There I was, minding my own business on facebook, when I saw it.
The ubiquitous “gendered products are stupid and sexist” post. It rolls around every now and then, often from different sources. Usually it’s just some annoying feminist website. This time it was Cracked.com…which is sad, because Cracked occasionally has some funny articles and other times you get unfunny crap like this.
Among this list were items like pink tools, handguns, and energy drinks, Online computer stores for women, and female knee replacements.
Of these 5 I can only see one (computer stores for women) that seems completely useless (also Dell realized it was useless too and discontinued it…possibly because women aren’t stupid enough to buy a Dell) but the rest are just diversified choice in the market.
Here’s the thing I’ve never understood about people who hate gendered products.
Who said you had to buy the pink one of anything?
Look, I have ranted a few times about how I hate women’s razors. I really don’t think they are equal quality to men’s razors. However in none of my rants have I ever said that they shouldn’t exist or that they are pointless, a lot of people seem to like them…or else the companies that make them wouldn’t bother.
I just buy from the men’s aisle and no one has ever said anything negative to me about it.
Gendered items do not hurt you in any way. You are not forced to buy them. They don’t limit your choices, they just increase choice for someone else.
The fact that Glock makes a pink 9mm has never made me feel like I had to buy one. I’m perfectly happy with my 9mm black Smith & Wesson. Additionally when I was picking out my gun I was never once directed to the “women’s guns” by anyone. No one looked at me and said “umm, no, you need a hot pink gun. Those are the only ones we let women look at.” The only thing they cautioned me on was that because of my freakish bird bone thin wrists I would have to be careful about recoil on the model I purchased (they were right, but I still love it).
Increased choice, whether it’s because a company chooses to market a line to women or children or senior citizens or men, does not harm the market and it isn’t sexist.
So feminists really seem to be hating on choice (and, by extension, capitalism) here. So what if I, or the feminists out there, don’t want an appetite suppressing energy drink in a pink can or a floral decorated screwdriver set, maybe someone else does.
There’s a market for these products because someone wants them (or at least the company thinks so, if that’s not the case they will discontinue them pretty quick) and who are feminists to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to want them or buy them? Even if the only discernable difference is the size or color scheme, well maybe some women prefer a different color scheme or want something that coordinates a little better with their shoes or purse or coat.
Maybe women or kids or senior citizens or men appreciate having marketing targeted to them and signs that companies value their patronage enough to design new lines for them, even if is just slapping a new color of paint on the same design.
The only way this would be sexist is if I was hearded into one side of the Target when I shopped and my best friend (who is male) was hearded into the other side and we were only allowed to buy things in gender “appropriate” colors and styles.
As it is, I’m very happy buying lavender scented deoderant in a pink can as well as Gillete “for Men” razors on the next aisle. I buy Superman and National Air and Space Museum posters to hang next to my Romance movie posters, my copies of James Bond films are neatly sandwiched in next to my hot pink DVD case for Legally Blonde and my Disney Princess films are (disturbingly enough) on the same shelf as Shawshank Redemption and Mortal Kombat.
Why not focus on the fact that we live in a country where completely utilitarian products, like tape dispensers and water bottles, come in a variety of colors and you can choose between glitter and non-glitter finishes?
“Gendered” items only dictate your buying habits if you let them and they’re only sexist if you see them as controlling you in some way.
If that’s the case, you need the intervention…not the market.
And besides, maybe it’s a man who is aching to shoot that pink handgun or carry that purple AR-15 and if that’s the case, well I wish him well.
This is just a continuation of a longer series. Remember to check out my other installments dealing with Disney Princesses, Taylor Swift, Dress Codes, Super Heroine Costumes in Comic Books, Body Acceptance, and Women’s Self-Defense.