The holiday season is right around the corner and if you’ve risked your health by going to stores or a mall lately, you’ve seen the displays appearing. (I still think it’s too early to Christmas shop, then again I’m one of the mid-December starters, anyway.)
Something I noticed at a big-box retailer was a series of gift box sets “for her.” These contained everything from body lotions to bubble baths to scented candles. Everything a woman loves, right? Come on, women: That’s your jam. That’s your thing. It’s girly, you should like it. Have a bath, you’re a girl – that’s what you do.
I think you see where I’m headed with this commentary.
In a world where gender is the most delicate of subjects right now, it’s pretty ballsy for a store to usher out gender-defining products.
My mom would never want that as a gift, but I would appreciate the gift basket for myself. But she’s the woman. The store says that gift box is for her. It’s not for her 38-year-old son. I can’t have it. Nor can someone gift it to me.
Come to think of it, they’re likely hurting their own sales by not making it an all-inclusive product. Am I really going to buy that for a guy? Probably not. So, they’ve just alienated an entire gender.
And what happens if a young gay boy is at the store and wants the product but learns that it’s only for girls? Will he be ashamed of who he is? Will he think he’s not a boy? Could it cause him confusion? Or is this all an overreaction? (Hey, I’m just putting it out there because all of these are likely scenarios nowadays.)
I’m not easily offended so seeing something like that doesn’t bother me, though I think we’re all aware of how people could easily blow it out of proportion to create drama and cry foul.
My cousin loves golfing but she questioned why golf clubs and accessories are often listed as “Gifts he’ll love” or “Gifts for him.”
She took it one step further: “Why don’t they just say, “Get to work, lady” on the fridge and stove page in their flyer?”
We’re in such an overly sensitive society that I’m surprised merchandising and marketing people still rely on dated generalizations about the sexes.
I remember seeing pink power tools at a store when I was shopping with a colleague. She wasn’t offended but she thought it was stupid marketing to change the colour of a product just to appeal to women.
“Why can’t I like the black or the grey drill?” she asked.
It wouldn’t surprise me if in the next few weeks, people take notice of these gender-specific gift boxes and take issue with them. Wait for it, wait for it.