Archive for the ‘Feminism & Gender’ Category

What’s next? Will they trade orange for pink?

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

I’m kind of annoyed about the news that Home Depot is opening new stores aimed at women, but not nearly as annoyed as I am that they’re calling them “Her Depot.” I mean, seriously, wtf?

I worked at Home Depot some 12 years ago. I was a head cashier and worked at the special services desk, which was where large accounts and projects were tracked and managed. It was a pretty cool gig, mostly, despite the fact that I was only working there because I was making so little money as the head of the Language Laboratory at UIC. (Seriously, I was making, like $19K in a role that could be described as “head of a department at a fairly large state university”. It was ridiculous.) Even as draining as it was working a nearly full-time job on top of another full-time job, I enjoyed most of my time in the orange apron.

Also, if I may remind you, I own a house with my handyman husband, and said house has needed detailed attention from what amounts to nearly every aisle of the hardware store.

I mention those two things to let you know that I’ve spent more than my fair share of time within Home Depot stores.

And in all those hours upon hours of walking over hard concrete warehouse floors, I really haven’t noticed Home Depot having a problem pulling in female customers. They’re all over the store, though clearly there is a heavier concentration of women in the lighting, appliance, and garden areas. But even so, they’re there. And they’re buying.

So I’m just not seeing where there was this great need to spin off a store just for her. Which again reminds me of my other point: “Her Depot”? For serious? What kind of condescending shit is that?

I mean, not only is it condescending but it’s also short-sighted. It sounds like they’re looking to compete with the retail powerhouse that is Target, but they’re idiots if they 1) think men don’t shop at Target a lot; and/or 2) think men are going to be very eager to shop at “Her Depot.” Except maybe in gay irony or when coerced by the wife.

It’s just such bad decision-making all the way around. Kind of makes me want to go buy screws and power tools at Target, just out of spite.

HT: Consumerist

Mixed reaction

Monday, May 28th, 2007

It cracks me the hell up that Barbie has an RV with a hot tub. Well, it simultaneously cracks me up and weirds me out a little. Well, a lot. OK, it simultaneously weirds me the hell out and makes me a little sad. Yeah. Cracks me up, weirds me out, and makes me sad. That’s about right.

Post-modern playground name-calling

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Our front porch guy told a story about his 1st-grade daughter getting called an “asshole” on the playground by a little boy in her class. She told the teacher, who brought them together and talked to the boy about his use of language, and he promised not to use the word again.

A little later, they were back out playing, and sure enough, the little boy called the girl an “asshole” again. The girl went back to the teacher, who again gathered the two children up and started to admonish the boy, when the little girl contributed her advice for the boy: “You should really try not to be such a bitch.”

Question for women and other travelers

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Am I being short-sighted not to see the point in the new women’s travel center AA.com just launched? I realize there are safety implications for women traveling alone, and I realize there are planning considerations for families, yes, OK. And yes, many times the vacation planner in the family is the woman, but I bet it’s pretty often the man, too, so it would probably be better (from a marketing standpoint) to target that information and those resources and promotions to parents, not women specifically.

So beyond additional “smart solo traveler” safety concerns, what else distinguishes women’s travel needs from those of men?

Call me cynical, but this feels like way too heavy-handed an attempt to court the female dollar. Either that — or possibly in addition to that — and here’s where I hint at my e-commerce geekery — someone at AA.com just figured out how to segment their traffic and commerce data by gender, which revealed that women either spend too much or too little time or money on their site (I could speculate either way) and now they’re inventing excuses to draw more women to the site, draw us there more frequently, or draw us there and keep us engaged while we’re there long enough to buy a trip.

None of which are bad things — they’re just obvious. And the obviousness of it feels kind of, I don’t know, patronizing or something.

Or maybe it’s just me. Is it?

Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

theogeo critiques a new magazine called Skirt! (yes, the banger is part of the title) with which she is obliquely associated:

Tell me you’ve got a publication for strong, successful women and I’ll usually be all, “Okay, right on,” thinking we’ve got a political-minded, informative, thoughtful outlet on our hands. Tell me it’s called “Skirt!” and my brain will start shutting down. Suddenly you’ve introduced fashion and feminine markers into the premise. Not to mention the secondary verbal definition of “skirt,” which means to avoid or work around. It’s indirect; it’s passive.

The whole premise is bewilderingly patronizing. And it’s not like I don’t subscribe to fashion magazines — I do! several! — but I subscribe to them to follow fashion and admire clothing design. I know what I’m getting into when I open a copy of InStyle, and believe me, I don’t read it expecting to encounter thoughtful essays written from a feminist perspective. Those types of publications simply have no credibility with me for that sort of content. But when I want those feminist essays (Bust, perhaps, or Off Our Backs? I admit I don’t subscribe to either — blogs provide me with ample content), I don’t expect to be condescended to with fashion and beauty advice. And here the credibility issue works basically in reverse: include fashion and beauty advice in your progressive women’s publication, and, for me, you cease to be a progressive women’s publication.

This sort of mental partitioning may be uncommon, but I sort of doubt it. That’s not to say that a cross-market magazine (or even cross-cross-market, if you think fashion-feminist-local) can’t work, but this appears to be the reason to undertake such a venture with extreme caution.