Life

This sexist trampoline advert perpetuates a tired old myth about female strength

Trust us: this is hilariously awful.

“We are women – and we are always stronger than we think.”

So said Stylist’s Lisa Smosarski at the opening of the first ever Stylist Strong gym, and she’s 100% correct: indeed, new research from Denmark has shown that women really are the stronger sex.

So imagine our displeasure when we came across the advert for Newan’s 40-inch mini bouncer, which insisted that any woman who wants to set the trampoline up in her home should absolutely not do so alone.

“This fitness rebounder has a relatively simple installation process, but the elastic rope part can be tricky,” the ad, which could be seen on Amazon, read. “Not advised for child or woman to install alone, additional assistance from men is preferred.”

Right.

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The people behind Newan’s tone-deaf ad were later offered a chance to redeem themselves when a disgruntled customer took to the Q&A board on Amazon to ask them: “Why do you recommend that ‘It is not advisable for a woman to be installed alone, additional assistance from men is preferred’?”

Rather than leap upon this opportunity, though, the folks at Newan decided to stick to their guns.

“This trampoline can be a bit tricky when installing elastic cord parts, it needs some strength,” they wrote back.

“Although we have a matching tool, it is best to wear gloves when installing the elastic rope, so we recommend men first. If the lady can also install it, it will be even more perfect!”

Yes, they really did suggest that men are the only ones who can ever hope to bring “some strength” to proceedings. Yes, they really did imply that the additional tool of ‘gloves’ might be enough to put the woman in this scenario off. And yes, they really did refer to her as “the lady”.

Naturally, the post soon caught the attention of the internet. And Katherine Powderly, clearly unable to believe her eyes, took a screenshot of the product description and put it on Twitter, saying: “Hey @amazon nice listing #everydaysexism.”

An Amazon spokesman has since responded, saying: “That listing was by a third party seller and has the wording has been removed.”

However, it has certainly encouraged us to think about the skewered lens through which we view strength – particularly in terms of gender. This idea that men are always stronger than women is a tired old trope – and one which is, as more and more women take up strength-training – increasingly irrelevant in modern society.

As Poorna Bell noted in her Stylist article on mansplaining at the gym: “The archetype that, by default, women must be physically weak is underpinned by sexist rhetoric used in gyms – for instance, calling the lighter 15kg barbell a ‘ladies’ barbell. Or the push-up when your knees are on the ground are ‘women’s push-ups’ and the rest are ‘normal’ push-ups – and supported by language used by gym instructors.”

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Bell went on to note that she once attended a mixed boxing class, where she was the only woman. The instructor genuinely thought it was OK to, during the circuits, utter the words: “Come on guys, the girl is outdoing some of you.”

“It is utterly galling when the perceived limitations of a woman’s strength is used as a counterpoint to shame men into working out harder,” added Bell.

“Men’s bodies might be genetically pre-disposed for strength, but it doesn’t render the strength women have as irrelevant or invisible. I mean, one gender has a body capable of housing and pushing out a human for Christ’s sake!”

Well, quite.

To the people at Newan, we have this to say: women have the potential to be every bit as strong as men – both physically and mentally. And to suggest otherwise isn’t just incorrect, it perpetuates a tired and toxic myth. One which we are, naturally, not here for.

Or, to put it more bluntly… if we want a trampoline, we’ll set it up our own bloody selves, thank you very much. 

You can find out more about Stylist Strong by clicking here.

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