Pharyngula

The powerlessness of pink

Here’s another odd pink phenomenon. This is a page from a Toys ‘R Us catalog, illustrating some science toys, and note the odd distinctions being made. Both the telescope and the microscope come in special pink versions, just for the girl who is apparently more interested in getting an instrument that matches her nail polish than being functional, and note also (you may have to click through to see the larger image) that in every case the pink model is less powerful than the black and gray model.

i-1d9fd7d072fadbf4f1642ef3acd34c35-toysrus.jpeg

There is a message being sent here. Being feminine, being girly, means you belong in a separate category in the science world, and it’s a category that needs less utility and more concern about appearances. I don’t get it, and I don’t understand how these kinds of distinctions persist. If my daughter wanted a telescope for a present, and I passed over the better version to get her the prettier one, I think she’d club me over the head with it and send me back to the store.

And then we’d have to send a rude letter to the manufacturer for shooing girls off into a pink ghetto.

Comments

  1. #1 Martin
    December 29, 2009

    Both Facebooked and tweeted. Never too soon to start spreading the shame.

  2. #2 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    It is the same mindset that makes pink versions of sports jersey for da ladiez. See, you can be all girly girl and still like sports.

  3. #3 Whore of All the Earth
    December 29, 2009

    Speaking of pink, the Mormons are encouraging their Young Women to be soft and pink, in exchange for junk jewelry.

  4. #4 The Science Pundit
    December 29, 2009

    in every case the pink model is less powerful than the black and gray model

    Of course, because we all know that pink cellphones are less powerful than black and gray models, and pink mp3 players are less powerful than … oh wait!

  5. #5 vanharris
    December 29, 2009

    I dunno, PZ. One of my daughters has just bought a laptop, & spent an extra ú18 on getting the colour she wanted – pink.

  6. #6 Jud
    December 29, 2009

    There’s a big part of me that says yeah, I’d like to see the people who came up with this forced to use pink, less powerful computers to do their future marketing work.

    And there’s a small part that knows parents who would actually be more likely to get their daughters science-related stuff if it didn’t look too geeky. (After all, at least one of the two or three richest people on Earth, Bill Gates, is an uber-geek, so that’s gotta be a bad thing, right? Oh, wait a minute….) So the pink, maybe OK. But less powerful – that’s just not right.

  7. #7 Steve LaBonne
    December 29, 2009

    That catalog page makes me want to hurt somebody. WTF???

  8. #8 vanharris
    December 29, 2009

    Janine, one of the ladies in my cycling club has a pink racing bike. It looks good, too.

  9. #9 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Whore Of All The Earth, Lynna brought that up in the Mormon Prophecy thread. Remember Mia Maids, you want to be worth more than rubies.

  10. #10 GeralCorasjo
    December 29, 2009

    The page isn’t loading for me. Anyone else having problems or have an alternate link?

  11. #11 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    I would ask why it had to be less powerful. Otherwise I don’t have a problem with pink. Actually

    I would say that the black/silver looks more grown-up. Something children seem to aspire to probably more than colours.

  12. #12 Steve LaBonne
    December 29, 2009

    It’s not the pinkness that’s the problem, it’s the inferiority of the pink microscopes.

  13. #13 MAJeff, OM
    December 29, 2009

    And, in the pink aisles of various toy stores, this less powerful equipment will be overwhelmed by “realistic” baby dolls, wholly unrealistic fashion dolls, and domestic appliance toys.

  14. #14 Bunkie
    December 29, 2009

    There’s nothing wrong with them being pink. My little girl likes things that are pink. It’s not something that I encouraged or fostered, it just is. The problem is not that those instruments are pink, it’s that they are second class.

  15. #15 PZ Myers
    December 29, 2009

    Pink is fine if you, as an individual, like the color.

    Pink is not fine if you are told that you, as a woman, must like it, and must be willing to settle for less in order to use your pretty pink toys.

  16. #16 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    We die-hard Red Sox fans have the same quibble with the hated pink hats.

    They’re a dog-damned blight on the Fenway landscape, and no respectable Sox fan of the female persuasion would be caught dead in one…

  17. #17 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009
  18. #18 raven
    December 29, 2009

    The pink is no big deal.

    The fact that in the 21st century they have to combine that with inferiority is appalling.

    Someone didn’t get the memo. The Dark Ages and the mid-20th century are over and no one missed them.

  19. #19 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009
  20. #20 MAJeff, OM
    December 29, 2009

    I have students in my Intro Soc class write a paper on gender socialization through a comparison of the toy aisles at places like Target and WalMart. This will be part of our discussion about that paper.

  21. #21 jojame
    December 29, 2009

    I’d imagine that the cheapest telescope and microscope are also the most popular and are available in multiple color schemes. The more expensive ones probably only come in the black color. If it were pink then boys wouldn’t want it but girls are okay with black.

    The ad space is limited and they would rather showcase for variety and attract more customers. Another black telescope would be redundant. I think toys r us are in the business of making money rather than trying to further stereotypes. I doubt there is maliciousness at work here.

  22. #22 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Here comes jojame to tell us that we just do not understand. Schmuck.

  23. #23 MAJeff, OM
    December 29, 2009

    ——–point——->

    —jojame’s head——

  24. #24 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    And in other news: Regardless of the color, boys are overheard asserting that their telescope is longer, stronger and more powerful that that of the other boys or the girls…

    Plus ca change…

  25. #25 Josh
    December 29, 2009

    This will be part of our discussion about that paper.

    I’d love to be able to sit in on that discussion.

  26. #26 Abdul Alhazred
    December 29, 2009

    More stuff for girls:

    http://www.tomboytools.com/pinktools.asp

    I have actually seen some of these at my local hardware store.

  27. #27 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    Jojame says “I doubt there is maliciousness at work here.”

    “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.”–Napoleon Bonaparte

  28. #28 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    Actually, jojame is correct. A quick look at the current T”R”U website for
    microscopes
    and telescopes
    shows that scopes identical to the pink ones are also available in grey and black. There is an even less powerful microscope available, but only in grey/black.

    There is no difference in the magnifying power being offered to girls-who-like-pink-stuff and everybody else. Stand down.

    Blame the graphic artist who chose the images for the advertising circular (not catalog!) for choosing to show the pink model when available. Even though that’s probably a good idea from a marketing perspective.

  29. #29 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    I think toys r us are in the business of making money rather than trying to further stereotypes. I doubt there is maliciousness at work here.

    So… furthering stereotypes is OK, as long as it is in the interest of turning a profit?

    And what does malicious intent have to do with it?

  30. #30 Angel Kaida
    December 29, 2009

    I think we accidentally pharyngulated the page with the larger picture. Oops.

  31. #31 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    Sven –

    but the point was what was being advertised… not necessarily what is actually available.

    And I can tell you that the layout and specific items in the ad are no accident by the graphic artist… these things are signed off by the marketing and PR management teams for these companies, who are very deliberate in the images and methods in which the items are displayed in the sale ads…

  32. #32 Ray Moscow
    December 29, 2009

    A recent Guardian article discussed this as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/dec/12/pinkstinks-the-power-of-pink

  33. #33 Blake Stacey
    December 29, 2009

    What Celtic_Evolution said (#31). If the highest-power model is available in all colours, why don’t the advertisements reflect that?

  34. #34 Christopher
    December 29, 2009

    The Toys R Us catalog page online has three different dual-slide 600x microscopes from Edu Science.

    Here’s the page for the black and gray ones:

    http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3140258

    Here’s the page for the pink version:

    http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3458569

    Plus the 900x and 1200x versions only come in either black or gray. There is a gray starter microscope for $20 as well.

    For the telescopes, the lowest end from Edu Science is available in pink or black. There is a blue telescope sold by the same company which is much better. The rest between the pink and blue, and one better one than the blue, come in either gray or black.

    So it is a disparity with color choice. It is true that other colors are available at the same price as the pink, but there is only one pink-colored item available for the microscope and for the telescope, and it’s nowhere near the best product of the bunch.

  35. #35 vanharris
    December 29, 2009

    Janine,

    you can be all girly girl and still like sports

    That is very true. One of the track cycling World Champions & her room-mate admitted to being girly girls.

    I admire them (& all the other attractive female athletes) for their strength of character in having pursued something very challenging, when it would’ve been easy to … conform.

  36. #36 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    The 600x Microscope is also available in black. They also have a 450x microscope available in black.

    There is nothing going on here.

  37. #37 Samwise
    December 29, 2009

    When I lived in a house with 2 other bachelors, one of them had a “Do It Herself” tool kit he’d received as a gift (the claim was that the giver didn’t notice.) which he used proudly. At first, it was a joke, but for odd jobs around the house, we found it damn handy.

    It was a very cool thing that a useful set of tools was available in powder blue; it’s a little depressing that the makers thought that name was the way to sell it.

  38. #38 jojame
    December 29, 2009

    @Blake #33
    The pink model shown is the only available microscope and telescope that is pink.

  39. #39 leepicton
    December 29, 2009

    Not only is pink regarded as a “girly” color, real studies have shown that pink has a calming effect on men, at least temporarily. The drunk tank in some jails have been painted pink and the inhabitants calm down in the short term, after which they become more agitated. It is not known why. Several football teams painted the locker rooms of the opponents pink in the hope of calming them down and making them more passive. At the University of Hawaii (I think, I am too lazy to loook it up), they were forced to have color equality in the locker rooms.
    I have never liked the color pink, but I don’t know if that is because I really don’t like it, or that somehow I recognized at an early age that it was associated with girly (i.e, inferior) status, thus taking pains to avoid it at all costs.

  40. #40 https://me.yahoo.com/a_ray_in_dilbert_space#6e51c
    December 29, 2009

    Sorry, don’t buy it. They are still making a statement if the lower-power item is illustrated in pink.
    It doesn’t take a lot to dissuade a girl (or a boy, for that matter) from sticking with science.

  41. #41 TomAnderson
    December 29, 2009

    PZ, I gotta disagree. The gray and black version of the same microscope is the same power. The one that you’re looking at that’s 1200X is far more expensive.

    I totally get how on the surface, it looks bad, but part of skepticism is digging under the surface to get the true story. A quick search on the toys r us site, and the whole problem is overturned.

  42. #42 Butch Pansy
    December 29, 2009

    The hetero hegemony requires the consent of the participants: just say no to pink! I have an aversion to rainbows and lavender, myself. Stainless steel gray and leather black are more…comfortable…. Uh-oh: I guess I bought that one, too. Dambit!

  43. #43 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    The highest-power model is not available in all colors. All models are available in grey/black-grownup-and-professional-looking, and one model–one–a mid-level microscope and the bottom-of-the-line telescope–is also offered in pink.

    In this Sunday-nespaper-type advertising circular they chose to illustrate 3 microscopes out of the 10-12 available. It is not an exhaustive catalog. The advertisers wished to get people to come to the store (this is not an order-online or by-phone catalog, it is an advertisement). They therefore chose to send the message: several models available of different power/price; one hooks up to the computer; one comes in pink.

    Do not move the goalposts. It was not, when PZ posted this, about what was being advertised, it was about what was perceived to be being offered.

  44. #44 Ray Moscow
    December 29, 2009

    I suppose the “pinkening” a marketing method to sell crap merchandise by colouring it pink, figuring some parents will buy it for their daughters on that basis alone.

    If so, it’s a rather slimy technique to take advantage of some parents’ boneheadedness. Like much of the retail business, it depends on customer stupidity.

  45. #45 jojame
    December 29, 2009

    @Christopher #34
    Pink telescopes will not sell since boys won’t touch them. Black and blue are neutral colors that both boys and girls like. So unless the telescope model is selling well (like the cheap ones) then it isn’t worth it to make a pink version.

  46. #46 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    But, but, I thought we lived in a post-sexist society where there was no more need for feminism and no need for an ERA and we need men’s rights groups and Promise Keepers to protest against how wimmen are taking over society! Oh, right, that’s bullshit.

  47. #47 Islander
    December 29, 2009

    My wife got an all-pink tool set for Christmas, presumably so I wouldn’t use them. I now have an excuse to go use them- just testing for inferiority, you see. Thank you all.

  48. #48 Lynna, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Thanks, Janine, for bringing the mormon pinkness back onstage.
    Here’s the start of the pink discussion on the Mormon Prophecy Thread.

    The booklets are pink. “We are excited about the color of pink, because we think these young women are pink. They resonate to the softness and the femininity of that color. We want them to understand that they are soft, they are unique, they are feminine and that they don’t have to be like the boys.”

    Janine added the bit about girls being above the price of a Ruby (this addition to the thread being successful despite her eyes rolling so far back in her head that she could see the inside of her skull). And ‘Tis Himself topped it off:

    The ruby comes from Proverbs 31:10 (KJV): “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
    Incidentally, I got smacked by a nun in 3rd Grade for asking, “What was Ruby’s price?” I knew I’d get smacked but I just couldn’t resist. ['Tis Himself @ comment 879 on the Mormon Prophecy thread]

  49. #49 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl2qTiTnACSo2J28faXiEQZA22htFvePg0
    December 29, 2009

    I think the Napoleon quote is correct. This is a misguided attempt to tempt girls into science. If we make the telescopes pretty, doesn’t that make them want to do it more?

    It’s stupid, but you can sort of see the logic behind it. Who cares whether the scopes are more powerful or less powerful. Irrelevant next to the gargantuan foolishness of the premise.

    You want more girls in science/math? You have to start with their parents. Those first few years, long before they get their first telescopes, will teach them to love science or not. And whether they want to follow societally set sex roles or not.

    By the time they can enjoy looking at the stars, it’s a little too late.

  50. #50 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Sorry, don’t buy it. They are still making a statement if the lower-power item is illustrated in pink.

    It’s the only one available in pink and it isn’t the lowest powered microscope they offer.

    It doesn’t take a lot to dissuade a girl (or a boy, for that matter) from sticking with science.

    I would think that offering science tools that appeal to girls might encourage an interest in science.

  51. #51 Samantha
    December 29, 2009

    Abdul Alhazred posted at #26:

    More stuff for girls:

    http://www.tomboytools.com/pinktools.asp

    I have actually seen some of these at my local hardware store.

    Where is the pink bench saw, mitre saw, table saw, circular saw? The only “power tool” they have is a power drill. Maybe an argument can be made that they’ve only made the “every day” tools in pink, but it sends the same message that the pink telescope/microscope does. “You have colours that only you like and because only you like them, you’re expected to assimilate if you want something that’s actually useful.”

    Boys don’t like pink, but rather than just making everything a neutral colour (i.e. black), they make only less powerful instruments pink? So they’re trying to appeal to women, but only through the colour, not through the specs? I recognize the economics behind it, but it seems ridiculous that girls are expected to assimilate “masculine” colours but boys should never be asked to use something that is (heaven forbid) a “girly” colour and yet manufacturers still want to appeal to females so they put that “girly” colour on the cheaper and less powerful models. It does speak quite loudly to our society’s values.

    Personally I hate pink and would prefer a neutral coloured tool 100% of the time but the associations are still there and still aggravating.

  52. #52 Nakarti
    December 29, 2009

    I know! The girls(or boys) who want a pink (micro|tele)scope have so much better eyes that they don’t _need_ the extra strength of the blind boys’ models!

  53. #53 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    You want more girls in science/math? You have to start with their parents.

    Have you been to Toys “R” Us?

    By the way, I think I read somewhere that female monkeys like pink. Vervets, was it?
    *wanders away whistling nonchalantly*

  54. #54 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    I totally get how on the surface, it looks bad, but part of skepticism is digging under the surface to get the true story. A quick search on the toys r us site, and the whole problem is overturned.

    Do you think every Toys R Us store will have all 10-12 models on the shelf? Or is it just the parents who have access to the internet and think to look online through all the options and order it that way who get to have the best pick? Sorry, poorer girls with less internet-savvy parents, you get stuck with a shitty microscope because you wanted one in pink and it was in the fine print that you could only have had a better one if you had searched for it online instead of going into the store. And the surface level is what advertising is all about. Like, for instance, how it’s a boy who is shown looking through the good telescope, ’cause girls certainly won’t be interested in that one, since it’s not pink and all.

  55. #55 cheeseburgerbrown
    December 29, 2009

    As the parent of a daughter who is keen on science, I am unfortunately all too familiar with this kind of dichotomy.

    Hell, I even had a little girl tell me with great certainty that, “Math is for boys.”

