has gone viral and has already racked up more than 8,000 likes and shares.
Ms Taylor, from Dunstable, said: ‘It’s ridiculous. It’s gone from being a stick woman to now being a superhero, it’s a bit laughable.
‘Mums do actually have to give birth to these children so I think I’ve earned my right to have a picture of me painted in the mother and baby parking space.
‘With everything going on in the world who has time to care about a sign on the floor? There’s so much more important stuff going on in the world than to be concerned with this kind of thing.’
The hospital worker said she was told by an employee at the shop the stick figures were being painted as gender neutral figures.
Ms Taylor said: ‘There were two guys standing in front of bays they had just painted. I asked if they were taking the spaces away and when he told me why they were doing it I thought he was joking at first.
She added: ‘He said they needed to be gender neutral as the dress is offending dads with children and people who don’t identify as male or female.
Ema Taylor with her husband Martin Anthony, 29, daughter Cerys, 10, Ariya, one, and Blake, six
The Aldi store in Dunstable where Ms Taylor was trying to find a car park space
‘Now it looks like a man with a superhero suit – do people identify as a superhero?
‘He thought it was hilarious too but said he was just following instructions.
Ema Taylor, 29, who spotted the gender neutral signs
‘There were lots of people whispering and laughing especially when the dress had been painted over because it does look like quite funny.’
She argued that changes like this should have been made when the store was shut down for refurbishment at the end of last year.
Ema said: ‘That particular Aldi was closed down for refurbishment late last year.
‘Why they didn’t paint them as stick people in the beginning? I don’t understand.’
Her Facebook post reads: ‘The world has literally gone MAD!!
‘So went to the shop today to be told I couldn’t park in the parent space as they were painting it……..painting the dress off the stick person because they need to be ‘gender neutral’ as the dress is offending dads with children and people who do not identify as male or female?!
‘If you are a dad and you don’t park in the parent parking because they have a dress on unfriend me pleasseeeeee!! It’s a joke!’
‘Second to that if you look at the new and ‘improved’ sign you will see that it now looks like a stick man with a cape on so if you don’t identify as Superman you can’t park there.’
People commenting on Ms Taylor’s Facebook post
Vickie Shepherd Worlding commented: ‘All this c**p has just gone too far it’s actually ridiculous our future generations are going to be so god damm confused it’s a bloody sign on the floor get over yorselves bloody snowflakes xx’
Bethany Louise Sayers wrote: ‘WOW WOW WOW. You really do question what you’re bringing your children into don’t you.’
Becki Jenner posted: ‘So really we can’t win male or female they should just use a pushchair sign like they do with a wheel chair did they not think of that xx’
ParkingEye, who manage most of Aldi’s car parks, claimed that they were not behind the painting change.
An Aldi spokesperson said: ‘All parent and child car parking spaces at Aldi stores are gender-neutral. This sign was painted incorrectly and will be changed.’
Can you work out what most politically correct parking spaces EVER mean? Westfield shopping centre’s bid to ‘promote diverse families’ left shoppers so confused they had to scrap them
By Connor Boyd for MailOnline
A series of parking spaces installed at a London shopping centre aimed at ‘promoting diversity’ left shoppers baffled and confused where to park their car.
Twenty-four new white painted signs were created to ‘celebrate modern families’, including same-sex couples and single parents, at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush.
They featured spaces for gay couples with a child, a male and trans couple with a baby, split families with more than two parents and older couples with a child.
This parking space appears to show two grandmothers walking hand in hand with a boy and girl
This design shows two couples with one child aimed at being inclusive toward ‘split families’
This sign shows a gay male couple with a newborn baby as part of the ‘modern families’ campaign
While some of the icons were easy to decipher, others had customers scratching their heads wondering if they were allowed to park there.
The signs for same-sex couples were relatively obvious, but more obscure ones such as ‘grandparent, guardian and child’ and ‘pregnant mother with female partner and baby’ proved more difficult.
The parking spaces were an attempt to challenge the traditional ‘mother, father and child’ signs seen across the country.
Conventional: One of the easier spaces to work out was one showing a mother and father with multiple children and a baby
Shopper Rob Jones said he and his wife found the signs confusing and struggled to work out where they were allowed to park at the shopping centre (pictured)
The 24 ‘modern families’ the spaces try to signify
1. Male couple with baby
2. Female couple with child
3. Single mum with children
4. Mum and dad with children and baby
5. Single dad with children
6. Single mum with child and baby
7. Grandparents/guardians with children
8. Mum, child and grandma
9. Mum and dad with four children
10. Grandad/guardian with baby
11. Split family (e.g. four parents and one child)
12. Older female couple with children
13. Single mum with children and baby
14. Male and trans couple with child
15. Pregnant mum with children and baby
16. Pregnant mum with female partner and baby
17. Mum and child and grandparents
18. Male couple with baby and older parent
19. Dad with son and his friends
20. Single dad and baby with grandparent
21. Single pregnant mum with baby
22. Dad and pregnant mum with baby and child
23. Male couple with two babies
24. Grandma/guardian with child
A spokesperson said feedback from Westfield customers so far showed the idea had ‘proven popular’ with them.
But shopper Rob Jones said they seemed ‘a bit forced, and pretty confusing’.
The 28-year-old said: ‘My family and I drove into Car Park A when they were put up and we didn’t have a clue which ones we could park in.
‘We had a queue of vehicles behind us as my wife and I tried to work out if we could leave the car in them.’
The spaces were the brainchild of Volvo, and advertising company Grey London, to mark the launch of their new family estate car.
‘According to the Office of National Statistics, 65% of UK families are non-traditional.
But the family iconography we see every day still doesn’t reflect this,’ explained Grey London creative director, Joseph Ernst.
‘To launch Volvo’s ultimate family car, the new V60, we wanted to represent families of all kinds.
‘The Volvo Family Icons are a celebration of the broad spectrum of diverse families living in the UK today.’
The parking spaces were installed in Car Park A at Westfield, on Level 1 by lift lobby 2 near Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in August.
Volvo said that over the years ‘the definition of family has evolved, hence the icons profile different examples of family within society, including same-sex couples, single parents and nuclear families’.
Westfield recently underwent a massive £600m expansion project to add a new Primark and John Lewis store in June.
It also saw the likes of Adidas, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Curry’s PC World and Boots getting a refurbishment.
In October the West London shopping centre was crowned the best in the UK.
Westfield Shepherd’s Bush scored 4.09 out of five, with Westfield Stratford City coming in second place at 3.98 out of five.
Twitter user mocks female-only parking bays intended to make women feel safer at night
In October, a Twitter user sparked a social media storm after mocking female-only parking bays intended to make women feel safer at night.
The ‘ladies only’ bays were introduced in 2002 at the Bow Street car park in Bolton.
But one social media user, Josh Woogs, found the bays rather amusing – posting online ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing here haha’.
He also uploaded some images alongside his post, subsequently joking that a reversed car seen in one of them was ‘parked by her husband’.
His comments resulted in a fierce backlash with one person labelling the man ‘uneducated’ and another calling him ‘sexist’.
The ‘ladies only’ bays (above) – introduced in 2002 at the Bow Street car park in Bolton – have been ridiculed by a Twitter user