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Don't call Vancouver a bitch

Are you sure your clever nightlife metaphor isn't sexist? Check again.

The Fox and the Grapes: Haters gonna hate
The Fox and the Grapes (image via Wikimedia Commons)

Look, just stop using the metaphor

There's a point to be made that Vancouver real estate is not as desirable as condo developers think it is. However, should you try to make that point, be sure you don't wrap it in sexist metaphor.

If you do choose to wrap your point in sexist metaphor, don't do so in the opening paragraph of your article. In other words, do not do something like this:

The City of Vancouver is the pretty, tall blonde with a bad attitude who thinks she can get away with being pouty, demanding and carry on with her expensive habits. That’s why City Hall helps to push-up the price British Columbians pay for a home by imposing much higher fees on developers than other cities in the Lower Mainland. The attitude is: “I am pretty; nobody is going to say No to me.” Well, more and more suitor are saying No to the pretty blonde and choosing the pretty brunette in Surrey and the lovely redhead in Burnaby.

First of all, you need to understand that a city is an ecosystem of interests and economic dynamics, and not a Granville Street bro's concept of a woman. ("Push-up"? Yeah, I see what you did there.)

I really hope you don't think that Vancouver's suburbs are verdant fields of affordability, just waiting for you to notice them. Nope, uh-uh. The cranes are already in Surrey, ready and waiting for you. Cheap housing exists there, and it's also the smallest in Canada. Value? Perhaps, but artificially constrained.

Also, it might help to ask which part of the market is soft: the investment-property segment or the we-want-to-actually-live-in-this-unit-and-raise-our-family segment?

Don't choose metaphors to make sense of Vancouver's real estate market because they sound cute and clever. Choose them because they help you paint an accurate picture, or at least an explain-it-like-I'm five diagram.

The quote above comes from an article that thinks it is describing the Lower Mainland as a series of women out on the town, fielding come-ons from (male) suitors. Sexist? Yes, actually. Correct? No, actually. That article is describing the Lower Mainland in terms of the Fox and the Grapes, whether the writer realizes it or not.

What's the lesson learnt in the Fox and the Grapes? It's easy to resent what you can't have. Another way of putting it would be...

I'm really not sure how "haters gonna hate" is supposed to help you navigate Vancouver real estate, or make sound decisions in a neighbourhood committee meeting, or effect change next time you vote in a local election.

Of course, if you choose to describe the city as a living being that shuns you because it's bitchy, then I won't help you.

I'll be too busy banging my head against the desk. 

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