Thursday, December 2, 2010


French Connection's "This Is The Man/This Is The Woman" ad campaign has been around for many months now. It has bothered me right from the start. The Man in this campaign is presented as active: the copy is in all caps, and often in quotations - he speaks for himself, in an assertive voice. The Woman is passive: the copy (with standard capitalization) makes observations about her appearance. In the example above, The Man says, "DO NOT DRESS LIKE CHILD." Apparently this maxim does not apply to The Woman, of whom it is written, "The woman is not undersized. The jacket is oversized. But the effect - it is the same." The Man asserts rigid standards of masculinity, while The Woman is infantilized and objectified. 

Today I went to the mall. At French Connection was the most gratuitously sexist window display I have ever seen.

The copy on the window reads, "THE MAN ENDURES CHRISTMAS" which, first of all, is a highly unseasonal sentiment, and a rather ineffective way to get people in the Christmas shopping spirit. The mannequins are posed with punching bags, which I suppose is how The Man is supposed to take out his frustration with the holiday season. All the men I know who enjoy Christmas must either be pretending, or they aren't Real Men. 

On the other hand, "The woman prepares for Christmas." Which not only makes her the presumptive homemaker, but also the source of The Man's annoyance. How is she preparing for Christmas? Apparently, by standing with a fan blowing up her skirt. Again, while the male figures are depicted as active, the female figures are passive and ornamental. 

This display isn't unique to the one FCUK location. Apparently, it's in other locations around the city too, and, one assumes, across North America. 

Fuck you, FCUK. 


  1. Wow, that... doesn't even make any sense.

  2. I saw that Christmas every day for the last three weeks (I had to be in a mall). It was bugging me so much and it's good to hear other people are noticing it too.

    Whiner: It doesn't make sense...I don't get what a punching bag has to do with Christmas at all?

  3. They had one in England which, for the lady, read something like 'Everyone is only looking at you because of your dress. What, you think YOU'RE pretty?' and I wanted to chuck a brick through the window. Ridiculous.

  4. "Endure" does actually seem like an appropriate word to describe my attitude towards Christmas. I'm a guy, but I think that's the case with most of my female friends as well.

  5. @ Amelia jane
    Wow. I think THAT qualifies as the most gratuitously sexist window display ever. That's really horrible.
    And why do they think a good way to sell things is to insult their customers?

  6. @Amelia jane and Christina


  7. I'vejust been in to a F.C. shop to complain about their sexist drivel. It's terrible.

  8. (Eye twitches) And this is why I have learned to hate shopping more as my feminism has grown...

  9. I think it's clever it's playing on stereotypes and to be offended is quite humorous.

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