The Great 77% Off Sale

Every so often a fairly silly meme takes off and makes the social media rounds—it’s invariably the silly ones, rarely the meaningful or thoughtful ones—and this week’s lucky winner is a tweet from tweeter and evolutionary biology professor Katie Hinde, who took it upon herself to do this:

Yes, yes she did, and some time later some poor tired old Target retail associate came along, saw those tank tops on the rack, sighed, and moved them back to the boys’ section. And life went on, as it does.

There is a certain subset of feminism that believes, with no evidence or else with the stupidest evidence imaginable, that the only thing keeping more women out of Mars-bound rocket ships is—well, the placement of tank tops in Middle America retail stores. There has been an enormous drive in recent years to get more young women involved in science and technology, and I guess this is another shot fired across the bow of  what Katie Hinde apparently believes is some sort of Grand Sexist Conspiracy to keep young women out of Merritt Island, I guess.

Consider the facts, however. If indeed, there were this massive untapped retail potential that Target were severely underutilizing—if they could reasonably expand their marketing strategies to effectively advertise all of their children’s lines to all of their child customers, regardless of sex—then surely they would do it. Put another way, who do you think knows better how to make Target customers buy more Target clothes: Target, or a college professor? Put yet another way: why does Target divide its clothing styles between boys and girls, and why does it make those styles different—NASA on one side, floral prints on the others?

Consider this possibility: on average, most young girls are not really all that interested in NASA stuff. They are, quite frankly, probably more interested in “girly” stuff like flowers and kittens and other cute things. Surely there are some girls who want to buy rocket-ship-themed summer clothing, and that’s fine—they’re welcome to it, as welcome as they are to fly those rocket ships one day. But there is a reason that massive cutthroat retailers, to a man, organize their clothing by sex: it’s because girls and boys, men and women, overwhelmingly want to purchase different things, and retailers want to cater to those desires. And that’s okay.

3 comments

  1. Luke

    Ah, yes, the classic two sides to the capitalism coin, as told by braindead leftists: capitalistic firms are rapacious, soul-sucking, relentless vehicles of greed that want to extract every last dollar of profit from the American people, by any means necessary…that is, until they decide to reinforce patriarchal social mores by the placement of their NASA t-shirts. Then they’ll willingly lose money. As long as they can be sexist.

    Pick one, idiots.

  2. David

    I understand your point that retailer’s s.a. Target do their market research & select & place products based on their opinions on what consumers want. Consumers then make their decisions based on the correlation between what they believe they want & what they find in the marketplace. The question becomes, to what extent are consumers choices in their retail decisions a true reflection of their personal desires & to what extent are they reflections of external social constrictions?

    Daniel , I appreciate your sentiment that “Surely there are some girls who want to buy rocket-ship-themed summer clothing, and that’s fine—they’re welcome to it, as welcome as they are to fly those rocket ships one day.” Not that long ago such sentiments would have been anathema to most conservatives if not most Americans. It’s good to see just how far we’ve come that even a conservative such as yourself would accept that level of equal opportunity for women.

    I’ve been watching the current National Geographic biopic of Albert Einstein & was struck by his relationship with Mileva Marić who was a highly intelligent physicist in her own right. The depiction of the hurdles she had to overcome to pursue her passion for physics are worthy of consideration & we might wonder how many people of genius were unable to share their talents with the world because the particular form of their gift was unacceptable in their particular social milieu. It took extraordinarily liberal parents to allow for a Marie Curie to pursue her passions. Conservative elements in every age have always claimed that there were never significantly inappropriate hurdles for people to pursue the opportunities for which they were fit. Such claims have been made in regards to every “restricted minority” throughout time. I think it is probable that in the present, opportunities are more equitably available than ever before in history. That doesn’t mean that equal opportunity applies equally to all.

    As I have essentially said before, history could be considered in terms of a tension between liberal & conservative elements. Simplistically stated, the Conservative elements being necessary to temper the excesses of Liberalism & Liberalism being necessary to temper the stagnation of Conservatism. Arguably, the reason we don’t speak Chinese today is due to the excessive conservatism of the court of Ming Empire.

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