Is Gender Specific Marketing Dying Out: An Opinion Piece
The world has become increasingly complex. Thanks in no small part to the advent of the internet and, primarily, social media. But this complexity isn’t a bad thing in every respect. Thanks to the internet, social media, and social activism we have seen massive strides taken for the civil rights movements across the world. LGBTQ+ Communities are standing strong and growing. People are being more honest with themselves and living authentic lives. People are tackling racism and institutional sexism more and more every day.
The hate-filled systems we have been living in are being dismantled slowly. And this is leading to massive changes in the way we live our life. This leads us to today’s topic. Is Gender-Specific Marketing dying out? We will be examining the arguments that people make for and against it.
We feel we should mention that our own opinion will be expressed at the end of the argument. Not every view expressed in this article represents our own views.
Before we ask if it is a good or bad thing, we need to clarify what gendered marketing is. The easiest way to picture gendered marketing would be to imagine a toy store from the early 2000s. Everything is split into two convenient sections. Boys and girls. Blue and pink. Dolls and action figures. And even back then you had some products that could go on either side, but primarily the boy’s toys were shown as masculine and dangerous while the girl’s section was all dolls and figurines. Makeover kits and the like.
The idea is simple. Market products to a certain gender-based on societal norms of what that gender likes and what it doesn’t like. Wine is marketed to women. Beer to men. Flowers are marketed to women. Cars to men. It is important to note that this is always based on a subjective view of society. There is no rule book for most products on which gender they belong to.
The exception to this is, of course, products marketed for medical reasons at a certain gender. Tampons, genital shavers, massager products for women. Some stuff was clearly meant to be for a specific gender. But nowadays this line has become even more blurred.
Gender as a Social Construct
More and more we are realizing that gender is a social construct. Something separate from sex altogether. Gender is not binary and it is not set in stone. People can change their gender, move between them. Even forgo gender altogether. And with that notion, we come into the main crux of the marketing issue.
As gender becomes more fluid, is gendered marketing even relevant anymore? Some who are assigned female at birth might love action figures and identify as a boy. Or they might love action figures but identify as a girl still. The issue that then comes up is that they might be less willing to buy those action figures because of the marketing. They could worry they wouldn’t be a girl anymore if they buy a boy’s toy.
The Argument For
Despite gender becoming more fluid in our society, there is still a huge percentage of the world that conforms to the older gender norms. Many religions and entire nations do not agree with this new-wave ideology. So to suddenly forgo gendered marketing could be a massive problem for a lot of companies.
Some people like gendered marketing. It helps them make their choices and gives them a sense of self when they buy products aimed at their gender. For them, it isn’t a bad thing or something to be ashamed of. It is a positive force that helps them while they shop.
From a business standpoint, it would be foolish to ignore this fact completely. Keeping customers happy means bringing in more profit. But this does have to be balanced against the new wave of ‘cancel culture’ that social media has brought upon us. It has become a minefield to do anything that this new ideology disagrees with. If you do then the loud minority will call out your company and this can direct potential customers away from you.
What we Think
So where do we weigh in on all this? Personally, we believe that gender is indeed a spectrum and is not fixed at all. People know themselves better than anyone else. They know who they are inside and how they want to identify. And this ideology isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, we predict that in a few years it will become the norm for all gender discussion.
To that end, we also think that it is definitely time for gendered marketing to go the way of the dinosaurs. In all actuality, it seemingly does more harm than good. It forces children to ignore things they might otherwise enjoy and, from a business perspective, shuts off an entire demographic of potential customers.
In the world of marketing, you need to think long-term. And any short-term damage caused by forgoing gendered marketing will be offset by the massive gains that will be made in the far future. It pays to be ahead of the curve on social issues such as this. So we think to do away with gendered marketing and embrace the future with open arms.