    A lot of people are surprised that such sexist barriers continue to exist today — and before I had a daughter, I might have glibly agreed with them. And been wrong.

    Yours,
    CBB

  56. #56 DocSoftly
    December 29, 2009

    Now here is some Power-Filled Pink

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAWi8XYZACE

  57. #57 Zeno
    December 29, 2009

    MAJeff: I have students in my Intro Soc class write a paper on gender socialization through a comparison of the toy aisles at places like Target and WalMart.

    I was in Target last week for Christmas shopping and I was struck by the screaming pink color scheme in the “girl” aisles. The demarcation between toys targeted at girls versus boys was stark.

  58. #58 Lynna, OM
    December 29, 2009

    I love pink, and I’m a bit of a girly girl (lipstick in my daypack, fer dog’s sake), but the pressure to expect less of females, less of myself, and to opt for a pink microscope is just too much. In my chemistry class in high school, the boys would always be assigned to the lab stations with working bunsen burners.

    Fuck it. There’s pressure to make me like being soft, and that includes being soft in the head. (Maybe less pressure than when I was in high school, but it’s still there.) Mormons, fundies, and other ultra-conservatives would love to re-inflate the pinkness lie. Please stop, you’re hurting the color pink.

  59. #59 wodenforce
    December 29, 2009

    Hi,

    I am a guy and I love pink stuff. It is unfortunate that the scopes are less powerful than the others.

    However, I think the real science gals will get what they want regardless the colour. The less sciency types might be a little more inclined to get the pink ones, and perhaps the less power are meant as introductory tools. Once they get hooked on science, then it won’t matter the colour for the next scope.

  60. #60 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    Maybe Sven, tsg and others have a point, perhaps this is being overblown in this case… but I spent several years as a graphic designer working for an ad firm (before I went into networking and security) and I can tell you firsthand that deliberate decisions are made with advertisements to target girls with lesser quality items (in my case, bicycles and other sporting goods… baseball gloves, helmets, skateboards, etc…) based solely on perceived feminine colors (mostly pink and purple) and designs.

    So I know this does go on… and actually it was a couple of female marketing execs making those decisions…

    I won’t try to make a further argument about this case, however, because I do see the points some are making…

  61. #61 Daft Greg
    December 29, 2009

    Interestingly, if you go to the Toys-R-Us site, you can filter their products by gender. If you click on “Boys”, it filters out the pink telescope and microscope, but if you click “Girls”, it doesn’t filter out any of the black telescopes or microscopes, even for the ones that come in pink. So my question is, why can’t boys have pink toys?

  62. #62 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Do you think every Toys R Us store will have all 10-12 models on the shelf?

    They probably stock the ones that sell the best.

    Or is it just the parents who have access to the internet and think to look online through all the options and order it that way who get to have the best pick?

    Two higher end models are in the same ad right next to the pink one.

    Sorry, poorer girls with less internet-savvy parents, you get stuck with a shitty microscope because you wanted one in pink and it was in the fine print that you could only have had a better one if you had searched for it online instead of going into the store.

    People who are choosing a microscope based on what color it is probably don’t care very much for the quality or performance.

    And the surface level is what advertising is all about. Like, for instance, how it’s a boy who is shown looking through the good telescope, ’cause girls certainly won’t be interested in that one, since it’s not pink and all.

    Oh, for crying out loud, now every ad that doesn’t feature a girl using the product is sexist?

  63. #63 PZ Myers
    December 29, 2009

    The fact that there are other models is irrelevant. You could also say there is no problem here because you can always just buy the big neutral-colored powerful model for your daughter.

    But that’s not the point. The problem is the presentation of a de facto difference in treatment as a social norm. The story is always, “well, we do think you’re equal and you could get that toy, but you’re a girl and we think you’d like this prettier toy better.” It’s the gentle coercion of the pressure of conformity and approval.

    Also note that it’s a common thing to market a special version of what ought to be a gender-neutral toy to girls. Why not a special boys’ version, in dark blue with lightning bolts and skulls and an endorsement from Ozzy Osbourne on the box? Because the boys’ version always defaults to the grown-up version, while the girls’ version is the infantilized and decorative version, not vice versa.

  64. #64 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    So my question is, why can’t boys have pink toys?

    Pink has the girlz cooties and will make the boys join teh gayz.

  65. #65 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    Because the boys’ version always defaults to the grown-up version, while the girls’ version is the infantilized and decorative version, not vice versa.

    That’s a really excellent point…

  66. #66 Bad Albert
    December 29, 2009

    This seller is just responding to market trends. If a certain demographic of consumer wants pink microscopes, why not give them pink microscopes? Besides, there is no law that says girls must use a pink colored instrument. They can buy black ones if they so desire. If enough do that then the pink models will disappear, guaranteed. I once worked for a manufacturer that made wild-colored clear plastic telephones. They were a real hit with teenage girls. It was a trend at the time for many types of products. That’s what they wanted so that’s what we gave them. It would have been stupid to do otherwise since they would have simply bought from another manufacturer.

  67. #67 raven
    December 29, 2009

    Thanks, Janine, for bringing the mormon pinkness back onstage.
    Here’s the start of the pink discussion on the Mormon Prophecy Thread.

    The booklets are pink. “We are excited about the color of pink, because we think these young women are pink. They resonate to the softness and the femininity of that color. We want them to understand that they are soft, they are unique, they are feminine and that they don’t have to be like the boys.”

    Do the women and girls really buy that nonsense?

    Here on the coast, the Mormons seem a bit less crazy than the ones in Utah, probably because they grow up in a sea of pagans that are oblivious to their existence.

    I don’t often run across LDS. The only two Mormon women I can remember are an MD and a woman who owns her own successful corporate communications company.

    They might walk three steps behind their husband but they aren’t stupid and sitting at home in a corner in a pink haze.

  68. #68 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    About the concept of selling gendered items. We have all seen Hanes Her Way yet not Ogla His Way nor Maidenform For Him.

  69. #69 Quagmire
    December 29, 2009

    There is a bigger problem here than with the color of the instruments. Magnification is a profoundly unimportant feature of a telescope (and is indeed not a feature of the telescope itself, but rather of the eyepiece inserted into the telescope) – far more important is the diameter of the light-gathering source (either the primary lens in these refracting telescopes, or the primary mirror in a reflecting telescope). In either design, any observer will very quickly learn that one will almost never use these claimed high magnifications! The “525x” claimed for the largest telescope is absolutely preposterous – if you attempted to view, say, the moon with such great magnification, the field of view would be extremely small – a tiny fraction of the moon’s diameter – and the view would undoubtedly be blurry and abysmal with such a small (and almost certainly cheaply-made and poorly-mounted) instrument. The slightest bump or nudge would remove your targeted object from the field of view. High magnification is rarely used even by experienced observers with large telescopes! I have a reflecting telescope with 12.5″ diameter mirror, and I use only 50x or 100x magnification well over 99% of the time. On extremely rare occasions when the atmosphere is very steady and I am viewing a very limited set of objects (the planets, close double stars), I might use a 300x eyepiece but the views are rarely satisfying.

    In short, it is deceptive advertising to emphasize “power” in a telescope- it’s a bit like advertising an automobile by saying that it will go 130 miles per hour- you will almost never be doing such a thing and it should play no role in your decision about what to buy. Generally speaking, you should avoid buying any telescope which is advertised by mentioning its “power” – this is a warning sign of junk that is likely to disapoint as a gift.

  70. #70 Christopher
    December 29, 2009

    @jojame, 45:

    “Pink telescopes will not sell since boys won’t touch them. Black and blue are neutral colors that both boys and girls like. So unless the telescope model is selling well (like the cheap ones) then it isn’t worth it to make a pink version.”

    That’s the rationale that PZ implies in his post; that there’s a perception that girls just don’t want science items as much as the boys.

    But why such a low level item? It’s plastic parts fitted onto the same metal, glass and plastic shell. If they can offer a black or a gray version, they can offer a pink version.

    And why is the pink version of the telescope so much lower-powered than the blue version? If they can make it blue, they can make one that’s pink.

    If they’re going to market pink as a girl-friendly product, they should market it properly, not just something low-end with one available option.

  71. #71 amphiox
    December 29, 2009

    Could the pink models be an experiment by a timid manufacturer? They have the black/grey models throughout their line-up, but then someone gets the idea of making a new pink line, but someone gets cold feet or is afraid the pink ones won’t sell, and to reduce the potential risk, they decide to release pink versions of only one model (choosing the middle model for this is reasonable, it probably is the version that sells the most), see how it sells this Christmas season, and then decide if they want to commit to manufacturing pink models for the other strengths/powers?

  72. #72 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    They might walk three steps behind their husband but they aren’t stupid and sitting at home in a corner in a pink haze.

    Thus demonstrating, once again, the very low standards of “ridiculous” that must be applied when discussing and comparing members of the LDS.

  73. #73 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    So my question is, why can’t boys have pink toys?

    Because misogyny hurts men too, by declaring anything that is “girly” to be inferior enough that decent men shouldn’t go anywhere near it.

    I might like pink, if I thought I could. But I can’t. It’s associated with too much of the bad side of girlyness. It’s a frothy anti-pepto-bismol of puke-inducing enforced lowered expectations. It’s these exact manufacturers forcing me to acknowledge that pink is only for inferior products, so I’d better not like pink if I want quality. It’s smarmy salesmen assuming that the pretty pink color will blind me to the fact that they’re peddling shit. It’s tool manufacturers assuming that making a tool pink is all they need to do to think of women’s needs in tools, rather than thinking of ergonomics and that maybe something like a smaller handgrip would appeal to a lot of women instead. It’s even women’s clothing manufacturers, who make nice, tailored, professional clothing in dark colors, but save the pink color for frou-frou party clothes, because god knows a professional woman can’t be seen in pink and taken seriously. It’s a dual-edged pink-hilted sword: you can’t be taken seriously if you like pink, and if you like pink all we’ll give you is crap, which ensures that people who like pink can’t be taken seriously, since obviously they could only have chosen the pink because of the color since we only make crap in pink.

    Pink is a fucking minefield for women professionals in traditionally men’s fields (you know, most of them). Srsly.

  74. #74 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Because the boys’ version always defaults to the grown-up version, while the girls’ version is the infantilized and decorative version, not vice versa.

    No, the more expensive version looks more like a tool and less like a toy because that’s what people want it to look like when they’re paying that much for it. It’s not offered in “in dark blue with lightning bolts and skulls and an endorsement from Ozzy Osbourne on the box” for the same reason.

  75. #75 nejishiki
    December 29, 2009

    @ raven #67

    Mormons outside the Zion Curtain (i.e. Utah, Idaho) tend to be less extreme, but this is more or less official doctrine we’re talking about. The message from the church will be the same, though the level of compliance among girls and parents will vary between St. George Utah and central California where my parents live.

  76. #76 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    Look.
    Whatever your opinion on what the social imperatives are or should be for Toys “R” Us to fight sexism and stereotyping and, uh, poverty (?) and stuff, the reality is that these guys are hard-core capitalists and don’t give a flying puck about anything but making money. They make money when they sell plastic shit, if they sell it for more than it costs them to make & supply it.
    Molding a bunch of plastic shit in a different color has a cost. They wouldn’t make the 600x model in pink if they couldn’t sell more microscopes that way. If they could also sell more microscopes by also or instead making the cheapass 450x or highend 1200x models in pink, they would do that too, or instead. It’s not about sitting around at Teh Patriarchy Club over single malt and cigars and pooh-poohing the notion of silly girls needing more than 600x, the precious darlings. It’s about market research, focus groups, costs, and selling shit.

    My undying faith in the greed of corporate retailers convinces me that that the fact that the 600x model (and not the 450x or the 1200x) is available in pink can only mean that more microscopes are being sold therefore than otherwise, and because of the perhaps unfortunate but nevertheless real taboo in contemporary US society against boys w/ pink anything, all of those extra microscopes sold will go to girls under the age of 15 or so. Therefore the availability of a pink microscope is overall a GOOD THING.

    As to the advertising circular, give me a break. The number of microscopes and telescopes together sold by Toys “R” Us has to be dwarfed by pretty much any other toy category you could name. The “science toys” section of that advertisement was pictures of 3 microscopes and 3 telescopes and their sales-volumes probably don’t even warrant that much. They tried to illustrate some of the variety available in limited space. That’s all.

    gah what a waste of time

  77. #77 Eamon Knight
    December 29, 2009

    Meh. Pink, black, grey: as anyone who has ever shopped for serious instruments knows, the real crime in these catalogs is using magnification factor as an advertising point. For telescopes at least, aperture is more important, and beyond that the quality of the optical elements (and I imagine similar comments apply to microscopes — is 600X really a useful mag in a $35 mic?). But that magic number suckers the well-intentioned layperson into buying junk optics for their kids.

  78. #78 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 29, 2009

    This seller is just responding to market trends. If a certain demographic of consumer wants pink microscopes, why not give them pink microscopes? Besides, there is no law that says girls must use a pink colored instrument.

    Because what the children want is in no way affected by what advertisements teach them to want, right?

  79. #79 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    There is quite the tempest in this particular teapot. I think PZ is doing an experiment as to what he can get his followers to be mad at.

  80. #80 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Sven, it’s cause and effect – how will they know if the more expensive one would sell in pink if they don’t offer it that way in the first place? And if the shitty one doesn’t sell in pink, how do they know if it’s because girls don’t want pink microscopes or they don’t want microscopes at all or they just don’t want crap? You’re missing the piece of the puzzle that it’s not like they magically know what will sell before they make it – people respond to marketing. If they didn’t, marketing wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry all unto itself.

    And again, have you ever BEEN in a ToysRUs? Everything in the girls’ section is pink. Everything. Everything decent in the science section is not.

  81. #81 Jim
    December 29, 2009

    I’m with Sven @ #43 – I think the only message they were trying to send was, “We have several different models of tele/microscopes, in a range of powers and colors, and some of them are pink, if you’re into that kind of thing.”

    And with tsg @ #62 – “People who are choosing a microscope based on what color it is probably don’t care very much for the quality or performance.” Agreed 100%.

    Personally, I think this might just be a knee-jerk overreaction.

  82. #82 Lynna, OM
    December 29, 2009

    raven @67

    Here on the coast, the Mormons seem a bit less crazy than the ones in Utah, probably because they grow up in a sea of pagans that are oblivious to their existence.

    True, dat. Ditto, also, what nejishiki said @75. Plus, I’ll add that if you cruise exmormon.org for missionary stories, you’ll find missionaries who were matched with companions from Utah or Idaho, and they refer to the companions as “Utah Nazis” or “morgbots” or “morridor mishies” — so, yes, there’s a range of crazy. But, the pink stuff for young women is official, approved by the General Authority, and distributed to lucky mormon females across the globe.

  83. #83 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Yeah, PaleGreenPants, the impression that females are inferior to males is such a minor detail, not worth talking about.

  84. #84 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    The very same microscope is also available in black.

    You don’t get to complain that there aren’t enough women in science and then blast the people who are trying to get girls interested in science.

  85. #85 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    @83

    Finally you get it!!! Sometimes women are so hard to get through to.

  86. #86 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    This thread desperately needs a Cuttlefisking. :)

    Personally, I think this might just be a knee-jerk overreaction.

    It’s a single data point in a much bigger issue. Again, if you haven’t either been a girl who’s interested in non-girly things, or have been close to such a girl, you probably simply don’t notice how absolutely overwhelming the pink crap to good “not for girls” message is. Heck, forget about Toys R Us, just go into Target’s toy section and really look around.

  87. #87 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 29, 2009

    Sven DiMilo

    the reality is that these guys are hard-core capitalists and don’t give a flying puck about anything but making money. They make money when they sell plastic shit, if they sell it for more than it costs them to make & supply it.

    This outlook strikes me as a bit naive, and based on the flimsy premise that people are essentially rational :-).
    Hard-core capitalists are human beings, after all, and, like all human beings, have their own stereotypes and blind spots, which they might not even notice, though these stereotypes might impair even their own interests. And of course, an individual who actually has some power over what is offered to customers can perpetuate a stereotype further.

  88. #88 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    You don’t get to complain that there aren’t enough women in science and then blast the people who are trying to get girls interested in science.

    You can’t get girls interested in science if the microscope you tell them they ought to have ends up being shit that doesn’t work well.

  89. #89 DawnG
    December 29, 2009

    I am female and I hate pink! Particularly the “screaming” pink used for many of the “girly” toys – to me it looks cheap and infantile. I also dislike the pink associated with breast cancer – to me it says “helpless victim”.

