The British retailer "Madhouse" has caused a firestorm across the pond, and on Twitter, for the "sexist" trousers they sell.
The jeans, first brought to the public's attention by Emma Barnett of London's Daily Telegraph, have the care instructions you've probably become accustomed to seeing. The label begins "Machine Wash Warm. Inside Out With Like Colors...Tumble Dry Medium," but after that comes, "-OR- Give It To Your Woman. It's Her Job."
It seems as though this label is not part of the "brand" or image of the jeans, but was simply stumbled upon by unsuspecting customers. According to Ms. Barnett:
There was no attempt at wit, and unlike the Topman t-shirts, which offended so many with their brazen slogans to be worn across young men’s chests - this was a hidden message - or rather an order, intended to encourage women to reassume their once their ‘proper place’ (in the home) and young men to maintain the expectations of their grandfathers.
Even the language – ‘Your Woman’ – presupposed some kind of Neanderthal mentality from my boyfriend, an unwilling shopper after some affordable chinos – preferably not lined with sexist imperatives.
And after she posted the image of the label on Twitter, Barnett said:
...tweeters were soon expressing their own shock at the washing instruction and letting me know that they would boycott Madhouse – even though the majority of them had never heard of this discounts men’s clothing shop. The subject even started trending on Twitter.
But then, cue the predictable minority chorus of men telling me to “lighten up” and “learn how to take a joke”...One man told me not to "get my knickers in a twist" - which albeit patronising, was at least an attempt at humour.
And what does the retailer, Madhouse, have to say about all this? Their representative, Mikk Tesseras, insists that they are not responsible for the tag, rather, the pants are commissioned and manufactured abroad, and the care tag is added after manufacturing. An investigation is currently underway as to how this particular tag got on the jeans.
So what do you think? Is it wildly inappropriate to sneak this sort of comment into someone's clothing, or is it just a practical joke gone wrong?