This week I have learned that women can do traditionally male activities… but need to be bribed with pink ribbons first.
For starters, here’s a link to Stavvers’ excellent blog on girls being encouraged into science by virtue of traditionally shite gender stereotyping. I facepalmed when I saw the link, and for all the same reasons; girls can enjoy science not because it’s intellectually satisfying and exciting, but because they can now have it in pink! With sexy!
A bit like cycling, with Jess Beaton’s piece on the Sustrans website promising that women who brave the scary men’s bike lanes can be rewarded with retail therapy and – wait for it – a hot pink polka dot helmet.
And then, although I’m nearly a year late to the party on this one, I heard about a new pink beer for the laydeez. Oh, excellent.
The problem with this isn’t just the marketing. It’s the presumption that women would join the boys in traditional male-dominated arenas, not because they enjoy cycling, beer or science, but because they are permitted to do so when a product is pinkified for them. I can see two messages: that women can’t or won’t do anything unless they get the option to dress in pink ribbons to do it, and that women have a duty to look glamorous at all times. Neither are attractive.