Saturday, November 29, 2008


Ed and I were at Wal-Mart recently looking at tools. I forget what he wanted to buy - a wrench, maybe. And I pointed out that they had a whole little toolkit for women - a bright pink toolbox filled with pink-handled tools. We both laughed at the ridiculous application of girly aesthetics.

"But, you know," I said, "we make fun of this, but what is the rest of this aisle?"

Everything was black. The men's toolkits were black with fake chrome. Some things were dark green and black. Everywhere, things had obviously been aesthetically augmented to be manly.

Many aisles of the store are the same way. Razors. Women's are pink, with names like Venus, and soft wavy lines. Men's are "Mach 3" and "Turbo" and everything else that suggests lean, hard-edged machines full of power.

The pink disposable razors are not different from the navy blue ones. I see the navy ones as neutral and the pink ones as girl-coded, but that's because that's how gender is arranged in our culture: male is the default, girl is "special." Plenty of women would buy and use blue or black or silver razors without thinking twice, but few men would want the pink ones, or the wavy-handled Venus ones.

Girl things are for girls only.

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