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A Female Pen: The Extent of Gendered Marketing

Sometimes we need a bit of gender segregation. Separate toilets are a perfect example. So are certain gendered greeting cards. Now I’m not talking about the ones that say ‘Happy Birthday Brother‘ with a picture of a motorbike. Your brother has probably zero interest in them, but hey, at least it’s manly. No. I’m talking about the ones like we make. You know – ‘Happy Anniversary‘ with two dickie bows to signify it’s not your regular Hallmark hetero relationship card. But I digress. Gender segregation has seeped into every crevice of society, and we’re lapping up it to the delight of marketing directors worldwide.

Even my childhood was not without basic gender segregation. Growing up I played with Polly Pockets and teddy bears, whilst my big brother played with toy guns and soldiers. He’s an actual soldier now though, so maybe that’s a bad example. He obviously really like those toys!  And now that I think about it, I remember really loving those Polly Pockets. Perhaps I’m trying to find a non-existent fault here. Because playing with ‘girl’ toys made me pretty damn happy. Why though? Was it because television adverts showed me images of girls my age having the time of their lives playing with Polly? Well they certainly didn’t show girls running around playing toy soldier.

It’s too far gone to remember my rational from childhood. I didn’t know what rational was, so I doubt I even had any. In adulthood however, I’ve no excuse. Now when it comes to clothes, I don’t see a gender divide. I suppose that’s the gay in me. I’ll happily shop for a t-shirt in the man’s section, and shoes in the women’s. But if I’m buying a razor, off to the pink aisle I go. I remember wondering to myself what the difference between female and males razors is before. I think I settled on the colour and went ahead with my pink purchase. But now I’m wondering, is that it? Is that actually the only difference? What is the point?!

Oh how we fall so easily into the market traps. From female Lego to male eye cream, Australian show ‘The Checkout’ highlights the differences between gender specific products. Of which, there are basically NONE!

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8 Things You Hear When You’re Gay

If you’re LGBT, here are just 8 things you have most likely heard at some stage. Prepare for some serious eye rolling.

1. ‘Tell me your coming out story!’

Yes, because that’s a light hearted story I’d love to share.

 

2. ‘So which one of you girls is the boy?’

What? Neither of us. That’s the point!

 

3. ‘I went to a gay bar once, but all the guys came on to me.’

Sure they did! We all believe you.

 

 4. ‘Ugh, that’s so gay. No offence!’

This better be on route to extinction.

 

5. ‘Did you binge watch Orange is the New Black?’

Ok, you can have that one.

 

6. ‘There’s a gay guy in work, do you know him?’

Of course! Why wouldn’t I know this completely random person you work with?

 

7. ‘But, you don’t look gay!’

Apologies, I left my feather boa back in 1985.

 

8. And finally, ‘What exactly… do you do?’

Just.. no. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But first, lemme take a selfie.

It is the age of viral videos, Instafame, vlogging and infamous selfies. But if you saw me on a Saturday night, you would find it hard to believe I’ve never done any sort of army assault course training. The dreaded phrase ‘Everyone get in for a photo!’ usually has me diving over furniture and secretly escaping crowded rooms just to make sure my mug isn’t snapped on anyone’s phone. Only when the picture has been taken 10 times ‘just in case’, is it safe to rejoin the group. ‘Oh I missed the photo? Dammit. Next time!’ Lies.

Smart phones and social media are the two key players in this whole phenomenon. Our beloved ‘can’t live without you’ smartphones came onto the market as early as 1993. Arguably though, nothing really made an impact quite like the iPhone after it’s release in 2007. Social media too had been hanging around for a while with sites like Bebo and MySpace. Similarly though, nothing nailed that market quite like the giant that is Facebook. We could now take photos on our phones – genius! We could now access social media on our phones – genius! Pretty soon, we teamed the two and began documenting our lives through our phones.

But the life documentation isn’t limited to Facebook. Oh not even nearly. With an overwhelming amount of apps available, we can showcase our life in any which way we please. For the picture lovers, there is Instagram. A photo orientated platform that allows users to build a profile made of their own personal images. Document their lives through pictures, if you will. The use of ‘filters’ was no doubt the luring factor with Instagram. Users have 20 choices of filter to apply to their ordinary snap in order to make it look hipstah. Pop a sepia filter on your photo for an instant retro feel. Even if you are holding an iPad… using airplane wifi… at least it looks retro.

selfie

To be a fun burglar for juuust a minute, I have to address the crucial point about all of these platforms is that it exposes people like never before. The entire world can see what you ate for breakfast. Literally. Because for some Instagram users, that’s about the extent of their creativity. (I’m not completely innocent of this, I will admit). Whatever about the dangers this potentially causes us down the line with employers etc., the question I find hardest to tackle, is why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to take a perfectly positioned photo of our poached eggs and upload it with a black and white filter, captioned #breakfast #skinnybitches #eatclean? Or more commonly, tilt the head, pout the lips and take a picture of ourselves… #selfie #ducklips #dontcurr? Is it for the hope of gaining followers and becoming Insta-famous? Is it vanity and the hope of getting ‘likes’ and comments on our photo? Is it to portray a life on camera that we don’t actually lead?  Whatever the reason, selfies don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. I’m still very much on the fence on how to approach the phenomenon. I don’t care if no one likes my photo, and yet I sorta do. I don’t want to take a picture of myself, and yet I kinda do.

 
Is this a case of ‘can’t beat em, join em’?  Andy Warhol did say ‘In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’. Is it time?

7 Items of Clothing You Need to Bin. Now.

That luminous orange mesh tank top at the back of your drawer. Cut it up to avoid a marine disaster, and throw that hideous thing away.

 

The keffiyeh scarf. You had one. I had one. We all had one. Was yours white and black check? Mine too! This conversation ends here.

 

Striped arm…warmers? Once the staple clothing piece for a Pink or Paramore concert (they just GET me, you know?) these should now be removed from your arm and buried deep in your wardrobe until Halloween invites them out to play.

 

Your mood ring. Seriously?

 

The studded belt you wore every day, despite losing almost a stud a week. Let it go. Let it gooooo.

 

Your rainbow eyebrow piercing bar. Technically not a clothing item, but the importance of it’s removal is just that vital, we had to include it.

 

Rosary beads. What exactly is the goal here?