  90. #90 Bad Albert
    December 29, 2009

    Because what the children want is in no way affected by what advertisements teach them to want, right?

    Did you buy a pink microscope? No? Why not? Oh I see, it’s other people who are fooled by advertising, not you. One thing we seem to agree on in this blog is that people are capable of thinking for themselves. Given that, I’m not sure how you think ads “teach” people to want something. I’m sure that by the time Toys-R-Us gets something on their shelves it’s already an established trend. They didn’t create it.

  91. #91 Butch Pansy
    December 29, 2009

    You don’t have to be female, homosexual, or non-white to see the misogyny, homophobia, and racism of the dominant culture; it just makes it more personal. You also don’t have to be male, heterosexual, and white to be oblivious to the oppression inherent in the system (lets not even start with class inequalities!); it’s just more automatic (can you say knee-jerk?).

  92. #92 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Everything decent in the science section is not [pink].

    It’s also not baby blue, yellow or flourescent green. People don’t buy expensive, quality equipment that looks like a toy.

  93. #93 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    My daughter wants a pink sword so she can play ‘knights’ with her big brothers (True story). A proper lady can’t kill the Moors if her sword doesn’t go with her shoes.

  94. #94 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    You can’t get girls interested in science if the microscope you tell them they ought to have ends up being shit that doesn’t work well.

    The same quality microscope is also offered in black. So, unless you’re arguing that no inferior quality microscopes should be sold ever, I don’t see your point.

  95. #95 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    It’s a single data point in a much bigger issue.

    Just for clarity: I have only ever been addressing this particular “data point,” not arguing your bigger issues.

  96. #96 Butch Pansy
    December 29, 2009

    My belt has to match my shoes. When I carry tools, I prefer the kevlar bags because they match my black leather. Accents of Makita teal are okey-dokey, and You gotta love Milwuakee red!

  97. #97 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    There is quite the tempest in this particular teapot. I think PZ is doing an experiment as to what he can get his followers to be mad at.

    Heh… but just ask our fundie religious regulars… this is just one big echo chamber… we never disagree with each other. :-/

  98. #98 Stronger Now
    December 29, 2009

    Awww! My kids will get both a microscope and a telescope next year for Christmas. But if the pink one is less powerful then I’ll buy a can of pink spray paint and do the job myself if that’s what they want. Misogynistic bastards!

  99. #99 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    @97

    just ask our fundie religious regulars

    I’d rather not. They talk all funny.

  100. #100 Tuxedo Cartman
    December 29, 2009

    I never understood why companies offer more color options for their lower-level offerings. Car companies are a good example of that; if I’m shelling out an extra $15-20 grand for the Cobra version of a Mustang, or the STi version of an Imprezza, I should be able to get it in any color I want, not just the three or four offered. The same goes for computers, cell phones, and household appliances.

  101. #101 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 29, 2009

    Did you buy a pink microscope? No? Why not? Oh I see, it’s other people who are fooled by advertising, not you.

    Whut?
    Most people, including me, are at least somewhat influenced by advertising. I might not go off to mindlessly buy whatever I saw on TV, but I realize that I might not notice my own bias towards products I recognize from advertisements.
    Are you seriously claiming advertisement doesn’t affect people’s decisions?

    One thing we seem to agree on in this blog is that people are capable of thinking for themselves. Given that, I’m not sure how you think ads “teach” people to want something.

    I, for one, am not at all sure everyone can think for themselves, and I am 100% sure that not everyone utilizes this ability.
    Especially since we are currently talking about children, who are more credulous and absorb advertisement at a greater rate.
    Ads DO teach people to want things. That, in fact, is the raisin date of ads. What do you think ads exist for?

  102. #102 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Accents of Makita teal are okey-dokey, and You gotta love Milwuakee red!

    I’m kind of partial to DeWalt yellow, myself.

  103. #103 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    And again, have you ever BEEN in a ToysRUs? Everything in the girls’ section is pink. Everything.

    I have been in Toys R Us. I didn’t see a “boys” section or a “girls” section.

  104. #104 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    I have been in Toys R Us. I didn’t see a “boys” section or a “girls” section.

    Oh, cut it out.

  105. #105 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    @103

    I hear what you’re saying, but the website does have a boys’ toys and a girls’ toys section. Fascists.

  106. #106 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    dammit… wrong link in #104… it’s supposed to point here.

  107. #107 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    I agree with amphiox. This looks like a cheap gender experiment with an issue they didn’t think about when they made the page.

    Its still worth pointing out the mistake (or deliberate gender sabotage) though.

    When you buy for parents you are buying for the last generation of consumers and all their biases. Which they will lovingly foster on their children.

  108. #108 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    The pink zone is Barbies and shit. Why is it all so pink? So that little girls will know immediately where to run and start obsessing. Why are they obsessing? Advertising. Why is everything pink? Pink shit sells. If the pink shit didn’t sell they’d make it–and advertise it–in mauve, puce, or fake-oak laminate.

    Seriously, folks, there is much to be done to make the world a fair and equitable place for all regardless of sex, gender, or color preference, but the retail industry is going to be the very…last…place you’ll see such progress. And the reason is simple: they do not care whether or not they are propagating a hurtful societal stereotype as long as they are selling lots of plastic shit.

  109. #109 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    I’d really like to know:
    Anyone claiming that they don’t see differences in gender-based marketing of children’s toys, particularly differences that have a negative impact on girls – how much marketing of children’s toys to girls have you looked at prior to this?

    The fact that you don’t notice a phenomenon that is not aimed at you in the first place doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

  110. #110 Lynna, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Butch Pansy;

    Accents of Makita teal…

    I have a Makita drill in teal. The case is teal also. And it’s a fucking good drill.

    I like the tool bags from Duluth Trading Company … and none of them come in pink.

  111. #111 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    When you buy for parents you are buying for the last generation of consumers and all their biases. Which they will lovingly foster on their children.

    I’m always amazed at how little my likes and dislikes influence what my daughter likes and dislikes. She is 3 with 2 old brothers. My wife is not in anyway ‘girly’, but damned if she isn’t into dresses, purses, barbies, and shoes.

  112. #112 tariqata
    December 29, 2009

    You don’t get to complain that there aren’t enough women in science and then blast the people who are trying to get girls interested in science.

    Bullshit.

    The problem is that a pink microscope specially targeted at girls – and lets not kid ourselves, because that is exactly what Toys R Us is doing, else why not offer the microscopes in a rainbow of colours designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes? – are not trying to get girls interested in science, certainly not in a meaningful way. I’m really not sure how you can take that message out of marketing that sets girls who are interested in science apart from boys with similar interests and says that they need their own special girls’ tools because girls won’t – or can’t – use the boys’ tools. Some of which are better tools.

    Speaking as a young woman who’s always been interested in science, I know what I feel when I see a science toy/tool that’s been re-done in pink to “appeal to girls” – and you know, it’s damn well not “Hey, we’d really like you to come join our science club as a full, respected member.”

  113. #113 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    The pink zone is Barbies and shit. Why is it all so pink? So that little girls will know immediately where to run and start obsessing. Why are they obsessing? Advertising. Why is everything pink? Pink shit sells. If the pink shit didn’t sell they’d make it–and advertise it–in mauve, puce, or fake-oak laminate.

    Thanks Sven… but it IS in point of fact a girls section… I didn’t point this out to bemoan the evils of Toys-R-Us having a pink girls section, I linked to it in direct response to tsg asserting that he didn’t notice a “girls section” in Toys-R-Us…

  114. #114 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 29, 2009

    Pink: it’s my new obsession

  115. #115 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    By the way… if you really want to be humored by serious gender representation issues… check this out.

  116. #116 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    My wife is not in anyway ‘girly’, but damned if she isn’t into dresses, purses, barbies, and shoes.

    Ahh, but did you rush out and buy pink clothes and plastic babies for her before she could talk and tell you what she wanted maybe?

    I wasn’t talking about copying or genetics i’m afraid.

  117. #117 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 29, 2009

    RE: 115
    At an institution I used to work in there were bathroom-signs that were composed of a body (standard body-in-pants and body-in-dress) and a detached head (circle for male, circle with braids for female).
    On one of the floors, the heads got switched, and the head with the braids was turned over. The result was a bald lady (or man? who’s to say?) in a dress, and a guy with horns.
    Pity i was too lazy to photograph.

  118. #118 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    I do like this Pink.

  119. #119 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    December 29, 2009

    There is a message being sent here.

    No there isn’t, and besides, anyone taking queues from Toys’R’Us on raising children are probably a lost cause regarding responsible parenting anyhow.

  120. #120 Peter Vesuwalla
    December 29, 2009

    I’m certain my niece would prefer the pink one, and if having her own microscope keeps her interested in science, and teaches her the lab isn’t a boys-only club, I’m all for it.

    And considering she’s five, I doubt she’d come up with a cancer cure if only she had a slightly more powerful microscope. But I’m sure she’d be more interested in a pink one. The others look too much like all the other stuff around the house she’s not supposed to play with, such as daddy’s SLR camera and mommy’s laptop.

    I don’t read too much into it being less powerful. Any product release is a financial dice roll, so I assume the manufacturer wouldn’t produce as many to begin with before it’s established that any will sell. That’s going to mean higher production costs. I doubt there’s anything devious going on here.

  121. #121 blf
    December 29, 2009

    Quagmire@69′s point is critical. These telescopes (and, I assume, microscopes) are being sold on mostly the wrong basis: ?Power? (magnification) is an extremely poor way of making a decision about which one to buy. For telescopes, resolution is a much better point (as is light-gathering (size)).

    My own experience which such telescopes is instructive here. Well before Apollo 11, I asked my parents for a telescope for Squidmass, and helpfully marked two which I decided, after a bit of research, would be good choices: Both were reflectors (Newtonian IIRC), fairly large without breaking the budget, and as it happens, relatively low-?power? (as supplied). I remember figuring they’d be better for observing the moon and planets and things with visible features. (I do not recall if Sol was an identified target or not.) One telescope I suggested was from Sears Roebuck, and the other from Edmund Scientific.

    Unfortunately, my parents went to Sears, talked to the salesgoon, and were convinced to buy a smaller refracting but more ?powerful? (and expensive) telescope. On an shaky tripod with an altitude-azimuth mount. (The two I suggested had marginally better mounting, albeit I had neglected this point, probably due to not really understanding it at the time.) Dad told me they’d chosen it over the two I suggested due to the higher ?power?. It was, at least with the higher-magnification eyepieces, basically useless, exactly as Quagmire says. And the poor mount make a bugger to use with the low-magnification eyepieces, albeit with a bit of practice and tinkering I was able to work-around the worse effects (but still developed the vocabulary of a sailor).

    Had I not been that interested, I presume I would have ?dropped? it fairly soon. Since astronomy was among my first serious interests in science, that suggests I might have pursued a non–scientific/technical career path. Fortunately, despite being a bit annoyed, I was also highly motivated and eventually was able to find a fairly decent use for it. I was able to devise a jury-rigged solar projector. I spent a considerable amount of time watching Sol; probably more, in fact, then it was ever used at night (including several solar eclipses, at least one in the path of totality).

    I never explained to my parents they’d been mislead into buying an inferior instrument for more money. Admittedly, trying to make the thing usable (working around its many problems) was an education, but still… (And it occurs to me now it was a bit weird for dad to have been mislead: He used high-quality very-low-?power? microscopes at work (for quality assurance purposes); I’ve still got one and use of these hassle-free instruments. Of course a microscope isn’t a telescope…)

    The telescope was white, which black trimmings. (The microscope is all-grey.)

    (Actually, that’s another point: At least for telescopes, black is an awful colour choice: It can heat up more during the day and hence takes longer to cool off (reach thermal equilibrium) than other colours, albeit I’ve no idea now it compares to pink.)

    What I wonder is why buy an instrument from Junk’4′U, instead of a more knowledgeable seller? WIth the internets and all, there’s no obvious reason not to do a bit or research and then perhaps order from an expert source. Unlike my parents, you’re not restricted these days to shops in your area or for which you have the printed catalogue; nor does doing some basic checking/research mean a trip to the library or seeking out the local club/society.

  122. #122 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 29, 2009

    I, for one, am not at all sure everyone can think for themselves, and I am 100% sure that not everyone utilizes this ability. Especially since we are currently talking about children, who are more credulous and absorb advertisement at a greater rate. Ads DO teach people to want things.

    Clearly the ads are less of a problem then the existing vacuum (in between the ears) that they seek to fill.

    I think its great that such nonsense exists in the microcosm of marketing for children. In my case, I’d use it as an opportunity to show my daughter the kind of bullshit she should be wary of when she grows up…because it doesn’t end.

    Also, if you want awesome science stuff for kids, don’t go to Toys ‘R Us. Christ on a crutch.

  123. #123 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    @105 & 106:

    Yes, I know. That isn’t the point. Are department stores that sell “men’s” and “women’s” clothing also being sexist? No, they’re just responding to the market. And that’s only an issue if you think buying “women’s” clothing makes women inferior. I don’t. Nor do I think girls liking pink (or, for that matter, “girls” toys) makes them inferior.

    It’s pink because girls like pink. If they don’t want it in pink, it also comes in black. And if your son wants the pink one he can have that, too.

    Really, isn’t there enough actual sexism without having to invent it?

  124. #124 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    tsg #123

    Fine…

    But here is what you said:
    “I have been in Toys R Us. I didn’t see a “boys” section or a “girls” section.”

    That is what I was addressing… you could have made the point you made at #123 and I wouldn’t have taken issue… but insinuating that Toys-R-Us does not make a clearly concerted effort to present very obvious gender-based sections was silly at best…

    The rest of your point I get…

  125. #125 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    It’s pink because girls like pink.

    Boys like pink too.

  126. #126 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    I subscribe to Make magazine, the technology/engineering/DIY/hack journal, and I also subscribe to its sister (word used without irony) publication, Craft magazine. I do projects from both about equally, since I am an artsy type who aspires to become an engineer. Both magazines claim to be hip and youthful, to appeal to both sexes. Does this bear out on the “pink” scale?

    Well, biggest tell: the logo for Craft magazine is pink, and the highlight typeface in the text, headers, and footers is the same shade of pink. Whatever, let’s be generous and call this ONE instance of pinkness.

    Number of pages of 193-page Make magazine issue 07 where there is unambiguous pink in any photo, graphic, or font: Five, three instances of which are clothing worn by a woman in a crowd scene, and one instance of which is the orchid on the front cover.

    Number of pages of 161-page Craft magazine issue 07 where there is unambiguous pink: All of them, if you count the logo and footers mentioned above. 54, if you don’t.

  127. #127 Ol'Greg
    December 29, 2009

    I’ve finally made my peace with pink. As a little girl my favorite color was green, but do you think anyone cared?

    No. It was always pink if it was anything. To this day pink just kind of pisses me off when I see it.

    But why lower powered? That’s just mean. But hey it’s baby steps right? A few years ago you would never have seen a pink microscope for the little lady wanting to pretend. You’d have seen the microscopes and trains together for boys and little cooking set for the girls… sans secanol.

  128. #128 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    But here is what you said:
    “I have been in Toys R Us. I didn’t see a “boys” section or a “girls” section.”

    That is what I was addressing… you could have made the point you made at #123 and I wouldn’t have taken issue… but insinuating that Toys-R-Us does not make a clearly concerted effort to present very obvious gender-based sections was silly at best…

    I’m afraid you took my statement a little too literally, probably because I wasn’t clear enough.

    They are only “boys’” and “girls’” sections because that’s who predominantly want these toys. Toys R Us making it easier for to find the products girls typically like is no different than putting dresses and skirts in the “women’s” clothing section. My son wanted an EZ Bake oven. It was pink. He didn’t care and neither did I. If more boys wanted EZ Bake Ovens, they’d stop putting them in the “girls’” section.

    I don’t make my purchasing decisions based on what Toys R Us thinks is appropriate for my children. If some people do, that’s their problem, not Toys R Us’.

  129. #129 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Boys like pink too.

    And men buy dresses. What’s your point?

  130. #130 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    I’m afraid you took my statement a little too literally, probably because I wasn’t clear enough.

    It was a two sentence comment. I’m not sure how else I was supposed to take it, other than you didn’t notice that there was a distinct “girls” and “boys” section at Toys-R-Us, which is plainly silly… I’m not sure how I was to infer the context you just provided at #128.

