A JOKE photo turned viral political statement has landed a Rockhampton father in the national spotlight.
Jamie Simpson appeared on breakfast show Sunrise this morning, with presenters David "Kochie" Koch and Samantha Armytage keen to uncover the intention behind a photo of himself with his daughter standing under a Rockhampton Stockland pram park sign.
The sign features a female silhouette, and the photo - taken by Jamie's mother - was initially intended to "take the mickey" out of a controversial Melbourne trial to change crossing signs to include a woman's silhouette.
"Dad's of Australia let's band together to and get these signs changed !!! Men can shop with their children too !!! #menism Share it around and show the dad's of this world some love !!" the former South Sydney Rabbitoh posted with the photo on Sunday.
In a live cross from Rockhampton, Jamie this morning told Sunrise while he has no intention of actually effecting change in the signs, he realises his post has provoked talk and thought around how males are perceived and treated at shopping centres, changing rooms and more broadly in parks and public spaces.
"I think that's impossible, I mean how does a stick figure have a gender anyway?" he laughed.
"I don't want to see any signs changed at all. All it was was taking the mickey out of what's going on in Melbourne I mean me mum took the photo for goodness sake."
Traffic lights to signal a change in gender equity for Melbourne natives pic.twitter.com/sgG19Dsuiv— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 9, 2017
It appears Facebook users have obliged to his call to action though, with the post receiving more than 60,000 interactions since Sunday; 35.6K shares, 30K reactions and 4850 comments as of this morning.
While the majority join in on the joke, others seem to have missed the point and have expressed outrage on the original and subsequently shared posts.
Andrew Green has resurrected the post on Yeppoon Families page after it was initially removed because of some "rather unkind" comments.
Though that hasn't stopped the haters on the original post.
Alana Grace Gladwin posted: "It says parents with prams not "women with prams" so shut up go put a dress on and do your shopping.... p.s I bet your wife is actually taking this photo too."
Others even pointed out the apparent gender bias in the pedestrian crossing sign in the background.
"I'm offended!" David Cooper posted.
Luke McBride looked on the lighter side and embraced the silhouette: "I'm a man who likes to wear a dress when I take my kids to the shops. This sign is perfect," he posted.
A suggestion Jamie himself joked about with the Sunrise hosts.
"I had a dress in the back just in case I needed to put it on and had people looking at me weird," he said.
"It doesn't worry me at all and a lot of my mates have come to me and said 'you have got to keep going with it'.
"Look it is a joke but we have tackled something serious here with men and the way we get perceived if we are with our children in a shopping centre.
"If you put yourself in our shoes, if we were to go in there women do give us a lot of dirty looks and even when we are around playgrounds on our phone things like that we just get dirty looks and it's not nice.
"And if the shoe was on the other foot and men were doing it to women, I'm not saying all women, I think something a bit different would be happening, maybe they would try and change it just like they did with the signals down in Melbourne."
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