What is it about any gift-giving occasion that brings out the sexist stereotypes? Is it the evil geniuses known as marketing departments? I can picture them all, sitting around a table and devising ways to make gifts that subtly remind women of what their place in the world really is. Pink, floral-patterned, thin and doing the bloody housework. Sexist Christmas gifts are a thing! Ugh!
I spotted this game in a local op shop recently, in the Christmas gift display. I am amazed as to why it was donated to charity, unopened and unused.
Is it, perhaps, because it is essentially a pink-washed deck of playing cards, along with assorted other pink crap? Maybe it’s because it refers to women as “chicks”? My guess is that it’s a combination of a number of eye-rolling factors. I don’t know about you, but my lady-hands work just fine when holding regular playing cards. My woman-brain can understand the game rules even if my cards are *gasp* blue!
Why do things aimed at women have to be pink? Supercheap Auto, among other stores, have special “ladies” toolkits. To paraphrase Bette Midler in Beaches, they look like a flamingo threw up on them.
“Oh, I can’t actually tell if it’s a straight line or not using your man-spirit level. Let me get my pink lady one, to be sure!” Gimme a break!
“For the Woman Who…”
It’s not only the pink-washing, though- it’s how things are described and marketed. It’s a little more subtle. For instance, if my husband wanted to buy me a dress, I would hope he’d look for something I’d like. Yet, if he were to jump online and look at gift guides aimed at men, he’d get gems like this:
“For the woman who’s a boss at work. And loves patterns.” I like how they specified that this is for women who are bosses at work. Nowhere else, mind you. We don’t want to indulge women who might be boss of their outside-of-work life with patterned frocks. Likewise, those women that have jobs where they aren’t the boss. Who cares if they love patterns? They don’t deserve them! Why can’t we just describe the dress without the tired, patronising terminology?
Anything to do with housework.
I’m amazed at how many “gifts for women” are actually items to do with housework. I remember my own Dad buying Mum an iron as a gift, one year. He very nearly wore that iron in a very uncomfortable place. That was a lesson learned, right there. We shouldn’t need to keep reminding anyone that the 1950’s were a long time ago. We are living in a modern world where vacuuming or doing a load of washing won’t actually cause a man’s biologically male bits to retract and reform while his hormones readjust. It’s true. I googled it. There is not one recorded case of a biologically male person turning into a biologically female person due to pulling their weight around the house. And yet, browsing a gift website, I clicked on this product in the ‘gifts for women’ section, thinking it was wine:
I do not give a flying fuck how fancy the bottle; this is a laundry product. I can’t believe this needs to be said: Do not give a woman a bottle of stain remover for Christmas. Especially one that looks like wine. It is a sexist Christmas gift because women do not necessarily get their thrills from stain removal nor should they be assigned the role of primary stain remover due to their femaleness. And the packaging is hugely and disappointingly misleading.
In Kmart’s for women section, I came across these:
Without going into a critique of the “I Quit Sugar” thing, it has to be said that any kind of book to do with weight loss is a shit present. Yes, programs like IQS are meant to focus on general health improvement but we all know that weight loss is a HUGE factor in why people take them up. If people want to embrace a healthier lifestyle or follow celebrity fad diets (depending on your perspective, the IQS program could be either), leave it up to them to decide and explore. Interestingly, I went through all 11 pages of Kmart’s gifts for men section. There were books; novels, biographies, recipe books and even a crossword book. Not one of the books suggested for men were weight loss related. Go figure!
In short, don’t choose a gift that may even slightly imply that your female friend or relative is in need of weight loss. Women get enough of that crap from the media, films, magazines and
bloody rude well-meaning strangers who ask when the baby is due. They do not need sexist Christmas presents to add to that pressure.
#IBOT @ Capturing Life.