  131. #131 Josh
    December 29, 2009

    My first telescope experience is almost identical to what blf recalled @ #121.

  132. #132 BlueMonday
    December 29, 2009

    My ex-husband has two daughters who were very young while we were married. The older one was obsessed with the color pink because “pink is what girls like.” I don’t even know if she actually appreciated the color itself or not. It was enough for her to know that it was the color girls were supposed to like.

    The younger one favored green, but she was only 2 1/2. On occasion, she would succumb to pressure from her older sister and choose pink as well. The older one often coerced her by saying she wasn’t being enough of a girl. Sometimes the younger one would respond with, “Well, then, I don’t want to be a girl.”

    I’m sure no one will claim a 4-year-old came up with that on her own.

  133. #133 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    It was a two sentence comment. I’m not sure how else I was supposed to take it, other than you didn’t notice that there was a distinct “girls” and “boys” section at Toys-R-Us, which is plainly silly…

    What I meant was, I don’t see them as “boys’” and “girls’” sections regardless of what Toys R Us chooses to call them.

    I’m not sure how I was to infer the context you just provided at #128.

    Which is why I provided it and said “probably because I wasn’t clear enough.” I wasn’t blaming you for not getting it.

  134. #134 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    ok… got it tsg… I’ll stop sniping now… peace. ;^)

  135. #135 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    Ever notice how the model on the chemistry set box or in this case in the ad is always a boy?

    Look, they’re so progressive–it’s no longer the obligatory freckly red-headed boy–BUT IT’S STILL A BIOMALE.

    FUCK YOU FUCKING FUCKERS.

    Btw, Scully would have bought the most powerful telescope and then bought metal-bond spray paint to fix it up to match her décor. You know it.

  136. #136 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk6EuJ25qQXXX6AA1qI20x3qF-U7gYF3Dw
    December 29, 2009

    Even the Chinese are in on it. A pink carpark just for women.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/30/2782405.htm
    Regards,
    Katkinkate.

  137. #137 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    A pink carpark just for women.

    …a different sense of distance. Can they be any more condescending?

  138. #138 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Ever notice how the model on the chemistry set box or in this case in the ad is always a boy?

    No I haven’t.

  139. #139 Xenithrys
    December 29, 2009

    Regardless of colour, a basic level stereo dissecting microscope from a science supply house ($200?300; Google it) is always going to be much better for a kid than a crappy toy compound microscope with plastic lenses. The compound requires special preparation of samples on glass slides, and even staining to see much at all; with the stereo, kids can watch live bugs and look at seeds in 3D and natural colour with no prep required.
    Toy manufacturers and parents should take note.

  140. #140 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    No I haven’t.

    But they are definitely cartoon-centric. What about the children in meatworld???!?

  141. #141 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    @16

    Pink sox hats

    I always thought they were kinda stupid but the idea they are a post 2004 thing is absurd. I left Bos-town around 2004 and I have very vivid memories of pink hats in the piled cars from Riverside station heading to the game. I associate pink hats with well-off mid-30′s working class boosters. (Typically people I would not cross swords with, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else doing so either.)

    Maybe some suburban lu5ers started wearing Sox hats after the championship, which really is revolting. You certainly never saw trophy wives wearing Sox gear in the 1980′s. Hm, maybe these people ruined pink hats for the women who pioneered them. Dunno.

  142. #142 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    WTH–Company is called “tomboy tools” and all the toys are pink?

    Think I’ll stick with the regular models, as they’ve never been a problem for me up until now.

    As an aside, I hate that shade of pink. It’s revolting.

    Janine, what is wrong with women wearing pink sports jerseys? It’s not as if it’s required.

  143. #143 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    I should have mentioned, but didn’t, since it’s a little bit off-topic, that I have a long history as a crafter and crafts teacher. I can basically walk into a craft store blindfolded, play musical chairs with the merchandise, and make whatever I’m touching when the music stops.

    So there’s something I’ve always wondered: In almost all crafts, no matter how “girly,” once you get to the topmost rank of practitioners, there are always an unusual concentration of men there. The late Kaffe Fassett, in knitting, is a good example; there’s another gentleman whose name I unfortunately can’t remember who took an engineer’s mind to crochet and invented several “new” stitches; men regularly appear at quilt shows and win prizes amidst stunningly fierce competition; one of the most prolific designers of cross-stitch patterns is a man (I have two books by him); even now, half or more of the top fashion designers are men who sew.

    The nearest equivalent to this I can think of would be if there were an unexpectedly high proportion of women among the most innovative and well-regarded mechanical engineers.

    When I teach crafts, I tell my classes by telling them that creativity knows no sex and art knows no gender. Girls expect to excel in the arts, however, and boys don’t. You can’t chalk that up to history, when the art history books are full of famous men. I try to encourage my boy students as well as my girl students, but in the sphere of “arts and crafts” it is just harder.

    As an aspiring woman engineer, I have no doubt that women can excel at traditionally “unwomanly” pursuits. But what, exactly, in the culture makes it the case that so many men can excel and be recognized in fields traditionally relegated to the sphere of women? One would think that a patriarchal society in which men were lock-step protective of their male privilege and dreaded to be associated with femininity, this would be nearly impossible. I can’t say there is simply more egalitarianism among experts, or this would be true of traditionally male-dominated fields as well. What do y’all think?

  144. #144 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    Janine, what is wrong with women wearing pink sports jerseys? It’s not as if it’s required.

    You mean apart from the pain of almost flourescent pink? On a white background…Janine, what did my eyeballs ever do to you?

  145. #145 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlw4oH0l6k2YD0NCQUeu7nC2owgujUl77U
    December 29, 2009

    TuxedoCartman: “I never understood why companies offer more color options for their lower-level offerings. Car companies are a good example of that; if I’m shelling out an extra $15-20 grand for the Cobra version of a Mustang, or the STi version of an Imprezza, I should be able to get it in any color I want, not just the three or four offered. The same goes for computers, cell phones, and household appliances.”

    My eyes were opened when I was shown a pink casket being shipped to an undertaker ’bout 40 years back. It’s not that it was intended for a girl; it’s that it was a dogforsaken color for a casket. State law required that all undertakers provide a cheap casket (so that the poor grieving families wouldn’t be gouged). It just so happened that the only $50 casket they carried was pink.

    Cheap cars have warning buzzers that go “blat!” Expensive cars have polite chimes. Are chimes really more expensive that buzzers?

    Whenever a manufacturer has a line of a product, the more expensive models will have a more subdued color (not a primary color), will sound nicer, will *look more like a serious tool. You can cover an expensive telescope (or bowie knife, or suit jacket) in rainbows or race cars, but nobody (especially the purchasing parents) will take it seriously.

  146. #146 Celtic_Evolution
    December 29, 2009

    #141

    I grew up in Boston in the late 70′s and through the 80′s (left for college in 1990)… my first job was hawking peanuts at Fenway (still maybe the best job I’ve ever had)… went to every game from 1985 – 87 and I can recall very few of the accursed pink hats. There were some, but very, very few.

    I still try to get to at least 1 game a year, and I can tell you that every time I go since 2004, they are everywhere. Even where I live in central NY, I see the damned things. Just hate ‘em.

    I know full well that the person under that ridiculous pink hat likely thinks Dwight Evans is the name of a restaurant chain, Jim Rice is a competing brand to Uncle Ben’s, and Yastrzemski is a gymnastics maneuver…

  147. #147 PaleGreenPants
    December 29, 2009

    What do y’all think?

    Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.

    But seriously. I didn’t know that that was the case. I do know that men seem to be head chefs more that women (or so it seems) and the stereotype is that cooking is a woman’s job, but I didn’t know there were alot of men in crafts.

  148. #148 JB
    December 29, 2009

    While PZ is right, I care more about the cynical manipulation of young scientific minds (and ultimately their disappointment) to flog their parents plastic crap.

    1200x magnification for 50USD???

  149. #149 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    badgersdaughter – I can think of a few possibilities:
    Men are subconsciously given more deference and respect than women regardless of the field, men are expected to excel and so they feel more internal pressure to do so, men might feel more pressure at doing a “girly” skill so they try to excel to shake off that stigma and make it more “rigorous”, in general they might have more time to devote to their hobby than women who are also doing the full time job plus full time housekeeping gig, etc. Those are just off the top of my head, though. Although I haven’t looked into it much, I know there’s been a lot of sociological dissection on how being a top professional chef is a boy’s club that is notoriously difficult for women to break into even though cooking is “women’s work”; I would guess the findings there could be transferred to crafts.

  150. #150 MAJeff, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Janine, what is wrong with women wearing pink sports jerseys? It’s not as if it’s required.

    I think one of the issues is that they aren’t in the team colors. One of the rituals of sport fandom is dressing for the game in a uniform manner. Producing, for example, a sea of purple when the Minnesota Vikings play at home, or the gold that Boston College students wear. So, there’s that aspect.

    Plus, it infects masculinist spaces, likes sports arenas, with feminine cooties.

  151. #151 blf
    December 29, 2009

    Josh@131 kindly said, ?My first telescope experience is almost identical to what blf recalled @ #121.?

    With less typos, I assume…
    I think I’ll go away now, and either fix dinner or(? and?) hide my shame by putting my head in a bucket. The bucket is blue, in case that matters…

  152. #152 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    Carlie @ 149: Yes, that’s exactly the sort of thing I meant. Your suggestions make sense. Thank you.

  153. #153 andreas.kyriacou
    December 29, 2009

    < href="www.pinkstinks.co.uk">http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk

  154. #154 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    @66 Bad Albert

    Because there’s a world of difference between a manufacturer responding to market demand and a major retailer’s purchasing department deciding from the 7th floor what the universe of choices will be.

    You should have seen the flamewars this Halloween. Apparently the “choices” in the low end mass market weren’t, and the howling and gnashing of teeth was heard all over the internet. Yeah, sure, you can sew your own, or go to a specialty store, but realistically for a woman who works 40+ hours and has kids they’re kind of stuck with the $10 costume packs and if they’re all variations of “Sexy Witch” and “Sexy Pirate Wench” and you want to be a cheerful clown–I mean, well, there is no consumer choice there. You never had a choice.

    Hopefully next year a smart importer will sell costumes direct online. However, the retailer doesn’t just walk around and buy–THEY TELL THE MANU’S WHAT TO MAKE. When only a few big chains dominate the market (in toys that would be Wally World and ToysRUs), their middle management are the ones deciding what will be available to buy, at what price and at what quality level.

    If we didn’t have retail oligarchy we would have consumer choice. (Hell, look at the fresh produce market.) As it is… not so much.

  155. #155 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    andreas.kyriacou, that’s a great site!

  156. #156 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    And men buy dresses. What’s your point? -tsg

    My point is: how do you know that girls like pink? If you don’t mean that all girls like pink, well then it becomes a meaningless statement.

  157. #157 Kemist
    December 29, 2009

    I always hated pink, and all those other pale, weak colors.

    My mom would buy pink or pale blue clothes for me, which I was always ashamed to wear. I’ve never bought one piece of pink clothing in all my adult life.

    I always prefered frank, strong, saturated colors. Or black. If something is blue, then it should be a bright blue, not a wimpy excuse for a color that wasn’t sure it wanted to be blue or not.

    But then I was never girly, and always hated the activities, books and movies girls were supposed to like. I mean, how can one not find them excruciatingly inane compared with the action-packed things supposedly made for boys, the sci-fi, superheroes and stuff ? Who wants to be a stupid princess ? All they ever do is wait to be saved, wave and smile. Boring.

  158. #158 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    @tsg comment 74

    Thanks for missing the point. The “serious” gear purchaser would never want it in an “unserious” bright color.

    Oh really? Ever seen neoprene gloves?

    Funny how they can sell even multi-million dollar fancy equipment in hospitals in soothing beige with teal and purple accents on the control panels but anything sold to gearheads has to be black. Dude, it’s just a fad. Remember when word processors were this puke-inducing yellow bile beige? And then Sun came out with snazzy workstations painted purple? I don’t think anyone was complaining about how “unprofessional” that $3G workstation looked. They were probably trying to explain to Procurement how they needed one too.

    Again, the real point–as we’ve known for years, this is pushed by toy manufacturers who intend to make twice the money by selling twice the toys. And this is why commercial TV is evil.

  159. #159 blf
    December 29, 2009

    I do know that men seem to be head chefs more that women (or so it seems)…

    Distinctly true, albeit I don’t have the references at hand to back this up.

    A true story (sorry for the lack of references here also!), but there was a case some years ago in, if my memory is correct, San Francisco, where a women chef-in-training was told by her instructor she shouldn’t enter the kitchen during her period. Some nonsense about that making cakes fall and diary products go sour, as I recall… This made the newspapers (I think she filed suit albeit I may be mistaken), and I read an interview with the head of the chef’s school, a classically-trained highly-experienced Frenchman, who agreed with the instructor, saying (as I now recall) he’d personally seen it happen…

    One of my recommended restaurants in Montpellier has a women chef. Which is remarkable only for it being the only quality restaurant I know of (er, regularly go to) whose chef is a woman.

  160. #160 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Because there’s a world of difference between a manufacturer responding to market demand and a major retailer’s purchasing department deciding from the 7th floor what the universe of choices will be.

    No fucking kidding. Try buying non-polyester, non-pukey-patterned, fitted clothes in any size over a women’s 16 in any way other than in small specialty shops on the internet. Ain’t gonna happen. Have you seen the women’s section at most department stores? *shudder*

    If we didn’t have retail oligarchy we would have consumer choice.

    The internet is helping with this, but it’s slow, and a lot of people don’t have access to it, and shipping charges suck, and you can’t see things for real before you get them, etc…

    Not to get off topic. :)

  161. #161 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    My point is: how do you know that girls like pink? If you don’t mean that all girls like pink, well then it becomes a meaningless statement.

    Oh, bullshit. If girls don’t like pink, it’s not targeted at girls for being pink. Make up your fucking mind.

  162. #162 Zygar
    December 29, 2009

    Speaking of women and pink, it’s apparently the official policy of the People’s Republic that women are bad drivers and like the color pink. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8432887.stm

  163. #163 Jud
    December 29, 2009

    Bad Albert (#90) writes:

    I’m not sure how you think ads “teach” people to want something.

    Yah, save your company big money, B.A. Tell the CEO the firm can just ditch the marketing budget. See how that goes over.

  164. #164 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 29, 2009

    I have never consciously chosen tools based on color. However, from now on I will choose colors that best conceal bloodstains.

    And no…I’m not a violent person. Just not that handy with tools. And a bit of a bleeder.

  165. #165 Richard Eis
    December 29, 2009

    I wonder what percentage of women actually like pink?

    Would say a mere 5% more women choosing pink than other colours over time make marketers use that colour for slight increased sales d oyou think, thus ending up with an “i’m a girl, therefore i like pink” attitude (as mentioned in the comments) after a few decades of feedback.

  166. #166 Ol'Greg
    December 29, 2009

    Not all girls like pink. It’s a fact. I remember at about nine going into a gay crisis about it. If I didn’t like pink and get a babydoll I was going to get burned alive or something when *they* found out. So I hounded my mother for this stupid baby doll and this pink backpack to keep it in. I remember cooking pancakes and looking at the thing wondering how I was supposed to play with a damned doll anyway (I liked video games). I never figured the doll out but i did figure out that pondering the doll kept me from turning the pancakes too soon and making them run all over the griddle.

    If you thought some one would charge you with abnormality if you dared not like what everyone said you had to like you’d say you liked it to. No doubt some do.

    When I was a little girl I also said I loved Jesus. For the exact same reason I said I liked pink. If I didn’t I secretly suspected they might kill me.

  167. #167 dpattersonmonroe
    December 29, 2009

    Grrrr – I have a 9YO daughter who LOVES math and wants to be Kari from Mythbusters when she grows up – she would LOVE pink science tools. I have a 4 YO son who loves everything pink who I would love to be able to get pink science tools for. It’s ridiculous that the toy manufacturers can’t be a little more up to date!

  168. #168 socialjusticeforall
    December 29, 2009

    “…and we need men’s rights groups…” – Carlie

    In fact, we need men’s rights groups, as there are a number of issues that most feminists don’t seem interested in addressing. Unfortunately, most of those groups go about things stupidly, and most of them also have a decidedly anti-feminist slant.

    The two main issues that they address are parental rights for fathers, and abuse of men by female partners.

    The first is just about the only example I can think of where our court system and most of our judges are actually weighted against men, even if the mother is a crazy and violent kidnapper.

