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Today while buying school supplies at the UVic Bookstore, I ventured over to the aisle which contains less school-oriented stuff and more household stuff and impulse buys. While I was there, I saw a combined pedometer/calorie counter and alarm. The packaging was bright pink and had the silhouette of a thin, ponytailed woman jogging. There was some sort of tagline like “Be safe while burning calories!”

If the packaging hadn’t been so puke-tastic, and the price so ridiculous, I might have bought it. I’ve been looking for a pedometer for quite some time. Jaime and I go on walks every evening. I’m a bit weary about going out after dark for too long, because it’s very easy to get lost here, and Jaime and I sometimes see stray dogs wandering about, and there’s a concern about wildcats or other wildlife. So that device would be handy, using the loud noise to scare away an unfriendly animal. I’ve been interested in clocking my miles on my walks, and I want to see the exact distance from my house to the university and to any place where I might get a job.

But I’m not going to buy it. The frilly pink packaging is downright insulting. It implies that only women should worry about their safety when walking out after dark, rather than it being a reasonable precaution regardless of your gender. Also, I am highly aware of the intended use of the alarm, which is radically different from my idea of using it against wild animals, and I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s misguided and dangerous to market it this way. Most rapists don’t take the form of a boogeyman waiting at night to pounce at you, and the ones who do aren’t likely to be scared away by a loud noise. Even if they were, this device, and others like it, are a band-aid on a much larger problem, far beyond the help of a cheap piece of pink plastic.

Also, just throwing it out there: I can think of plenty of reasons to go out at night besides exercise. Some people work the graveyard shift, just like a nice stroll, or want to see the cereus bloom. Is it just to tie the pedometer into it and make it more pricey?

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