Monday, January 31, 2011

Gender Division in Big W catalogues

Gender/sex divisions are really rampant in society. I mean, while sex divisions may occur for biologically reasons, gender reasons have no cause, I think. 
Below is a page from a Big W catalogue:

There is an immediate division. The girl is outfitted in pink (oh, yes, the only colour that little girls can wear, apparently. All things girls are all things pink!), and the two sets of pink (and kinda purple, but still in the same colour-area) on the same 'row' obviously are targeted - or rather - made for girls. Whilst the little boy gets the dark-blue colours (in the same way that all things girls are pink, people seem to think that all boys only like blue), and again, two sets of clothing on the same row directly correspond to a boy wearing it.
Other than the clothes, something else strikes me. Their poses. The girl has her knees bent in - a sign of cuteness, shyness, and her body is bent away from the camera. The boy, on the other hand has a firm pose, staring more-confidently forward. Again, what does this say about what girls and boys need to conform to. Girl = pink = 'weaker', boy = blue = 'stronger'.

Next up, from the same catalogue;

The boys are wearing darker colours - blue again, and it's close cousin green. The two girls are wearing pink (darker, but still pink-y) and innocent, innocent white.
By boy's faces are facing directly forward. Both of the girls' faces are facing the camera on an angle. Between the two youngest, the contrast in their pose is strong. The boy stands legs appear, arms by his side and looking forward. His head is also tilt up, a sign of confidence, pride, maybe superiority. The girl on the other hand has one hand tucked away, other hand shyly in the hair. Her face is facing partly away and looking down - She looks at the camera through her lashes. In short, compared to the other boy, her pose is somewhat playful, but meek, and, with her head titled slightly downwards, subservient. Any remnant of her stronger -legs apart-ness are ruined by the 'conveniently' placed words/price (in more ways than one)

You can't entirely blame Big W for doing this. Mainstream society does seem to see in this divisionalistic way. But you can blame them for continuing to promote it, especially on things that don't need a gender/sex division.

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