Why the “Pointless Gendering” of Products Is a Bad Idea

January 26, 2015

“When people make male and female versions of things like eggs, dog shampoo, and pickles, you can’t help but laugh,” says sociologist Lisa Wade on her Sociological Images blog.  But in reacting to the absurdity and humor in such products, we don’t always realize the associated problems with what she calls “pointless gendering.”  Dr. Wade is concerned with the messages being conveyed in producing male and female versions of innumerable items, including their affirmation of the gender binary.

She writes:

“Affirming the gender binary also makes everyone who doesn’t fit into it invisible or problematic. This is, essentially, all of us. Obviously it’s a big problem for people who don’t identify as male or female or for those whose bodies don’t conform to their identity, but it’s a problem for the rest of us, too. Almost every single one of us takes significant steps every day to try to fit into this binary: what we eat, whether and how we exercise, what we wear, what we put on our faces, how we move and talk. All these things are gendered and when we do them in gendered ways we are forcing ourselves to conform to the binary.”

Read Dr. Wade’s entire list:  “Five Reasons Why Gendered Products Are a Problem.”

 

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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