Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have Yourself a Very Gendered Christmas

Since I am the child who is much more likely to buy a wrench set for my mother and an Enya CD for my father, seeing Amazon.com's gift suggestions always reminds me how stereotypically gendered gift-giving can be, at least from a commercial standpoint.

Also... why is THIS a thing?

Elves should not be sexy. Just--ah! I think by now everyone has gotten over Legolas and realizes that there's nothing sexy about elves... it was just Orlando Bloom. (There was a time... in the early 2000's... when this was confused.) But yeah. As always men dressing up in costumes for Christmas are funny and silly! While women who dress up for Christmas must be sexy. (Someone please explain to me what is sexy about Christmas. Isn't it supposed to be about babies in mangers and gift cards?)

Anyway, back to the gift thing--the elf thing was just bothering me-- it is not just children who are attacked with gendered commercial expectations. I'm not sure what it is about classic rock or history books/DVDs that are so often associated with men, but that's how it's usually marketed. People tend to be really critical of the commercials aimed at children and how they construct gender, but gender constructs in advertisements don't end with childhood. And that's something I wish there was more awareness about, because products and commercials do influence the way they think, and when they're being used to enforce gender stereotypes... that's not helping society progress. I mean, I'm not expecting cell phone ads or gift guides to be revolutionary or anything... I would just like for them to be even handed about they way men and women are portrayed in them. That doesn't seem like too much to ask.

In my Amazon.com wishlist, in case you are wondering, besides books and DVDs (take that, Amazon predictions!), I have this:

So I only added the pink one because it also "supports" breast cancer research (and would thus add to my collection of legitimate items made to look silly by being breast cancer research pink...), but the user reviews say that the cap comes off too easily in their purses, so I will be researching other brands and models.

In any case, gender stereotypes don't take a holiday for the holidays, and if you look for them... they will be there.

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