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.
“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.”