Things labeled "for women" are subconsciously misogynistic. Soft colors, rounded edges, and with a huge focus on the children and husbands of the targeted woman. How can this product make a women better for the benefit of the people in her life rather than for herself?
Sure, not every product or service with this label are pushing that stance. But after attending many events specifically catering to women, all have displayed common traits that are too blatant to ignore.
I attended a financial strategies event that was hosted by a women oriented organization and had "Strong Women" in the title. It was about saving for retirement, how to invest your money for future wealth and stability, and how soon you should be doing what. I was excited, since I hate money topics, that this would give me clear steps on how to go about setting up investments and the like.
Boy was I way off.
It introduced vague topics like, "What are your dreams?" and "Keep looking ahead."
I thought I would be given a guide of steps I need to take in order to best prepare for a financial future of independence. Or where do I begin if I want to invest, who to contact, what are my options, common investment accounts. You know, money stuff. Or an outline of what are my assets now and what new ones do I want later down the line. Logical steps to achieving a singular goal.
Instead, we were rushed through a slide show with brief touch on different types of markets; Bull, Swing, and Bear. That was the most useful content our speaker covered. And I'm not giving the guy any flack, I'm sure he's good at his job. But he seemed to lean on his history of being around strong women in his life that he knows the best language to teach other women.
Another big issue I had was the heavy focus on married women and children. Yes, being married does grant some financial perks. But not everyone is married. And to that point, not everyone wants to get married. Same applies for having children. Out of the five women our speaker covered, that were all fake for this presentation, only one was single without children. But he did emphasize she was "thinking about the future." Another vague statement.
All the language boiled down to "Think about everyone else, because you're just here to take care of them." How do you save your money to make sure your kids get into college? Will you be able to take care of the family if your husband gets laid off? What if something happens to you, who will take care of everyone?
Yes, this information applied to 99% of the room. But what about us non-married, child-free professionals? We have goals and dreams and a desire to move forward in a vague manner. Where's the money talk for those women?
Events, seminars, lunch and learns, and all things catered to women have worn me down by being too soft. Women are strong and can handle way more than even our fellow ladies give us credit for. Putting pastel colors and rounded edges doesn't improve your message for a female audience: it keeps them down.
It labels us as only being receptive to feminine things because we can't handle it any other way.
"This topic about thermodynamics is too much for them. Let's put in some pinks and purples into the presentation. That'll help them understand such a complex subject!"
This has turned into a bit of a rant, I know. But it's an issue that I have noticed over the time I've been a freelance designer. All the women focused events and organizations I've gone to are all guilty of catering to their audience this way. They don't provide solid guidelines or steps, they make blanket statements and send you on your way. Or they offer you more cheesecake and coffee.
My point is, women need to acknowledge our strength and play up to it; not play down to it. You can keep your pastel colors and soft focus photos in your slide show, but please don't talk down to us. We women get that enough as it is.