31.12.13

Gender Marketing is Lazy Marketing

Marketing has got lazy.

And we are to blame.

You've probably heard of 'PinkStinks' who believe that girls can be more than sparkly princesses, and you probably agree with that. The odd idea that women can't be scientists, educators, brain surgeons, explorers, astronauts, firefighters etc etc is surely long gone. Except it seems in toyland, where even if you can be a scientist you can probably only be a pink one..who makes bath bombs, if you are a girl.
 
But I'm noticing that while stores are bowing to pressure in the toy department, elsewhere the sexism (is it really that? or just lazy lazy marketing?) continues in uncontrolled tidal waves of consumerism.

It's us. We are consumers and we are lazy. Buying for Uncle Frank? Look for the signs..

The greatest gift we give a marketing department is laziness. Look at 'men's' birthday cards, fishing, football, beer, car maintenance. Look at 'women's' birthday cards, cup cakes, shoes, bags, wine, kittens. And then on to the gifts; in my local garden centre yesterday I noticed that toys were all ungendered, but Men's Gifts had a proud sign, and consisted of bottled beers, coasters, chocolate in the shape of spanners, while Women's Gifts were soaps, candles and wine glasses. (for the record I'm a beer and toolkit kind of girl, while hubby likes posh scented soaps)

I bought some gifts and the gifts I bought were all from the same section, they were for some men and some women I know, and I'll let you know in a week or two if they liked them or if they noticed that the gifts had a gender.

Stop gendering products! We need to keep saying it long and loud, not just about toys, about everything! We are people and we like stuff, we are programmed to buy stuff and yes it seems that hormones mean some women buy more than some men, but not all, not all women shop, not all men fish. Can the shops be more inventive? Can we, the consumer force them to see that we can decide for ourselves? Do you decide for yourself? or do you assume Aunt Mabel likes soap and Uncle Frank likes a mini tool kit?

Does a tool kit become a 'woman's tool kit' if it is pink? Are paisley garden trowels for ladies only? Is Spitfire Beer a man only product?

I think the gendering of products, like the gendering of toys, needs the same question asked..."is this product controlled with the genitals?" and if the answer is no, well then it's for a man or a woman.

Marketing based on gender makes fools of us all. What can we do to turn the tide?

Stop being happy about being typecast.