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Schalk van Zyl
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Worst for Women?

27 February 2014, 14:06

At first the commercials for First for Women struck me as being oddly misandrous, with constant references to men being childish and having an inability to make reasoned decisions. Now I'm not one for moral panic, so it didn't really bother me other than being a peculiarity cropping up once in a while.

But the more I think about it the more it seems like First for Women isn't just obsessed with sexist stereotypes of men and their behaviour; they utilise many sexist stereotypes of women as well.

Case in point is a radio advert I heard on Jacaranda today: A woman is faced with the very complicated task of selecting which pair of shoes to purchase (with what we can only assume to be her husband's money). First for Women comes to her aid by taking less of her shoe-money and allowing the purchase of both pairs. Well whoop-dee-doo, what heroes these people are.

I do honestly hope that any adult person who has enough property to actually insure frets over matters of more gravity than the colour of their footwear, or how far they can drive in their reverse gear.

The fact that they feel the need to market themselves in a manner which focuses only on the sex of those concerned is not so much disturbing, as it is simply silly. In a world where we are told we are all equal, these kinds of adverts with which we are constantly bombarded twist our perception of such equalities.

A good everyday example would be the kind of trouble a man would have getting an Au Pair job, since people are taught to believe men are irresponsible – yet men run almost every nuclear reactor on earth (with a pretty good track record). Or a woman would struggle to get a good job in criminal defense, since 'she's too soft to handle it'. That last one my lawyer girlfriend has heard pretty often in her life, and I can assure you she can handle more gore than most men I've met.

I guess what I'm getting at here is simply that such marketing serves only to make First for Women look like they have no idea who their market is. You'd expect such a company to aspire to catering for the needs of independent and modern women – not these flapper era caricatures they parade around so proudly.

A little example of men in action:

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