    The second happens more than you might think.

  169. #169 badgersdaughter
    December 29, 2009

    …a women chef-in-training was told by her instructor she shouldn’t enter the kitchen during her period.

    Are there many post-menopausal women head chefs? Geeze.

  170. #170 Eamon Knight
    December 29, 2009

    Re blf @151 and preceding: I was asking for a ‘scope just a few years after you, by the sound of things. Fortunately my parents knew what they were doing, went to a science shop, and got me a 4.25″ Newtonian f8, which I still have (mediocre equatorial mount, but the optics are decent).

  171. #171 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    Hard-core capitalists are human beings, after all, and, like all human beings, have their own stereotypes and blind spots, which they might not even notice, though these stereotypes might impair even their own interests. And of course, an individual who actually has some power over what is offered to customers can perpetuate a stereotype further.

    Yes. This. I did a study of feminine napkins (neither feminine nor napkins) a few years back and determined that kotex were the best for my needs. Then the pinheads in marketing decided to replace the nice neutral blue and purple packages with ultra feminine red flowers. I felt humiliated bringing the package to the counter. I was so mad I went back to store brand even though it sucks.

    Btw, remember the scene in Boys Don’t Cry when Brandon steals the pads from the convenience store? People wouldn’t feel the need to shoplift or run out of the store (thus not buying other items) if the product didn’t have an image problem.

    At least baby wipes are packaged in a nice attractive teal.

  172. #172 Ray Moscow
    December 29, 2009

    Apparently this “girls like pink” business didn’t get going until after WWII. In the early 20th century, supposedly pink was the colour for boys.

    (Already linked above: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2009/dec/12/pinkstinks-the-power-of-pink )

    It hardly seems like anything that reflects an innate gender preference. It’s probably just a random meme that has run wild.

    Of course, if businesses think they can make money by re-enforcing this meme, they are going to do it.

  173. #173 Epinephrine
    December 29, 2009

    Grrrr – I have a 9YO daughter who LOVES math and wants to be Kari from Mythbusters when she grows up – she would LOVE pink science tools. I have a 4 YO son who loves everything pink who I would love to be able to get pink science tools for. It’s ridiculous that the toy manufacturers can’t be a little more up to date!

    Lol, I have a 7YO daughter who wears pink, loves dresses, and wants to be a biologist. She collects skulls and skeletons, we’ve dissected owl pellets together, we built a little “rot-box” to allow the dead bat we found to decompose* (and then put the teeth back in the skull, once we cleaned it up), and when we there was a dead pigeon in the yard the other day she asked, “was it’s head still there?”

    And funny enough, I *also* have a 4YO son who loves pink. He is more math-inclined and loves mechanical things, but he’ll fight to get the pink cup or bowl.

    *we tried mascerating a rat and a mouse too, but the smell was just awful. We’ll rot-box the next ones we get. And despite her asking, I’m not ready to stop for roadkill just yet.

  174. #174 F
    December 29, 2009

    Wow. This is possibly more fucked-up than “…condemning people for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.””

  175. #175 Utakata
    December 29, 2009

    This subject makes me uncomfortable..because of inpart of the namesake I use. That is, it’s based character I play in World of Warcrack…which is a pink pig-tailed Gnome Mage. I play her because I like the idea of something small, and very sh?jo (“girl” for the Romaji challenged) but wields a lot of power and can one-shot a lot of targets. As well as my love for the genre of “Magical Girls”…to those which are familiar with it, is very girly but have powers to level an entire US battalion. So in that way, I find it very empowering, because I don’t view being girly or pink as something submissive, barefoot and passive but quite the opposite.

    However, I do agree with PZ on his concerns of how these lay scientific intruments is being advertizes. Because I suspect their target audience is viewed as something that is neither empowered or powerful. Rather stereotyped as something that “matches her nail polish,” than anything taking this overly testicular world by it’s balls. /sigh

  176. #176 ursulamajor
    December 29, 2009

    My very hetero 14 year old punk son wears only black and white (with lot of metal studs). When he does decide to add a splash of color, it is almost always pink. Why? Because he finds the whole pink/blue, girl/boy thing ridiculous and works hard to dispel the stereotype. That and he really thinks it’s a nice color.

  177. #177 shatfat
    December 29, 2009

    It’s also not baby blue, yellow or flourescent green. People don’t buy expensive, quality equipment that looks like a toy.

    To quote James T. Kirk: Bullshit.

  178. #178 Endor
    December 29, 2009

    “If girls don’t like pink, it’s not targeted at girls for being pink.”

    Because women are legion and all like exactly the same things, so naturally, if one girl likes pink we ALL do and everything we buy should be pink to remind us just how much we like it.

  179. #179 skellington1
    December 29, 2009

    For shatfat @171:

    Perhaps you’d rather buy these? The artist had the same problem with uber-girley things to bleed on you do. Personally, I’ll stick with OB — less flowers and no ridiculous extra packaging.

    To those far up the thread who are talking about graphic design/layout people: I’m a graphic designer. People who work in my field have NO EXCUSE for sending the wrong message because of ignorance. If there’s an implied visual message, it’s either there because the designer put it there, or there because they’re bad at their job. Part of our skillset is supposed to be understanding visual communication, and that means looking for unintentional implications in what you produce.

    Of course, someone high enough in the firm can say “No, swap that image for a dorky pink one” and you just have to jump to it…

  180. #180 Qwerty
    December 29, 2009

    I seem to recall a study that demonstrated that men were weaker when in an all pink environment.

    Anyhow, someone must like pink as I see enough of it recently. Most of it is for things that promote breast cancer research, but I wouldn’t buy anything pink just to do this.

  181. #181 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 29, 2009
  182. #182 Ol'Greg
    December 29, 2009

    skellington1! Those are hilarious. Too bad I don’t wear tampons anyway.

    I use paper towels. There. I said it. They are way cheap and always around. Luckily I’m not that productive that way anyway…

    oook oversharing done for today.

  183. #183 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Because women are legion and all like exactly the same things, so naturally, if one girl likes pink we ALL do and everything we buy should be pink to remind us just how much we like it.

    I didn’t say “all girls” so drop that strawman right there.

    The entire argument hinges on the assumption that the microscope is being targeted at girls solely because it is pink. You don’t get to say that assuming girls like pink is reasonable for you and unreasonable for them. If girls don’t typically like pink then you can’t claim it’s being marketed for girls and lose any claim to sexism.

  184. #184 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    To quote James T. Kirk: Bullshit.

    I fail to see how multicolored buses refutes my statement.

  185. #185 nomen-nescio.myopenid.com
    December 29, 2009

    @tsg:

    The same quality micro
    scope is also offered in black. So, unless you’re arguing that no inferior quality microscopes should be sold ever, I don’t see your point.

    how about we try arguing (one more time, see if it finally gets through) that the inferior quality stuff shouldn’t be the stuff that gets explicitly and specifically marketed to girls only?

    that, if we want to have some stuff marketed explicitly and specifically to one gender only (and why should we want that, anyway?) then it would make sense to have the full range of qualities and features as is found in the non-gendered and opposite-gendered versions of the same stuff?

    unless you’d like to try arguing that really high-end equipment (of whatever nature) normally gets pink-washed and pushed on girls as being the appropriate (high) quality stuff girls would be assumed to want. because, now that i think of it, i can’t remember ever once seeing that done. maybe that could be on account of me being a straight cismale, but still.

  186. #186 aratina cage
    December 29, 2009

    Oh, bullshit. If girls don’t like pink, it’s not targeted at girls for being pink. Make up your fucking mind. -tsg #161

    Sorry tsg, I do not follow what you are saying. Do you mean that merchandise targeted at girls would be some other color if girls did not like pink? Or do you mean that pink-colored items are not targeted at girls?

    Hmmm, I get that we don’t have to conform with the retail industry’s “gender apartheid” (as it is called in the Guardian article linked to by Ray Moscow #32) by color or by item or by function or by target demographic. I also get that by assigning a gender to an aisle of toys based on color where it is nowhere stated as being “for girls only” means that I am guilty of segregating by simplistic notions of gender, or that my intuition about the target demographic of different aisles could be wrong.

    Let me restate it, then: Boys like pink, so there should be lots of pink-colored items in the toy aisle directed at boys. How come we don’t see this? (Or maybe you do. I haven’t investigated a toy aisle for a long time but when I walk past one, the change to pink is noticeable.)

    It seems to me that your answer would be 1) that the pink-colored items at the toy store are for boys too and 2) that many kids regardless of gender really do like pink for certain lines of toys or pink would cease to be used substantially in those toy lines.

    My answer to my own question is that pink serves as a marker for items that are gender appropriate for females according to heteronormativity. I consider the statement that “girls like pink so the toys are made pink” to be wrong upfront because the color pink has been brainwashed into people as something nearly every girl should like. Toy makers have to do little more than slap a shade of pink on something to say “Girls love this!” Am I being too cynical?

  187. #187 nomen-nescio.myopenid.com
    December 29, 2009

    If girls don’t typically like pink then you can’t claim it’s being marketed for girls

    you have your cart and your horse mutually reversed, there. what a demographic group “typically likes” (if that even makes sense when talking about demographic abstractions) in no wise determines a marketer’s intention in advertising any particular good.

    if fifty percent, plus one, of martians agreed that teal was a moderately gauche color, that would not mean the huge advertising campaign of all-teal clothing “in the most popular martian cuts and fashions” which name-a-store-chain just put out was somehow not marketing teal clothes to martians. especially not if teal had been long pushed as the stereotypically martian color by all and sundry, such that the association was culturally ubiquitous and widely understood.

    and yes, i did pick teal because i knew this comment was going to end up a teal deer. you’re welcome.

  188. #188 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    how about we try arguing (one more time, see if it finally gets through) that the inferior quality stuff shouldn’t be the stuff that gets explicitly and specifically marketed to girls only?

    that, if we want to have some stuff marketed explicitly and specifically to one gender only (and why should we want that, anyway?) then it would make sense to have the full range of qualities and features as is found in the non-gendered and opposite-gendered versions of the same stuff?

    unless you’d like to try arguing that really high-end equipment (of whatever nature) normally gets pink-washed and pushed on girls as being the appropriate (high) quality stuff girls would be assumed to want. because, now that i think of it, i can’t remember ever once seeing that done. maybe that could be on account of me being a straight cismale, but still.

    I’ve already addressed this several times (but I’ll say it one more time and see if it finally gets through). The higher quality stuff isn’t pink for the same reason it isn’t orange, yellow or flourescent green: it’s meant to look like a real instrument and not a toy, and people choosing a microscope based on what color it is probably aren’t paying much attention to quality or performance.

  189. #189 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    it’s meant to look like a real instrument and not a toy, and people choosing a microscope based on what color it is probably aren’t paying much attention to quality or performance.

    Why the fuck not? Shouldn’t it be the better quality items that take form as well as function into account? Is a person only allowed to think of the color if they don’t care about the specs?

  190. #190 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    you have your cart and your horse mutually reversed, there. what a demographic group “typically likes” (if that even makes sense when talking about demographic abstractions) in no wise determines a marketer’s intention in advertising any particular good.

    Then neither do you get to use that demographic abstraction to assert what the marketer’s intention was.

  191. #191 nejishiki
    December 29, 2009

    @ utakata #175

    Depends on which magical girl shows you’re talking about. In Nanoha, cities are leveled by little girls in dresses. However, more often these shows use some kind of “Love Love Super Heart attack,” or some attack that is based on manipulating their opponents emotions(e.g. Princess Tutu), or simply subduing them (e.g. Cardcaptor Sakura). So I guess that could be empowering, but you’re not dodging that many stereotypes.

  192. #192 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Why the fuck not? Shouldn’t it be the better quality items that take form as well as function into account?

    Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what sells.

    Is a person only allowed to think of the color if they don’t care about the specs?

    They can if they want.

    What any of this has to do with my statement I have no idea.

  193. #193 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 29, 2009

    Why, oh why, does Carlie not have an OM yet?

  194. #194 Ol'Greg
    December 29, 2009

    If the lower quality is only because of a specialty color then why only pink? Why the fuck not green? The problem with that argument is that only pink is offered as another color, but I guess that’s just a coincidence.

    Like all the pink shit people bought my little cousins this past week because little girl stuff usually comes in pink. Pink, which some little girls and little boys adore, but have you ever tried to find a princess outfit in green?

    It’s damned hard, except maybe with tinkerbell these days.

    See, you can like some conventions and not others. Amazing how that works, no? So why is the only specialty color fucking pink then if it’s not meant to be for little girls who we know ALL are born with some kind of pink lust branded in their little nascent ovaries.

    Although usually I just liked black. Gothic Lolita all the way, although not now. I’m too old and too corporate.

  195. #195 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    Why, oh why, does Carlie not have an OM yet?

    She does. August 2009.

  196. #196 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    Sorry tsg, I do not follow what you are saying. Do you mean that merchandise targeted at girls would be some other color if girls did not like pink? Or do you mean that pink-colored items are not targeted at girls?

    I’m saying that the only argument for the microscope being targeted at girls is the fact that it is pink. I’m not saying this is an unreasonable assertion. I am saying that you don’t get to say it’s reasonable when suits you and unreasonable when it doesn’t. If you can assume the microscope is being targeted at girls because girls like pink, then so does ToysRUs. If ToysRUs can’t assume that girls typically like pink, then you can’t assume it’s being marketed for girls based solely on the fact that it is pink.

    Whether boys like pink and why there are or are not pink “boys’” toys is irrelevant.

  197. #197 Pygmy Loris
    December 29, 2009

    I haven’t finished reading this thread yet, but I just had to post this link about male studies that a friend posted on facebook.

    From the site:

    “…to the growing problem of misandry?the hatred of males, an unacknowledged but underlying socio-cultural, economic, political and legal phenomenon endangering the well-being of both genders.”

    It must be very hard on men when they have to watch those evil feminists attack the patriarchy and their privilege. OTOH, I’d say this ad supports my contention that our culture is still supporting the diminishing of girls in relation to boys.

  198. #198 timrowledge
    December 29, 2009

    Accents of Makita teal are okey-dokey, and You gotta love Milwuakee red!
    I’m kind of partial to DeWalt yellow, myself.

    Bah! Only the Holy Dark Green of Festool is good enough for a real tool addict. That and the white/blue livery of the mighty MiniMax.

    Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.

    Not always. And not all their lives, either, necessarily.

    So there’s something I’ve always wondered: In almost all crafts, no matter how “girly,” once you get to the topmost rank of practitioners, there are always an unusual concentration of men there

    Possible explanation for some of that; a lot of crafts, maybe most, are manual, dexterity based activities. That’s the kind of thing that appeals a lot to those of us that tend to end up being mechanical engineers or mechanics etc. Which is a field wherein males are massively over-represented. Many crafts also reward obsessive behaviour which also seems to be something males are prone to.

  199. #199 nomen-nescio.myopenid.com
    December 29, 2009

    The higher quality stuff isn’t pink for the same reason it isn’t orange, yellow or flourescent green: it’s meant to look like a real instrument and not a toy

    then which genders, pray tell, are orange, yellow, and fluorescent green things marketed towards?

    Then neither do you get to use that demographic abstraction to assert what the marketer’s intention was.

    i don’t need to. if the marketers’ intentions weren’t clear from the marketing materials they produce, they wouldn’t be any damn good at their jobs, now would they?

  200. #200 atheistyogi.com
    December 29, 2009

    It would be preferable if the pink instruments are in all other ways identical to the traditionally colored ones…but I could see this as marketing science to girls. Yea, you can be both feminine and girly and love science!

  201. #201 Hieronymus The Troll Braintree
    December 29, 2009

    Congratulations, PZ. You finally came up with a legitimate feminist issue to bitch about. Man, it’s been a good long time since I’ve seen one of these that didn’t eminate from some far-right whackos or some tiny company nobody ever heard of before. But Toys ‘R Us, is a major company and that needs to be taken seriously–at least somewhat. I agree that it’s outrageous that a girls’ micro or telescope should be weaker than the males.’ On the other hand, I don’t actually know anybody who would actually buy one for one of their daughters except for some Nazarine freaks down the street who nobody likes. In order for this sort of thing to be rated an actual menace to the self esteem of young pre-women, I think we’d need to see the actual sales numbers, don’t you agree? I mean, just because somebody puts something on the market doesn’t mean that people are actually buying it on anything like a worrisome scale, you know?

