PinkStinks and the Early Learning Centre

You may recall my post a while back showing “girl” globes–remember? Pink ocean for the little ladies? Well, I’m very pleased to take another look at this PinkStinks website and find that their Christmas campaign is aimed and getting the Early Learning Centre (retailer of the girl globe and other fine needlessly gendered items) to stop the pinkification!:

Early Learning Centre or Early Learning Emergency? is our Christmas campaign calling for the ELC to stop its pinkification and gender-stereotyping of children’s toys.

We know the ELC is not the only toy retailer involved in this practice but we believe that by styling its stores as centres of learning the company is making our children a promise it has an absolute duty to live up to.

In our opinion, by stocking toys which can send narrow and damaging messages to children about what it is to be a girl or a boy, the company is not delivering on that promise.
Please help us by boycotting the ELC or its ‘pink’ products; complain to your local ELC branch manager or email or write to ELC headquarters and your local MP.

Well put! Check their site for details on how you can get involved!

Be Counted

Spirit of our Time drew our attention to this project to produce data about the relative numbers of men and women attending tech events. The people behind it say,

The project aims to collect a stream of user-contributed data on gender diversity in technology environments in the form of Gender Ratio Reports (GRRs). The longterm aim of the project is to not just collect but also provide tools for retrieving and visualizing the data in order to encourage others to collectively analyze the patterns behind the numbers.

Although this project is aimed at people attending tech events, it might also be useful to collect data like this about philosophy conferences.

Thanks to Spirit of our Time for sending this in!

Pink Stinks

Reader Nic sent us a link to

PinkStinks is a campaign and social enterprise that challenges the culture of pink which invades every aspect of girls’ lives.

This site is for parents and non parents alike, and aims to gather support, promote discussion and ultimately to mobilize that support to influence marketeers and the media about the importance of promoting positive gender roles to girls.

I haven’t had a chance to give it a good look, but I like what I see so far! I especially *love* the “I’m no princess” tees in their online shop! Have a look and let us know what you think. Thanks, Nic!

Sex sells – doesn’t it?

The received wisdom states that sex sells. Dandruff shampoo, electric toothbrushes, household cleaning products – hardly the sexiest of items. But adverts often hint that using them increases our bedroom allure. It’s not just marketeers that adhere to this tenet. Hollywood also uses sex to sell its products. When was the last time you saw a film without a ‘love interest’? Even Wall-E – Disney’s rubbish-picking robot who saves humanity from a life of obesity lounging in hi-tech deck chairs, floating on a space station, high above the surface of the planet we ruined with our endless production of waste – finds love with a female robot. Many of the films meant for those old enough to vote go the whole hog and show their protagonists humping and panting with abandon at least once. The assumption being that crank up the sexual heat, and the horny hordes will flock to see the film.

Is there anything wrong with this? Well, possibly. One might argue that the images of sex presented in Hollywood films are unrealistic and might affect people’s sexual expectations. Perhaps this is especially the case for young people watching the film. Of course, films carry a rating, but at eighteen, one’s views of the world are still being formed. Indeed, perhaps one carries on forming them all one’s life. And in any case, people much younger than eighteen watch eighteen-rated films. Films often link sexiness with violence, thereby making violence seem sexy. How many times have we seen the heroine, half-naked, pouting, and in peril? Yes, we know it’s just a film. But no matter how much we know, that doesn’t protect us from conditioning. Actresses may find that they have to get their kit off on camera to get anywhere. They may be expected to take on highly sexualised roles, that make them uncomfortable. Perhaps this is more of a problem for women than men. No doubt there are other reasons why Hollywood sex is problematic. Having said that, I wouldn’t want to suggest that there should be no sex at all of any sort in films, but it would perhaps a good thing to get away from the sort of soft porn that seems to have been steadily creeping into mainstream blockbusters.

It’s interesting, then, to hear of a study carried out by Anemone Cerridwen and Dean Keith Simonton, which suggests that the received wisdom – at least with respect to Hollywood – might be wrong. They studied 914 Hollywood films between 2001-2005, and discovered that explicit sexual content doesn’t equal greater box office success. They also studied the impact of female involvement on a film’s sexual content to see whether there was any correlation, discovering that the number of females on the cast made a difference. It would be interesting to know if a similar study has ever been carried out on the impact of sex on advertising. Their article can be accessed here.

Via Women and Hollywood.

Thanks to Vishal Lama, for sending this in!