I read, with real interest, the blog of regularjen
I met Jen at Podcastcon - she's a lovely lady and the wife of Neil Dixon (Mr Britcaster.com), a fantastic resource and forum for podcasters and listeners.
Jen's writing is always thought provoking and makes me smile broadly - this article tickled me - I've copied it wholesale from Jen's blog:
« I have the authority to borrow books
Are women just not fun?
Wait, before you answer that, let me explain a little.
Unless you have been in a coma, you know that Christmas is coming. Although some of you may wish to be temporarily put into a coma until the New Year arrives, it’s coming and there’s nothing medically ethical you can do about it.
We’ve been asked to assemble our “Christmas list” for gift ideas. Now, on one hand I think these lists are great. You can be fairly sure that as long as the list recipient doesn’t get too creative that you are guaranteed to score a prezzie you like. On the other hand I always feel like a schmuck writing down things I want. Is it too expensive, too difficult to find, too cheap, too many choices, too few… One must strike a tactful and appropriate balance with these things.
Balance. Now I’m getting to the heart of my post. I was online (still am I’m guessing) perusing the Marks & Spencer site for ideas. They have some fabulous things in the gifts section. I found tools, toys, games, science stuff… My favourite had to be the radio controlled sumo wrestlers, but my damned practical side kicked in and prevented me from listing them. So after I’d been through the numerous pages (more than a dozen) of cool presents, I noticed I was in the dude’s section. I thought I should check out the section for ladies.
Two pages. Four sweaters/jumpers, four uncomfortably frilly bras, three floral bouquets, two scarves, a few jewellery related items, four ugly handbags, four perfume choices and an orchid. (Yes, an orchid.)
In my desperation and shock, I retraced my mouse clicks. Ah- the Christmas Gifts section- that’s where I was for men and that’s what I’d mistakenly skipped for women. I tried again.
Again, two pages. This time, of categories of gifts for women. That seemed positive, but alas: handbags, scarves, jewellery, picture frames, lingerie, stationery, vases & bowls, and perfume. No USB powered air darts; no electric guitars. Certainly no radio controlled sumo wrestlers. Evidently, women don’t even read since the foldable book light was only available in the men’s section. What’s up with that!?
Honestly though, I’ll cringe if I ever get an etched glass photo frame for a gift. Pear shaped candles? Uh, no thanks. Leather luggage tags and you’re off my Christmas card list for next year. I’m not ungrateful, don’t get me wrong, but I do think that women get the stereotype treatment when it comes to gifts. I don’t want a crystal bowl any more than I want new oven mitts or a dust-buster for a present. All I wish is for people to think about the personality they’re buying for– women, men or kids. Giving ‘default’ gifts never shows how much you care, it only highlights how little you pay attention. Women are fun and it will be nice when the retailers can see it too.
Oh, and just to add insult to injury– the first six books in the Books for Her section? All cookbooks. I could scream. But at least they acknowledge women as literate. (We’re just not allowed to read after dark…)
You might wonder what’s on my list so far: the book light and a stubby ratchet screwdriver set. There’s honestly not much I need or want, but that’s just M&S. Amazon will take a bit longer to peruse.