    Now, if someone would just convince Code Pink that they’re not supposed to use that awful color to identify grrrlz, all will be well.

    Yours in principled dissent,

  202. #202 Sven DiMilo
    December 29, 2009

    I haven’t been paying attention…is the current argument that all microscopes, without regard to price or quality, should be produced only in grey? Or that all microscopes, without regard to price or quality, should be produced in a wide variety of attractive colors? Or that the color of a microscope doesn’t matter as long as it’s not pink? Or what?

  203. #203 Utakata
    December 29, 2009

    @ nejishiki #191

    I should qualify, power to level a city or an army is a lot different than actually leveling it. In most of Magical Girls genre I’ve seen it’s more to subdue’ing their targets than outright destroying or killing…since there seems a lot of pacifist principals at play. And that’s not just stereotypical of sh?jo but of sh?nen/seinen anime and manga as well.

    Oddly though, your sample Mahou Sh?jo Lyrical Nanoha is classified as sh?nen (for boys). /boggle

  204. #204 S.
    December 29, 2009

    I’m usually pretty sensitive to things which I believe insult my gender, but I am afraid my own experience has me puzzled over why this product’s “pinkness” and its position in this circular is deemed to be so offensive.

    When I was about 5 I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. Really bad. I’m not sure why the idea got into my head, but my favorite thing was to memorize the names of bones in the human body.

    My parents, who wanted to encourage my interest in science but weren’t quite sure how to do so, purchased for me, when I was about 10, a microscope for kids. It was the “best” microscope for kids available at that time, and I was SO excited because I wanted to see all the lovely little organisms that would have lived in our nearby stream.

    Now, neither of my parents were particularly interested in sticking around for setting UP the microscope, and neither of them had the patience to help me learn how to use it, and so there I was with an absolutely massive (to me at the time) book of instructions and a microscope with a bunch of nobs and absolutely no experience using any thing like it. After about a day of trying my best, I gave it up, and the microscope was stuck in a corner of the basement. It was never used again.

    I’ll be honest, I would have rather had a “powerless” pink “toy” microscope that worked SOME of the time than the microscope I got–something that I never learned HOW to use. Rather than being swayed by the “color pink” or misguided ideas about “science for girls” they were swayed by the idea that they needed to brag that they were being “progressive” and helping their daughter in “science” because “we bought her the best microscope” even though “it was so expensive!”

    Gender norms in toys may be damaging (I say “may” because I had plenty of pink items and never really suffered from it), but what is potentially worse? How parents *react* to advertising, to other parents, and what they THINK their children want? Or a designer choosing to put a pink microscope in a circular, because silver and red (for older kids) are there, and hey, maybe the pink one will make people look up all the other potential colors online?

  205. #205 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    Sven, it’s kind of circular, but I think the main issue is that IF a company is going to make something pink in the idea that it will appeal to girls, please don’t make the only pink version the one that also has inferior specs. By doing so, the company will then be pushing the message, intended or not, that girls are only worth having inferior products. This is unfortunately because it has become a cultural meme, true/wanted or not, that only girls get pink things and that all girls like pink things. So if there’s a pink version, obviously that’s for girls and girls ought to like it best.

    The multiple lines of argument, some seemingly contradictory to each other, are because people are hitting all around the various ideas of “pink=inferior” and “pink=girls” and such. I think it could boil down to “girls don’t just like pink, so don’t patronize us by making everything pink, but if you would like to capture the subcategory of girls who do like pink, make sure you’re not insulting them by making it a piece of crap you’re selling just on the merit of being pink.”

  206. #206 Pygmy Loris
    December 29, 2009

    I think it could boil down to “girls don’t just like pink, so don’t patronize us by making everything pink, but if you would like to capture the subcategory of girls who do like pink, make sure you’re not insulting them by making it a piece of crap you’re selling just on the merit of being pink.”

    You’ve put my feelings on the matter into just the right words!

  207. #207 wrpd
    December 29, 2009

    When I was a child, shortly after the last dinosaur died, I had lots of child-sized sciency toys. I noticed that the kid on the box was almost always a boy. When the rare girl appeared, she was in the background watching with admiration as the boy performed the science, probably thinking “He has a penis so he can do magic!”

  208. #208 Annie
    December 29, 2009

    I hope everyone does send rude letters. This kind of sexist shit should have been over and done with years ago.

  209. #209 tsg
    December 29, 2009

    I haven’t been paying attention…is the current argument that all microscopes, without regard to price or quality, should be produced only in grey? Or that all microscopes, without regard to price or quality, should be produced in a wide variety of attractive colors? Or that the color of a microscope doesn’t matter as long as it’s not pink? Or what?

    I think we’re on “the absolute best microscope on the market being not-pink is sexist”.

    Really, the goalposts have moved so far you can’t even see them from the original argument.

  210. #210 Hieronymus The Troll Braintree
    December 29, 2009

    Actually, I’ve been thinking about this issue some more and it’s entirely possible that people are buying the product just because they think it’s cute for a girl to have her own-colored telescope, which is an inclusive gesture to girls, and just don’t notice the comparative weakness in magnification. The mere fact that it’s a scientific intstrument is of and by itself, an opportunity for more girls to become interested in science and eventually torture a now-elderly Professor Myers with their alluring nubility.

    In any case, I’m more impressed by the fact that a near-50% of our medical students are now women and that a significant majority of college students lack penises than I am by the horror of encouraging parents to buy what remains, despite its defects, a genuine scientific instrument for their daughter.

    Yours in principled dissent,
    HTTB

  211. #211 BelJonas
    December 29, 2009

    I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for posting anything on this site at all, ever. You all seem much smarter than me. But I really don’t see the sexism here.

    It seems to me the offer of pink on certain models of their microscopes and telescopes is probably because those models sold well enough to merit another color option. And I would guess pink was chosen because, while black and grey is pretty androgynous and a good color for a kids telescope, pink might entice more girls too be interested in science.

    As I recall from… psych? maybe social anthropology… bah, whatever, it was class somewhere. I recall that young boys and girls tend to over-generalize gender differences. My niece, for example, wants NOTHING to do with anything she deems “boy stuff.” At four years old, she literally thinks its wrong for her to play with “boy toys”. If I gave her a telescope for Christmas, it would be quickly forgotten about. But if I gave her a PINK telescope, the chances are at least slightly increased that she’ll use it, thus getting her interested in science.

    and that sounds like a GOOD thing.

    “Feminism for the sake of feminism is a load of bollocks” (my roommate’s quote, and she’s a girl.)

  212. #212 Carlie
    December 29, 2009

    probably thinking “He has a penis so he can do magic!”

    Alexyss Tylor and her mom will explain the magic penis to you.

  213. #213 nejishiki
    December 29, 2009

    @ #203 Utakata

    I think Nanoha might actually be classified as Seinen, but it’s hard to tell. Normally the classification depends on the classification of the manga, but with Nanoha there wasn’t one. The most obsessive fans of Magical girl anime (as opposed to manga) are often 20-40 year old men. Their motivations will not be questioned here, but can be easily guessed.

  214. #214 MAJeff, OM
    December 29, 2009

    Oh, thank you Carlie! I’d forgotten about penis power!

  215. #215 Zygar
    December 29, 2009

    Of course ads teach people to want things. Where do you think people get the idea that they have ‘too much’ fat? That they want a massive vehicle when they don’t fill it with anything? That they need a snuggie? That cellulite is a flaw? The list goes on and on forever. These ideas seem absolutely silly without some serious convincing via advertising.

  216. #216 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 29, 2009

    @nejishiki…could you explain? I don’t know that much about Pokemon.

  217. #217 nejishiki
    December 29, 2009

    @219
    Oops. I didn’t mean to distract you from talking about toys by talking about cartoons.

  218. #218 Jim
    December 29, 2009

    I think it could boil down to “girls don’t just like pink, so don’t patronize us by making everything pink, but if you would like to capture the subcategory of girls who do like pink, make sure you’re not insulting them by making it a piece of crap you’re selling just on the merit of being pink.”

    I think if that particular subcategory makes all their purchasing decisions based solely on color, they probably won’t feel insulted, because they won’t know any better; they’ll just be happy to have another pink thing in their life. If, however, color is only one of many criteria they use, they’ll surely wind up with a superior, non-pink model. Stupid analogy from my life: the previous owners of my house painted the bathroom purple, so I tend to buy purple toiletries for the novelty of it – but if I can’t find a purple toothbrush in the brand and style I prefer, I buy a different color, rather than go with an inferior toothbrush.

    And where do you draw the line? Do you take the not-very-cost-effective route of offering EVERYTHING in pink, to make sure no market segment is left out? Do you stick with only one SKU, but make the token pink item the exact mid-point of the line, or the pinnacle of the brand? Then you could surely flame them for pricing that pink-loving subcategory out of the market by placing an unfair premium on the pink model.

    I think this entire discussion is ridiculous, personally. I have a hard time believing an average reasonable person would find the original linked flyer offensive if not framed in the context of gender disparity. It reminds me of ghost hunters and their EVPs, or the virgin Mary making an appearance on a snack chip. Once they point it out, it seems obvious, regardless how absent it really is. Emotional pareidolia, as it were.

  219. #219 BelJonas
    December 29, 2009

    lol, emotional pareidolia. I like that. well said.

  220. #220 Stardrake
    December 29, 2009

    The pink trick doesn’t always work, either. Behold, The Lionel Girls Train of 1957.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/lionel-postwar-girls-train-set-from-57-ex-boxes-rare_W0QQitemZ230417183568QQcmdZViewItemQQssPageNameZRSS:B:SRCH:US:101

    It was an attempt to expand their market to girls. It was a DISMAL failure! Boys wouldn’t touch ‘em, and neither would girls–the girls that wanted a train wanted a PROPER train, dammit!

    Of course, now it’s a massive collector’s item since so few were sold (it’s rumored that Lionel took the unsold stock and repainted it so they could get something out of it).

    But at least the train was a full-quality Lionel train, if in distinctly odd colors.

  221. #221 monado
    December 29, 2009

    Colour psychology has found that people feel weaker when wearing pink and others treat them as more powerless.

  222. #222 monado
    December 29, 2009

    Moral: don’t wear pink unless you want to be underestimated and counted as ineffectual (e.g. just before you take over the company, bwa-ha-ha).

  223. #223 smort.myopenid.com
    December 29, 2009

    I don’t know, a lower power on a telescope can be a good thing. Sometimes too much mag can make it hard to keep the image stable, and make stargazing, especially for beginners, more frustrating.

    Nonetheless it is still an odd marketing choice.

  224. #224 Hieronymus The Troll Braintree
    December 29, 2009

    @220

    Jesus Christ on a bun, Stardrake. I’m about as shameless a train geek as you could find but that is without a doubt the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen on flanged wheels. Tonight’s insomnia is dedicated to you.

  225. #225 tariqata
    December 29, 2009

    Err, doesn’t this problem:

    I’ll be honest, I would have rather had a “powerless” pink “toy” microscope that worked SOME of the time than the microscope I got–something that I never learned HOW to use. Rather than being swayed by the “color pink” or misguided ideas about “science for girls” they were swayed by the idea that they needed to brag that they were being “progressive” and helping their daughter in “science” because “we bought her the best microscope” even though “it was so expensive!”

    Really flow from this problem:

    Now, neither of my parents were particularly interested in sticking around for setting UP the microscope, and neither of them had the patience to help me learn how to use it, and so there I was with an absolutely massive (to me at the time) book of instructions and a microscope with a bunch of nobs and absolutely no experience using any thing like it. After about a day of trying my best, I gave it up, and the microscope was stuck in a corner of the basement. It was never used again.

    I got a chemistry set when I was 9 or 10. If my dad hadn’t taken the time to help me find out what I could do with it, it would never have been used, because it wasn’t something I was capable of doing on my own at that age. I’m not convinced that the situation would be different with a microscope regardless of its power.

  226. #226 DLC
    December 29, 2009

    Wow. talk about shooting first and asking questions later.
    according to http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=telescope&origkw=telescope&f=Taxonomy/TRUS/2254197&sr=1

    the details tab there shows both microscopes and telescopes with the same properties and at the same price, but with different colors.

  227. #227 amphiox
    December 29, 2009

    Apocryphal urban legend, and probably false, but I have heard it said that men and boys LOVE the color pink, but due to social conditioning, do not dare to demonstrate said preference in front of their peers, and thus, when they become fathers, indulge in their obsession by buying mountains and mountains of pink stuff – for their daughters.

    As I posted before, I think this is all a marketing experiment. The company probably is trying to appeal to girls and expand their market share with the pink models. I suspect they are presuming that those serious about scientific toys, regardless of gender, will not care about the color, and especially those serious enough to consider investing in the high-end models, are not going to care about color, but that among those not very serious about science toys, and who would thus never consider buying the expensive models, some might be attracted to the pink cheaper low-end model and buy one, whereas if the pink model were not available, they would not have bought anything at all. Thus they produce, probably a limited number of the pink color for the low-end model. If it sells well, they might later release a pink color for all the models. If those sell well, they might consider offering a wider range of colors for all their models.

    However, the decisions involving the design of the ad – putting the pink model prominently beside the superior non-pink more expensive model, in juxtaposition like that – Now that is a piece of short-sighted idiocy fully deserving of all the criticism it gets.

  228. #228 KATHYxx
    December 30, 2009

    I don’t really care that they make some things in pink. What makes me mad is that this pink thing is so ingrained that going against the grain as a child is really challenging.

    When I was a kid, I preferred dinosaurs and giant robots, but I was also a very conformed “good girl”. Also, because I was a kid, I didn’t realize the damage I was doing to myself because of it. I started pretending to like horses though I didn’t like them at all, and I was sick of insipid bubblegum pop music within a few months – my classmates genderized a lot of things, so no rock n roll for me. Eventually when I was a little older and learned that to fit in better I can just not tell anyone what I actually liked unless they said they liked it first. So I shut up for a rather large portion of my life, figuring that if I never said anything nobody would disagree with me, and therefore I would be cool. I kept hiding secrets that way until most of the way through high school. I was a dumb child, nuff said.

    I would prefer it if there were more active stereotype breaking. Sure there can be a lot of pink girls’ items. But does the overwhelming majority have to be pink?

    164: In fact, we need men’s rights groups, as there are a number of issues that most feminists don’t seem interested in addressing. Unfortunately, most of those groups go about things stupidly, and most of them also have a decidedly anti-feminist slant.
    The two main issues that they address are parental rights for fathers, and abuse of men by female partners.
    The first is just about the only example I can think of where our court system and most of our judges are actually weighted against men, even if the mother is a crazy and violent kidnapper.
    The second happens more than you might think.

    Divorce is especially annoying. Someone I knew had a respectable father, but a mother with marbles for brains and an anger management problem, and she still won the children for the weekends. It would not have happened if she were the father.

  229. #229 Utakata
    December 30, 2009

    @ #213 nejishiki

    You will have to show your sources to back up that claim…since from my experience those who view Magical Girl stuff has been quite the opposite. And even if it where true…with that logic, every male school teacher is a pedo. I think you need to address some of your stereotypes as well. Just saying.

  230. #230 mygoldilocks
    December 30, 2009

    @Jojame: “I’d imagine that the cheapest telescope and microscope are also the most popular and are available in multiple color schemes. The more expensive ones probably only come in the black color.”

    My niece’s room is dipped in pink and my nephew gets everything in somewhat neutral color. The thing is that my neice occationally struggle to find stuff on prefered color and spec!!
    If her choice (a very common choice liek any other girls generally) was popular and made available in multiple colors, the situation would have been the other way around.

  231. #231 S.
    December 30, 2009

    Tariqata:

    Yeah, I know :/. And I guess that’s my point, though it’s so poorly stated I’d like to try again: while we’re all up in arms about this minor problem in a circular and what it means for girls, the bigger problem–the one we should be up in arms for–is… parents.

    Perhaps I’m unusually unlucky, but I seem to encounter more people willing to spend HOURS arguing that Disney and Barbie murder self-esteem, magazines encourage anorexia, and marketers are pushing some perverse agenda, than I meet parents *willing to do actual parenting.* Kids don’t always learn what we’d expect, and most are smarter and more well-adjusted than we give them credit for (I could go on about this at length, but it seems only tangentally related).

