People of Twitter are uniting to call out quietly toxic product messaging – and the results are both depressing and fascinating…
It started with an image of greeting cards that TV writer Natasha Hodgson shared a few days ago on Twitter.
The pink one read: “You’re the kind of girl I’d buy flowers for”.
The blue one read: “You’re the kind of boy I’d make a sandwich for”.
… And the world collectively rolled its eyes.
Needless to say, Hodgson’s message quickly gained currency on the platform. As it was shared thousands of times around the world, people responded with a mixture of anger, hilarity and baffled disbelief.
“If I ever become the type of man who demands sandwiches as tribute from my SOs [Significant Others], then they have express prior permission to add deadly nightshade to the filling,” remarked one person.
“Would like these so much more if genders were swapped. You ARE the kind of girl I’d make a sandwich for,” said another.
People noticed the cards not just for being ridiculously sexist and hetero-normative – but also for the type of prejudice they reproduce.
There’s no information on where the cards come from, and it almost doesn’t matter (although hopefully the manufacturers will think twice now).
Instead, the image hits a nerve precisely because it’s the kind of low-level, insidious gender stereotyping that is in evidence everywhere on a casual level.
Soon enough, the good people of Twitter were sharing other images of everyday products that are laced with sexist tropes and inappropriate “banter”:
The effect is both horrifying, and compelling. Like some kind of bad slasher flick, we just can’t stop looking.
And actually, it’s important that we do.
As Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, points out, these so-called “minor” instances of prejudice are just as important to tackle as the big issues around gender equality (including the gender pay gap, woeful rape conviction rates and more).
“These are the things that normalise and ingrain the treatment of women as second-class citizens, opening the door for everything else, from workplace discrimination to sexual violence,” says Bates.
When a series of unique voices unite – as seen in this Twitter thread – progress is made. And so, the battle continues…
Images: Twitter, Getty