The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

The “Real” Version vs The Women’s Edition

Posted by Cate on October 8, 2008

I was at Border’s last night and was rather confused to see a ‘Women’s’ poker set. It was pink. I have never played poker but assumed it was always a rather gender neutral game (with Strip Poker perhaps being the exception).  But somehow, slapping a gendered label on products and colouring them pink is a marketing attempt to attract women to ‘traditional’ male pursuits. I had a quick look on Google and found all sorts of things. There’s even a Poker Ho Card Guard for those women “proud to show who you really are” (um, assuming ‘ho’ is a derogatory reference to a sex worker, does this suggest sex as part of the winnings? I’m a bit confused here).

But gender specificity even extends in the ‘professional’ arena. These purple power tools are a point in question. I have my own power tools for crafting and I’ve never needed a gender specific set.

Nor a pink hardhat from Tomboy Trades like these:

Interesting logo by the way. What logical, ‘tool touting woman’ lets her hair hang free and dons flares around machinery? And why are women in trade suddenly considered ‘tomboys’? Haven’t we got past that yet?

In having a look for mainstream products designed with women in mind, I was most amused to find the “Patented New Products and Inventions for Women (including Moms) Available for license”. Yes apparently mothers are a separate entity here. I’m not sure which product amuses me most, perhaps the ‘mother’s third arm’ or the Dishwasher Dirty/Clean indicator hehe.

I think it’s great that women are starting companies and creating products by women for women but why colour them pink and add stereotypes to them? The colour pink has done great things for Breast Cancer Research but how about beyond that?


2 Responses to “The “Real” Version vs The Women’s Edition”

  1. lilacsigil said

    Pink/purple/floral tools are great because then men won’t borrow them and they’re easy to find in dark cupboard. There’s purple workboots raising money for breast cancer, too. I’d like to think that professional tradeswomen are beyond that particular “cute tomboy” stereotype, though.

  2. Mel said

    I find the purple stuff less offensive, at least, because purple is a colour with a feminist history (although my friends always like to remind me that it’s “the colour of sexual frustration” – hmmm, I wonder if there’s a backlash anywhere).

    Perhaps it’s just a lazy kind of rebranding – rather than create a new ad campaign addressing a new target market, the company dyes the product another colour and calls it “the women’s version”.

    As for pink things raising money for breast cancer, Stephanie Trigg wrote a frickin’ excellent article debunking that practice.

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