    So, SO WHAT if this ad screws up? Shouldn’t we be happy a big company sells 3 types of microscopes parents can purchase? Shouldn’t we worry more about parents teaching their kids how to USE one of these microscopes, any of these microscopes, than worrying about whether the advertisement color choice sneakily implies awful things about females in science? Because surely, the hypothetical girl we are protecting cares less about the microscope color, the microscope she gets, or the ad, and more about knowing how to USE one of the damned things in the first place.

    Again, this idea that “the pink one is not powerful and so this advertisement is offensive and gender-exclusionary” seems like a marvelously misplaced outlet for righteous parental anger.

    (Oh, and Tariqata, none of that ranting is really addressed to you, or any poster in particular, so please don’t take offense :) ).

    As a complete aside:

    I have done some design work, and if this had been my circular, I think I would have simply picked the low-powered microscope that best “matched” the others, and left it at that. As there is a silver/black and a red, the best options (I haven’t seen the product lineup) are probably white, pure silver, or pink. The designer in question chose pink.

    If turnaround time at Toys ‘R’ Us is anything like it was at my old company, that would have been it–the implications of color choices really weren’t given deep thought. A piece either looked nice and felt right, or it didn’t.

    Toys ‘R’ Us most certainly has a staff gifted with more design time than I was ever given, and the company must have far more editors. Design work (if my Design profs are to be trusted ;) ) is traditionally done under enormous pressure and very quickly by young workers, though, so blunders still happen.

  232. #232 SQB
    December 30, 2009

    Isn’t this a question of markedness? The unmarked versions of that microscope are the silver and black ones. Then there’s one marked as “top of the range”, one as “entry level” and one as “girls”. I bet that those pink powertools are neither top of the range nor entry level, but somewhere in the middle of the range as well.

    So what I don’t like about this, is not that there’s no pink top of the range model, it’s the idea that there has to be a ‘scope specifically marked for girls.

  233. #233 SQB
    December 30, 2009

    So what I don’t like about this, is not that there’s no pink top of the range model, it’s the idea that there has to be a ‘scope specifically marked for girls.

    That, and the idea that a splash of pink paint makes something ‘for girls’.

  234. #234 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    December 30, 2009

    I’ve been annoyed for years at the gender bias in advertising aimed at children, especially on TV. You see pretty little girls in pastel colours doing passive things like sitting around playing with dolls, while boys are shown in more active pursuits: racing cars, throwing balls, etc. The only time it doesn’t apply is for ‘family’ items such as board games.

    It’s threads like these that make me very thankful that my parents didn’t care that I didn’t like dolls when I was little and instead bought me matchbox cars, an electric train set, plastic dinosaurs, and later a decent microscope. They also passed on my dad’s meccano set and his father’s telescope to me.

    Nor did they fuss that I hated wearing dresses and prefered to live in pants/jeans, because dresses got in the way of doing fun stuff like climbing trees, riding bikes, playing in the dirt, and more rough-and-tumble activities.

    Very progressive for the late ’50s-early ’60s, especially as the rest of their worldview was extremely conservative.

  235. #235 AJS
    December 30, 2009

    I think there are several issues at play here and we run a risk of conflating them. I’m going to have to have a good long think and try to pick them apart.

    For my part, what I really don’t like is the way boys and girls are treated from birth almost as though they were different species.

    I’m well aware of the evolutionary explanation for gender diamorphism. I’m also aware that it’s been pretty much unnecessary in humans since the Industrial Revolution: who needs superior physical strength when you have electric motors? Maybe the desire to divide society along gender lines is a reaction to this.

    The least malice-attributing explanation up with which I can come is that the pink toys are aimed at girls with the specific intention of preventing them being “handed down” to boys in the event that they become outgrown before they break.

  236. #236 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    “It must be very hard on men when they have to watch those evil feminists attack the patriarchy and their privilege. OTOH, I’d say this ad supports my contention that our culture is still supporting the diminishing of girls in relation to boys.” – Pygmy Loris

    Sorry, but you don’t seem to know what men’s studies are actually about. The fact of the matter is that boys are now bringing home lower and lower grades, dropping out of school at a higher rate, and are more prone to drug and alcohol problems.

    While there are some people – idiots – who blame this directly on feminism, most do not.

    A large part of the problem is simply that boys and girls generally have different learning styles. When school curricula were designed by white males, it was white males that did the best. Our school system was changed, and teaching styles were changed, because feminists kept pointing out that girls didn’t learn well in the traditional environment. This is a good thing, by the way, and I wholeheartedly support those changes.

    However, it turns out that this is a system that is spectacularly unsuited to teaching males. An ideal educational system would tailor the program to each individual student. But that’s probably too expensive.

    I find this politically painful, but the best solution may be segregated classes. This sticks in my craw, as the mental image I keep getting is girls in Home Ec and boys in Shop. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    My wife’s father is involved in a segregated class pilot project in Mississauga, Ontario. According to him, it’s working out quite well.

    “Divorce is especially annoying. Someone I knew had a respectable father, but a mother with marbles for brains and an anger management problem, and she still won the children for the weekends. It would not have happened if she were the father.” – KathyXX

    To be honest, I’m surprised she didn’t win full custody. I’ve seen cases where women with a history of assault, both on their husbands and others, have been granted full custody of their children.

    Oh, and another one to add to the list of things most feminists don’t seem to want to engage in: the existence of female sex offenders. Most of our messaging about sexual assault assumes that men are the aggressors, and females are the victims. While this may be true in most cases, it is not true in every case.

    It is a very dangerous way of casting things that both demeans men and assists in the demonization of feminism. It’s also incredibly dismissive of the victims of sexual assaults by females. The fact of the matter is, women rape women, women rape children, and every once in a while, women rape men.

    When I was 11 years old, I was molested for several hours by a 17-year-old girl. I’ve only recently started talking to people about this, nearly 25 years later. Every time I’ve brought it up, I hear a new story about a female sex offender who wasn’t charged, usually because the crime wasn’t reported. The ones who did report it were simply not believed.

  237. #237 Carlie
    December 30, 2009

    Shouldn’t we worry more about parents teaching their kids how to USE one of these microscopes, any of these microscopes, than worrying about whether the advertisement color choice sneakily implies awful things about females in science?

    People are capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Expressing concern over sociological messages about one’s field of study being broadcast by one of the biggest toy companies in the country doesn’t sap all of the life force out of a person such that they are incapacitated to the point of not being able to explain what a condenser lens does.

  238. #238 Endor
    December 30, 2009

    IIRC, the gay panic defense doesn’t necessary free the murderer(s), but it does frequently get sentences reduced to “manslaughter”.

    I.e. http://jaysays.com/2009/10/the-gay-panic-defense-it-even-works-over-seas/

  239. #239 Endor
    December 30, 2009

    Damnit. Wrong thread. That’ll teach me to have two tabs open at once.

  240. #240 Endor
    December 30, 2009

    “However, it turns out that this is a system that is spectacularly unsuited to teaching males.”

    Is there any proof of this? It would be interesting to examine how much ingrained sexism is involved in boys not doing as well in school. Is it a matter of learning having become something girls do, and is therefore threatening to masculinity a la The Wimp Factor? (this is the general opinion of teachers I’ve talked to).

    “and another one to add to the list of things most feminists don’t seem to want to engage in: the existence of female sex offenders.”

    We don’t do enough – that I will grant you. There are many things we don’t do enough with/about – but it is not true that it is just ignored.

  241. #241 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    @Endor:

    Honestly, I don’t know if there’s any proof. I’ve only recently become engaged with these issues, so I should probably do more research before I start bandying opinions about. According to my wife’s father, boys and girls have distinctly different learning styles. That’s about as much as I know.

    The problem is real, but the underlying cause may be any of a variety of things.

    As for your second statement, I’m speaking from my own experience, combined with a large dollop of ignorance. I’ve successfully managed to avoid dealing with my own experiences for almost 25 years, and tried to avoid even thinking about sexual assault. So it’s my own ignorance speaking again.

    Just to be clear, I do think that anyone who blames these problems on misandry has got their head stuck quite a long way up their butt. I think the unwillingness of some people to believe that women never beat their partners, and never commit sexual assaults, is a deeply misogynistic viewpoint. Men are strong, women are weak. Men are of the world, women are not. And so on.

    Wow, the preceding paragraphs are a really nasty word salad. Oh well. Anyway, what’s this thread about again? Microtomes or something?

  242. #242 Carlie
    December 30, 2009

    socialjustice –
    Some of the drop in boys’ grades is just comparative to girls’ grades; it’s not that they’re doing objectively worse, it’s that the strategies have worked on girls so that they appear to be dropping simply because the girls are rising. Take college student breakdown. It used to be almost 100% male; now it’s closer to 50/50 (and sometimes a little above). Technically that means that fewer men are getting into college, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing worse; it means that girls are performing at the same level so that the overall standard cutoff is raised. I agree that there’s a lot that sucks about the way we do education, but I’d rather see a more refined breakdown than girls/boys. For example, my son and a girl in his class both need frequent breaks and repeated notifications of task switching because they’re both on the autism spectrum, not because they’re boys or girls. She would have just as much trouble in a sit-and-talk “girls” class as he would.

    I think the unwillingness of some people to believe that women never beat their partners, and never commit sexual assaults, is a deeply misogynistic viewpoint.

    I understand your frustration, and there are some people who have that problem. But if you’re referring to overall discussions of those topics, you may be noticing more a frustration of intrusion on specific spaces. I often see internet discussions that are about a problem specifically as it affects women, e.g. domestic abuse. Then someone comes into the discussion and says but men get abused too, and we should be talking about that. Yes, it happens, but that particular discussion is about the effects on women, and that comment is seen as a derail to go back and talk about men, which everything in society already revolves around. And then the original commenters get frustrated, and then the person wanting to talk about male abuse gets hurt, and then everything dissovles in a nuclear meltdown. You’ll see it labeled as the “but what about the menz?” argument. It’s not that so many people are reluctant to talk about it or don’t think it exists, but get upset when other conversations get taken over by it rather than the men who want to talk about it starting a new discussion specific to that angle.

    And if ToysRUs sold microtomes, I WOULD BUY ONE RIGHT NOW.

  243. #243 zeppo-marx
    December 30, 2009

    re: Because the boys’ version always defaults to the grown-up version, while the girls’ version is the infantilized and decorative version, not vice versa.

    Just curious, but why does “colour-choice” equate to infantilized but gray/black=grown-up? My wife bought a Dell – a way nicer laptop than my own. Paid to get it in the colour of her choice. Never thought her choice was les “grown up” than mine. Why do we equate that with “infantalizied”? Or what, exactly, is perjurative about having something decorative? Heck – Apple has made an entire business on making their hardware more stylish than others.

    Is the problem with the fact that we promote stylishness in girls? Or that we beat it out of boys? Bet every parent would buy their daughter the blue version if she wanted it. Bet not many would buy their boy the pink one. Wouldn’t want them to get laballed as “different”, “feminine”, “Stylish”, or have their sexuality questioned now would we?

    My daughter would choose the blue right now. She’s hooked on Sonic the Hedgehog these days. Last year she would have picked green. Either way, she’d mostly be dissapointed that the better model didn’t give her the choice, and hate that she had to trade form for function.

    So, is simply being decorative implicitly bad for girls? Frankly, I like the fact that my wife has the option to be feminine when she chooses. We should take that away from them?

    OR should we just do a better job of offering the same to both genders?

  244. #244 Carlie
    December 30, 2009

    Thinking of microtomes just reminded me:

    As for this It’s also not baby blue, yellow or flourescent green. People don’t buy expensive, quality equipment that looks like a toy.

    Scientific instruments came in avocado, terra cotta, beige, etc. in the 60s, 70s, and 80s in step with color fads in kitchen appliances. I learned how to cut thin sections on a gorgeously orange microtome, and have used baby blue, teal and maroon rock saws. A couple of years ago we got new Olympus scopes for the student labs, and the steely gray/black of the new model contrasts badly with the cream/brown of the previous models. Our old dissecting scopes are a medium blue. If you see a science lab where all the instruments are the same matching color, that means they bought everything within about a 5-year period.

  245. #245 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    Thanks Carlie. I’ve never seen anyone put it quite that way before, probably because I am afraid to become engaged with these issues, so I haven’t done as much reading as I should. It’s painful.

    I was sitting around with a friend of mine recently, who has also been sexually abused, and was also involved in an abusive relationship. The two of us had spent a solid hour whining about how there are no programs for men to deal with these issues.

    Then I suddenly had an epiphany: we could do it ourselves. After all, it’s not like the programs for women were the product of government or the work of beneficient males. Women had done it themselves, and we could too.

    We’re planning to reach out to local feminist organizations for their help on this. We’re both still afraid of being laughed at or yelled at. It’s probably simply not going to happen.

    Despite the fact that we are both married to feminists and consider ourselves feminists, there is still a tiny compartment in our brains labeled “Feminist Harpy”. It’s a caricature of something that does not exist.

    I’m Captain Mike, by the way. The socialjusticeforall thing is leftover from a blog I was going to start months ago and never got around too. It’s just the easiest way I have to sign in.

    Anyway, thanks for listening, and thanks for taking the time to explain a few things. Now everyone please go back to arguing about pinkness.

  246. #246 SC OM
    December 30, 2009

    Captain Mike,

    http://dahmw.org/

    http://domesticviolenceresourcesformen.blogspot.com/2007/12/domestic-violence-dahmworg-our-services.html

    http://www.malesurvivor.org/

    http://www.vaonline.org/sa.html

    *Not advocating any of these specific organizations, as I know nothing about them and just found them in a quick google search.

  247. #247 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    Thanks SC, you’re a peach. Or possibly some kind of non-genderized fruit, like an apple or something.

    I’m actually aware of a few of those. My buddy and I were bemoaning the lack of anything local. Those groups might have a better handle on how to get started than our local feminist organizations. I really don’t want to spend any more time with the “But what about the menz!” argument.

  248. #248 Kemist
    December 30, 2009

    Re boys school drop out, we’e heard a lot of nonsense also about this here in Canada. And this has led to catastrophic changes in the school curricula.

    First, they changed the evaluation method so much that both parents and students can’t really understand where they rank and what is asked of them. Second, they eliminated grade repeat, even for the worst students.

    A consequence of this is that you are frequently faced with high school students who can barely read, or don’t know their multiplication tables (most of the students I help, boy or girl, don’t know either their multiplication or addition tables – they count on their fingers. And none of them knows how to add fractions).

    These changes were made so that failing students:

    a) wouldn’t know that they’re failing
    b) wouldn’t get upset and discouraged of leaving their friends behind to repeat a grade

    But the problem is that they need that grade repeat. I don’t know how you can expect a slower student to suddenly show a steeper learning curve than the normal and learn both the things he’s supposed to know by now and the new things that are taught now.

    I think that faced with learning things they don’t understand, students are more prone to drop out, and that boys are more vulnerable because they can find relatively paying jobs compared to girls. Physically demanding shop jobs pay more than service jobs and are easier to get if you are male. In poorer settings, boys can easily find a satisfactory occupation in the crime world. For girls, the only way to achieve status and high pay is through education, and so they are more prepared to work hard for it.

    I teach/tutor a few adolescents and adults in science and maths, and my adult drop out cases all have lucrative jobs and nicer cars than mine.

  249. #249 SC OM
    December 30, 2009

    My pleasure.

    Those groups might have a better handle on how to get started than our local feminist organizations. I really don’t want to spend any more time with the “But what about the menz!” argument.

    I think your general fears about feminist organizations are ill-founded, but only some feminist organizations focus on sexual abuse and domestic violence issues, so organizations like those would probably be more helpful to you. (I think that last one has listings by state.) Another great resource is idealist.org – you can search by state or city using keywords. May not get you all the way to where you’re going, but can lead you in the right direction.

    Best of luck. OK, I’m off.

  250. #250 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    I’m thinking of a particular local organization that does focus on those issues. It’s called SACHA. By the way, malesurvivor.org looks great, given the cursory reading I gave it.

    Kemist makes some good points, especially from my perspective as a fellow Canuck. As I said earlier, I should learn more before shooting my mouth off.

    Now seriously people, back to microscopes.

  251. #251 AJS
    December 30, 2009

    @Endor, #240:

    Is it a matter of learning having become something girls do, and is therefore threatening to masculinity a la The Wimp Factor? (this is the general opinion of teachers I’ve talked to).

    This hypothesis deserves some investigation.

    There’s a message coming from somewhere that “you’re not a real woman unless you’re thin”. There’s another, equally pernicious message coming from somewhere that “you’re not a real man if you do Girls’ Stuff”.

