This isn’t a photo of me, but this is what I must look like in the eyes of marketing departments mired so deep in gender stereotyping that pacifiers are marketed as for boys or girls solely on whether they are pink or blue with green specifically labelled as unisex in a misguided attempt to appease.
I sign up for various marketing programs to receive vouchers, special rewards and the usual “giveaways”. I also fill out official forms for things like registering to a pediatrician or a nursery. I have a identifiably masculine first name and I always tick the box (where available) indicating that I’m male.
Nevertheless, every single letter or packet I receive from these things is addressed to, “Mrs. XXX”
I don’t care if they mis-address me. It doesn’t bother me personally, but it does for some and regardless of that it clearly highlights the gender stereotype that is still very deeply ingrained in our society:
It is the woman who takes care of the baby.
Pink is a feminine color, blue is masculine.
There is no innate tendency to either of these things with the possible exception that it’s mostly a woman who must breastfeed. Still, in this day and age, there is no lack of possibilities for a man to bottle feed with pumped breast milk (because we all know the benefits of it over formula milk, even if modern formula milk is of really high quality and nutritional value).
It just struck me that this is probably the same reason that people never seem to notice when I am carrying my son. I use a carrier like the Moby Wrap or the Beco Butterfly. I like the body contact and find them a lot more practical than a pram, especially on public transport. Usually, no one notices him until they bump in to him as they try to push past me. The same is not true for my wife. They probably just see a young, fit man and subconsciously filter out that I may be carrying a child.
I wonder if there have been any studies done on this…