While standing in the (long) line to pay at Modell’s Sporting Goods here in NYC the other day, I noticed something interesting: the “men’s” and “women’s” socks for sale by the cashier. So I went to their website to conduct further research and this is what I saw…
Why are the men’s socks shades of white and gray, while the women’s are the typically ‘feminine’ shades of purple, white, blue and red? Do females inherently want to exercise in these colors? I doubt it. So I continued, and sorted the socks by “Bestselling”:
Hmmm. Interesting. Both men’s and women’s socks had plain black and plain white as 2 out of 3 of their top bestsellers. The men’s also included black with a splash of bright red and blue, and the women’s also included a multi-color pack including bright red, orange, and blue block colors (read: not striped, purple, or light ‘feminine’ shades). Also, I think it’s important to note that the colorful women’s bestseller was notably cheaper ($6.99 for 10 pairs) than the plain white bestseller ($18 for 3 pairs, but Nike). Okay. How about sorting the socks by “Our Picks”?
The men’s picks are reasonably in line with the men’s bestsellers – one black, one white and one with a bit of color (albeit more color in the picks than in the bestsellers). But the women’s picks are not in line with the women’s bestsellers at all! Where’s the white? Where’s the black? Where’s the solid block colors? Where are the packs without pink or purple?
Women are telling Modell’s what they like, by purchasing what they like. Modell’s are seemingly ignoring this, and curating something entirely different for them. Why? Surely it makes business sense to give, and suggest to, customers what you know they like (and they do know, as they have must have data to be able to list their bestsellers). I can’t definitively answer this, but I can damn well guess: sexism. People think that that’s what women should like and what women should wear. Even in the face of cold, hard data, this seems to be ingrained.
At least at Modell’s, the women’s socks and the men’s socks were the same price. Unlike the Bic pen and the women’s Bic pen. Unlike regular earplugs and women’s earplugs. These show the exact same gender divide, but actually price the women’s version higher than the men’s. Because they are pink? #logic
This is silly. Please listen to us (women). We don’t all like pink stuff. We aren’t all coming to buy colorful stuff. Some of us are, but not in such overwhelming numbers that it should be our first and foremost option. We probably aren’t coming to buy pink stuff that is more expensive than non-pink stuff, or pink, purple and turquoise stripy socks over plain ones. Please stop defaulting women with pink/colorful/different. You’ll probably benefit financially from this too (see my above comment re business sense) – you’re welcome.