  252. #252 Ol'Greg
    December 30, 2009

    he sad truth is that some feminist groups are as angry and hostile as some men’s rights groups. I understand why, although I’m not condoning it. It’s simply that I recognize my own emotional problems and have the good fortune of knowing where they’re rooted. Of course knowing isn’t fixing.

    The idea, as I understand it, is to better see the individuality of women, and so abuse is not specifically the target.

    One area of interest, to me, for instance is female sociopaths. I remember when I was in highschool years ago reading papers that were, albeit, a bit old by then (maybe from the 80′s?) talking about reasons why there were no female sociopaths. Of course, there are… the answer was damned simple. One didn’t need to look for complex sex based sociopath triggers. The answer was to take of the blinders and see that women may have different avenues to power and access to different types of victims, but that female sociopaths are not nearly as rare as we think they are. Of course, that’s no big news these days and yet in common culture you don’t see the sort of awareness of it you might expect. Or worse yet, you see a sort of “then all women are sociopaths” reaction, due to the women are legion fallacy.

    Also I think maybe a lot of it has to do with what people consider “normal” relationships. So the double edged sword of accepting male violence as normal and stifling male victims emerges partially because our society sees heterosexual male-dominant/aggressive relationships as normal somehow. A therapist friend of mine was just remarking on how many men she sees these days who’s main complaint was that their wives/girlfriends didn’t listen to them vent or didn’t just let them talk but rather always want to fix things.

    This dynamic until recently was always confined to being thought of as running the opposite direction. She was wondering whether men are changing and my thought is that they are not. Rather these men just would have had to keep their mouths shut or risk being seen as emotional or henpecked… or worse yet may have turned to aggression. So I saw it as a positive, that more of these guys are comfortable enough with themselves to voice their emotional needs and recognize that their partners are ignoring that.

    Turns out neither of us are from Mars or Venus. We’re all from Earth.

    As for myself, I can’t really consider myself a feminist. This isn’t because I think badly of feminism, but because I’m pretty deeply damaged and have my own work to do. I deal with a lot of anger and hatred towards men, but it is because of the things that happened in my life. Obviously, I can’t do any good for women’s rights in such a state. It will be enough for me if I ever enter a healthy heterosexual relationship. But the road to mental health is never easy I guess. The person I first finally confided in, and the first person I trusted was actually a man who had confided in me the terrible abuse he endured from his mother.

    So even anecdotally I know that much of what I deal with is the triggers that PTSD leaves you with :(

    As a result, studying or working in an area that is a landmine of triggers is just not a good idea for me.

    I am so good at oversharing, man.

    So very very good at it!

  253. #253 Ol'Greg
    December 30, 2009

    Oh I somehow deleted the first line of that post. It was slightly directed at Socialjusticeforall.

  254. #254 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    The sad truth is that some feminist groups are as angry and hostile as some men’s rights groups. – Ol’Greg.

    And it’s fairly easy to see why. A woman who discovers feminism, gets involved in feminist work, and then spends some time volunteering at, say, a Rape Crisis hotline, may very well develop a fairly negative view of men.

    This is understandable. It may even be excusable. But I don’t have to like it any more than I like men’s rights group who blame feminism for…well, anything. Oh, and Ol’Greg? Thank you for sharing. As a society, I think we desperately need to talk about these things. Or maybe it’s just me.

    @AJS: This is true. Both genders receive negative messages that are rooted in misogyny. I’ve actually been doing some research over the last year for a book that examines the male end of this in detail. The topic would be how misogyny hurts men, and I’ve already picked out a title* designed to offend the maximum number of people with the fewest amount of words.

    Essentially the idea the book would try to convey is that men should become feminist in outlook. Not for reasons of justice, but out of self-interest in a number of areas, including economic, political, and sexual.

    I spent the last seven years editing an automotive trade magazine, and one of the most discussed topics was how to get staff to stop being sexist jerks, as it’s really bad for business. Also, the skilled trades are in such bad shape right now that they can’t afford to NOT encourage girls to become tradespeople. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the end of sexism finally comes one day out of sheer economic necessity.

    *I’m burying the title a bit to make it hard to pick out. Here it is: Feminism = Pussy: An appeal to male self-interest. Don’t worry, there’s absolutely no way a publisher would put out a book with that title.

  255. #255 AJS
    December 30, 2009

    @socialjusticeforall

    Both genders receive negative messages that are rooted in misogyny.

    Or are misogyny and misandry just different manifestations of a more general hatred of people — the circle and the rectangle that two people see when looking at the same cylinder from different angles?

    I’ve actually been doing some research over the last year for a book that examines the male end of this in detail. The topic would be how misogyny hurts men

    This sounds fascinating. Any ideas when it might be ready?

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the end of sexism finally comes one day out of sheer economic necessity.

    There could be something in that. One of the side-effects of World War II was a shortage of labour, which was taken up by women. So the idea of a woman going to work and even wearing trousers became less scandalous, because it was just something people had to do.

    It’s not inconceivable that there could be just that kind of severe economic hardship in the West a few years down the line, when ordinary people in today’s developing countries decide they have had enough of being a source of cheap labour and want all the things that made manufacturing goods in the West prohibitively expensive in the first place. You know: fair wages, decent working conditions, pollution control and other such nuisances.

    I remember making a point with someone that in prehistoric times, society may well have been less sexist than it is today; a strong woman might well be more welcome in a hunting party than a weak man, if it made the difference between starvation and survival. The Agricultural Revolution and especially the Industrial Revolution have given people more free time to think about matters beyond merely staying alive till sunset. I’m not denying for a moment that they were Good Things, but that thinking has certainly wandered off into some pretty dark corners.

  256. #256 Carlie
    December 30, 2009

    socialjusticeforall – if you haven’t thought of it, do some searching under “patriarchy hurts men too” – for some reason the discussions/articles I’ve seen about misogyny’s effects on men are usually labeled as patriarchy instead (related but slightly different term).

    Back to science equipment and marketing, at my local ToysRUs they only have three microsopes on the shelves – one is the 450x (with a boy on the picture) for $20, the 600x pink for $35 (girl on the package), and a dual set with a 1200x microscope and telescope in the same package for $45, no kids on the package. Interestingly, the pink one was on the shelf at eye level; the other two were on the bottom shelf next to the floor. Looking around the entire section, there were a fairly decent number of girls on packaging, mostly for the CSI-themed stuff. There was only one non-white child pictured however, and that was a black girl along with a white boy on a rock tumbler package.

  257. #258 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    You’ll see it labeled as the “but what about the menz?” argument. – Carlie

    Oh my Ungod, I’ve become a feminist concern troll!

    @AJS: Not soon. I’ve got at least a couple more years of research ahead. It’s shaping up though.

    - Captain Mike

  258. #259 Ol'Greg
    December 30, 2009

    Hey, great Toys-R-Us footwork, Carlie :P

    Seriously though, if they offer the pink model in more ranges then that is only irritating in the “why pink” way at least.

  259. #260 pixelfish
    December 30, 2009

    Carley: Did you mean kyriarchy? (You repeat “patriarchy” twice, and I was wondering if the slightly different term you were referring to was “kyriarchy”.)

    ……

    I’ve often noticed that the pink versions cost more too. I used to call it the girly tax. And up until fairly recently, women’s razors used to cost more than men’s razors, so I’d just get the guy razors instead.

    Also irritating: Going to buy shoes recently, and discovering the the entire store’s selection of women’s sneakers consisted of white, pink, and silver-grey with pink accents. The guy’s side had charcoal, black, and charcoal with construction yellow accents. Oh, and one lonely pair of navy blue shoes. There was nearly no middle ground, as if marketeers feared that neither men nor women would buy in colours that did not scream out their gender. No greens, no oranges, very few reds. There was purple sneakers in the kids section–Dora shoes that were proclaimed to be girl’s shoes. Not even sure why we have gender-segregated sneakers. I’m going back to my Converse.

    …..

    And it’s fairly easy to see why. A woman who discovers feminism, gets involved in feminist work, and then spends some time volunteering at, say, a Rape Crisis hotline, may very well develop a fairly negative view of A SYSTEM THAT PRIVILEGES men.

    Fixed that for you. I read a lot of feminism blogs, and I have yet to find one that doesn’t feature posts on how the patriarchy screws with men too. I have yet to find one where male allies aren’t welcome either, as long as they grok their privileges. It’s a big system we’re trying to buck, and while there are some women with negative views of men, I think it’s problematic to characterise the very diverse feminist community as being monolithic that way. Or even blame feminism for it–specially when the supporters of kyriarchy/patriarchy system retrench to characterise feminist women as being the “man-haters”.

  260. #261 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    Actually, I was referring to individual feminists, not feminism in general. So my original remark stands.

    Note that the next part of my comment wouldn’t make any sense if I changed the first part as you suggest.

  261. #262 socialjusticeforall
    December 30, 2009

    This is understandable. It may even be excusable. But I don’t have to like it any more than I like men’s rights group who blame feminism for…well, anything. – Me, earlier

    See? I do understand why people have a negative view of that system*, I don’t need to excuse that viewpoint, and I like and agree with that viewpoint.

    Sorry for hammering on this, but I don’t want my views misinterpreted.

    *Short answer: it sucks.

  262. #263 pixelfish
    December 30, 2009

    Socialjustice: Thanks for the clarification.

  263. #264 Ol'Greg
    December 30, 2009

    Pixelfish: Puma and Nike have some nice shoe options in good colors for both sexes. I may have an advantage because at my height I can easily buy men’s shoes if I want, especially in Pumas because they’re narrow anyway.

    The thing is you have to go to their actual store or online rather than the general running/sport store.

  264. #265 Danno Davis
    December 31, 2009

    god, scintillating conversation. i’m gonna need to get high and follow these threads more often, i see..

  265. #266 Richard Eis
    December 31, 2009

    I want to know more about these supposed different learning methods for boys/girls. Sounds a bit fishy to me.

  266. #267 SQB
    December 31, 2009

    Back on topic, from a “Lady Geek” study by Saatchi & Saatchi:

    Only nine per cent of respondents think it’s important that their gadgets look feminine. This is supported by qualitative feedback from opinion leaders and consumers who feel “patronised” and “offended” by the abundance of pink products available at the expense of the sleek and beautifully designed and packaged products they want to see.

  267. #268 jo
    December 31, 2009

    I have no problem with the pink. Having colours is great. HOWEVER, I do have a problem with the items being less powerful, useful, educational etc. The standard of quality shouldn’t suffer because it is pretty or fun.

  268. #269 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 31, 2009

    And up until fairly recently, women’s razors used to cost more than men’s razors

    They work better. My wife and I were apart for two years while we were postdocs…when she would visit, she would invariably leave one of those nice big pink shower leg shaving razors in the bathroom, and I was guaranteed to get a few comfortable shaves out of it. I would never buy one myself, though…not because they are pink, but because I am a cheapskate.

  269. #270 socialjusticeforall
    December 31, 2009

    @Richard Els: There’s a link below, but it’s from the National Association for Single Sex Education. In other words, they have a clear agenda to promote.

    http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-learning.htm

    And another:

    http://www2.edc.org/WomensEquity/pubs/digests/digest-singlesex.html#Wahl

    The author of the second article says “…the research base is quite limited,” and “There is a great deal that we don?t know about the efficacy of educating girls and boys in single-sex settings.”

  270. #271 socialjusticeforall
    December 31, 2009

    In conclusion, my five minutes of reading have left me with no clear ideas of any kind.

    Here’s one more page:

    http://www.education.com/topic/gender-differences/

    That page says “Here is the evidence demonstrating how boys are disadvantaged:” and lists a bunch of articles. It does the same for girls.

    However, I skimmed through the “evidence” quickly and it looks like a collection of newspaper style articles, rather than actual studies. There are lots of assertions presented as facts, but that’s about it.

    I did a little more digging, and I found a paragraph that makes me think the entire site is bollocks:

    Evolutionary anthropologist John Townsend?s studies show that sexually active women with extremely liberal sexual attitudes aren?t able to deal with casual sex emotionally. They feel used, hurt, and demeaned after sleeping with men uninterested in relationships.

    This is the old “women are legion” thing again, isn’t it? I’ve had roughly 13 quintillion sex partners, with relationships ranging from completely casual to marriage, and I don’t think any of those women felt used, hurt, and demeaned. Maybe John Townsend is just doing it* wrong.

    It also doesn’t explain the many female friends I have that not only do not mind NSA sex, but actively seek it out. I know a few female swingers who got into the lifestyle, have stayed in the lifestyle, and seem happy with that, without a partner being involved at all.

    *Either the sex he’s having or the research he’s doing. If you did a study like that at Liberty University, then I wouldn’t be surprised to find those results. If you did the exact same study at the parking lot of a bar called “Let’s Get Fucky”, you would probably get very different results.

    - Captain Mike

  271. #272 Richard Eis
    January 1, 2010

    Enough said I think Captain Mike.

  272. #273 Alvin
    January 3, 2010

    I ws grntd t gt fw cmfrtbl shvs t f t

  273. #274 Steven Mading
    January 4, 2010

    there were a fairly decent number of girls on packaging, mostly for the CSI-themed stuff. There was only one non-white child pictured however, and that was a black girl along with a white boy on a rock tumbler package.

    On that note, I have noticed that the various CSI-like TV shows seem to have done a fairly good job of balancing the male and female thinkers on the shows, having them coming up with the cruicial “a-Ha!” information with about equal frequency.

  274. #275 ogcookierooks
    January 9, 2010

    ::sigh:: I love pink. I have a pink cell phone, pink laptop, pink DS…I just like pink. And yeah, I’m a girl. I also have an undergraduate degree in Biology and a daughter. So this sort of thing irks me. If pink is such a desired color that you’d specifically make a microscope in pink, then we need to offer *all of the models in pink. In fact, let’s branch out and get crazy with our equipment. I say let’s move beyond the science geek stereotype and offer red, blue, green, yellow AND pink.

    Signed,
    Yep, my nails match my laptop – even when I’m gram staining my slides…

  275. #276 macherb
    February 24, 2010

    Didn’t they learn anything from the Barbie/Hotwheels computer debacle last decade?

    http://vintagecomputing.com/wp-content/images/retroscan/mattelpc_large.jpg

    The Barbie computer had also less powerful and different software. In any event, the program was a huge failure. Girls understand when they’re being “dummed down to” by advertisers. They are simply not interested in having less than. They also know what kinds of things they want in pink (serious technology is usually not the case) Personal technology (cell phones, pagers) sure, but not production tech.

    Advertisers get a clue. TALK to some real girls and ask them what they would like.

  276. #277 xingqiang
    November 5, 2010

    America is a big country with various popular sports and American football is one of them. NFL, the National Football League, is the highest level of professional American football in the United States. The hot sport also makes NFL Jerseys more and more popular. It represents a fashion, no matter you are sport fans or not. Nowadays everyone is getting involved in NFL gear and make money from the NFL jerseys because it becomes a growing business.
    But how to get into & make money from it? It is necessary to investigate the marketing and make some researches on NFL Jerseys before you begin it. Then find a reliable wholesaler & build a good cooperation with them. At present, most people prefer to on-line business due to its convenience. There are lots of NFL Jerseys wholesalers and choose reliable one is very important. Some of wholesalers send you nothing even they receive money. Secondly, the low price is also very important due to strongly competitive markets. The lower price you get, the more profit you will make. Meanwhile, you also need compare the quality of the NFL Jerseys. Most wholesalers are in China and they provide low price with high quality of the NFL Jerseys.

  277. #278 xingqiang
    November 5, 2010

    America is a big country with various popular sports and American football is one of them. NFL, the National Football League, is the highest level of professional American football in the United States. The hot sport also makes NFL Jerseys more and more popular. It represents a fashion, no matter you are sport fans or not. Nowadays everyone is getting involved in NFL gear and make money from the NFL jerseys because it becomes a growing business.
    But how to get into & make money from it? It is necessary to investigate the marketing and make some researches on NFL Jerseys before you begin it. Then find a reliable wholesaler & build a good cooperation with them. At present, most people prefer to on-line business due to its convenience. There are lots of NFL Jerseys wholesalers and choose reliable one is very important. Some of wholesalers send you nothing even they receive money. Secondly, the low price is also very important due to strongly competitive markets. The lower price you get, the more profit you will make. Meanwhile, you also need compare the quality of the NFL Jerseys. Most wholesalers are in China and they provide low price with high quality of the NFL Jerseys.

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