Pushing a shopping trolley up and down the aisles of the supermarket while doing the weekly grocery shopping is generally one of those activities you do on auto pilot. List in hand; you methodically, even robotically, toss the same old things in the trolley most weeks. I for one, don’t expect to come across something seemingly innocent that makes me almost shout out loud “WHAT?!”
Yet that’s exactly what happened recently. Reaching for a simple bottle of cordial, my sons’ favourite flavour, this is what I saw:
It seems that Australia’s favourite brand of cordial thought it was okay to design a whole campaign around the idea of boys versus girls. This labelling on this bottle stopped me (quite literally) in my tracks. Let’s take a closer look.
The very use of the word “versus” implies a battle or fight over which side is to be deemed better, stronger, and ultimately the winner. Cottee’s seem to think it’s a clever marketing to pit children against each other on the sole basis of gender. They even boast that it’s “the oldest showdown ever!” It makes me wonder what kind of morons Cottee’s is actually paying for these lazy, unimaginative, and insulting ideas.
Then there is the designation of boys and girls flavours. Apparently each flavour is available with either a “boys’ or “girls” tag. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only parent who grabs the “wrong” one. I was looking at the flavours and didn’t even notice everything else happening on the label immediately. Luckily for me, my four year old can’t read. And what if you have two school age children who can read and happen to like the same flavour? Do you buy them one each? The whole idea is just beyond ridiculous.
The head of corporate affairs at Cottee’s parent company, Schweppes Australia, Ms Robyn Newman had this to say about the promotion:
“it’s all about promoting fun and healthy play”
“It’s certainly not promoting one gender over the other”.
According to their Facebook page (as much as I could figure without actually hitting “like”), the idea is to promote active outdoors challenges to see who the winner is. This is all good and well. We Aussies are an outdoors-y lot, and as this was a summer campaign it makes some amount of sense. So why the “boys versus girls” labelling? Why not a “healthy summer activity” type of spin?
And as Ms Newman says, it’s not actually promoting one gender over the other, but what’s even worse than that is the encouragement of a gender based battle against one another. Using the word “versus” pretty much ensures it.
At a time in our culture when there is a school in Sweden doing away with all gender terms and stereotypes to allow children to learn and play free of society’s expectations, this is just not acceptable.
Boys versus girls is as out-dated and unfair as the whole blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls thing. Really old fashioned, and really uncool.
So for now I will be buying another brand of cordial. Hell, I will gladly pay a few bucks more per bottle because this, Cottee’s, stinks.
Gender wars for school kids?
Sorry, no sale.
By Ana Pedic, you can find more of her amazingness here: http://adayinthelifeofana.com/