A man’s iron?

// 3 June 2005

Argos are to market a range of irons designed for men, The Guardian reports.

Apparently, “real men want a real iron”. On the one hand, women still do a vastly disproportionate amount of domestic chores and efforts to change that should be applauded. But this is wrapped up in an indigestible bundle of sexist, gender stereotyping.

The “men’s” iron will have “extra power knobs and sleeker designs, some in black rather than the traditional pastel and white, in the image of a 4×4 car”, and will be described in macho language.

Eddie Kemp, Argos’ iron buyer, said: “A man’s psychology toward ironing differs vastly to that of a woman. Women want to get rid of creases while men want to destroy them.”

So far, so much gender stereotyping of the most basic type. More men are doing their own ironing, so iron makers must sell them “masculine” irons? Argos says it is helping men overcome the “stigma” of helping out around the house. We are in a very sorry state if we need to rely on irons that look like “space stations” for men to pull their weight, or if those irons need to be marketed in such a retrogressive, sexist way.

As Pauline Maclaran, who specialises in gender marketing at De Montfort University, said to The Guardian: “It is stereotyping, but it’s being very blatant about it. It says women can’t deal with technology and it’s deliberately saying that the higher end of the market is for men.”

On a different note, Julie Bindel reflects on coming out and Channel 4’s adaptation of Julie Burchill’s Sugar Rush.

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