Friday, February 10, 2012

Male tailored (spa) treatment package

Ok, I get it, you run a Spa. You think ‘most of our clients are women, how do we go about getting more men in?’ I’m with you so far. In fact, trying to share what you do, which you clearly think is a good thing, with both genders equally? Well that’s practically feminist logic! But then you think ‘Well, what do we do that men might like? Certainly not facials, exfoliation or moisturising. Because, after all, men can’t have skin that needs to be treated, unlike women.’ And you start to loose me, particularly when you get to ‘More like relaxing and de-stressing. Because men get stressed, unlike women.’ Um. I could let all of this go, right up until ‘And, just in case there is any doubt, we’ll offer two separate packages, and we’ll use the word male all over the one we’re aiming at men.’ So you get this:
Today's Deal: THE IDEAL VALENTINES GIFT FOR HIM: €49 instead of €110 for a Male Relaxing and De-Stressing Treatment! Includes a deep tissue massage and face, neck and scalp treatment at the award winning White Pebble Spa in Stillorgan – SAVE 55%

“Indulge that special person in your life to a relaxing and de-stressing treatment! The White Pebble Spa have designed an exclusive Men’s package based on the most popular Men’s Treatments at the White Pebble Day Spa. The treatment begins with a deep tissue back massage using essential oils that will help to melt away those aches and pains. This is followed with a face, neck and scalp treatment tailor made to suit each individual client
The White Pebble Spa is ideally located at the 4* Stillorgan Park Hotel where there is ample free parking. The contemporary styled Spa uses the exclusive range of French YonKa products and have been awarded YonKa Day Spa of the Year 2012. The White Pebble Spa has a total of seven treatment rooms with an additional relaxation area, excellent changing facilities for the ultimate in relaxation.”


Which is, of course, completely different and separate to this:
Today's Deal: THE IDEAL VALENTINES GIFT FOR HER: €49 instead of €110 for a luxury Daffodil Package (Full Body Exfoliation, Deep Moisturisation and Yonka Express Facial) at the award winning White Pebble Spa in Stillorgan – SAVE 55%
“This fantastic spa package ensure you’ll blossom into spring! The luxurious Daffodil package begins with an Invigorating Full Body Exfoliation. The body is then deeply moisturised using a ginseng and comfrey rich body milk, after which a brightening YonKa express facial will give tired, dry, winter skin a luminous spring glow!
The White Pebble Spa is ideally located at the 4* Stillorgan Park Hotel where there is ample free parking. The contemporary styled Spa uses the exclusive range of French YonKa products and have been awarded YonKa Day Spa of the Year 2012. The White Pebble Spa has a total of seven treatment rooms with an additional relaxation area, excellent changing facilities for the ultimate in relaxation.
Bring a friend, Sister or Mother and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the White Pebble Day Spa!”


You might notice how while the large text at the top advertises both as valentines gifts, the smaller text in the one for ‘males’ is aimed at the person buying it for him, but the text under ‘Valentine’s gift for her’ is aimed at, well, her.

Now, this is primarily a feminist rant. This is about the fact that I would much prefer a 'deep tissue massage and face, neck and scalp treatment' to a 'Full Body Exfoliation, Deep Moisturisation and Yonka Express Facial'. I’ve had a full body exfoliation before, it really wasn’t my thing. Deep tissue massages, on the other hand, I can really get behind. But I’m going to let my linguistics nerd out just for a second. ‘Male’? Really? Not ‘for men’? Is my three year old son or my sister-in-law’s guide dog considered more suited to this than I am? Or are you just being as careless with language as you are with equality?

Allow me to draw your attention to the fact that the second package doesn’t mention women anywhere other than mentioning that it would make an ideal gift 'for her'. There are women in the picture. But they’re small and not the focus of the ad, unlike the one for ‘MALES’. There is no mention of women, or females, anywhere. I guess women is just the default audience of spas. That makes it ok, right?

I honestly believe that the majority of the lack of equality between genders that I come across (in my life, I realise it is not like this everywhere) is caused by people who genuinely don’t realise they’re doing it. With that in mind I emailed them.

“Hi there,

I'd just like to ask a quick question about your naming scheme for the
treatments offered in the Groupscheme. Is the 'Male Relaxing and
De-Stressing Treatment' available to women as well? If not, why not?
If so, why not call it 'Relaxing and De-Stressing Treatment'?
Certainly 'a deep tissue massage and face, neck and scalp treatment'
sounds far more appealing to me, a woman, than 'Full Body Exfoliation,
Deep Moisturisation and Yonka Express Facial'. And certainly more
worth the money. I can understand if you wanted to mention in the
text somewhere that it was suitable for men, because spa treatments
are more usually associated with women. But I think that this goes
too far.

As a feminist, I am determined to call out sexism wherever I see it.
Please stop a moment and question your assumptions.

Regards,
Sorcha”

I’ll update this if/when they reply.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vibram Five Fingers

Having made a massive two attempts at running completely barefoot I decided to bite the bullet and buy a pair of Vibram Five Fingers I couldn't really afford.  The guy in the shop said that I should get used to walking in them before I run in them.  And the instructions that come with them say to try them for an hour or two at a time at first.  So I sat in work with them on for a few hours on Tuesday and a few more hours today (Thursday).  Today I also walked to the car and drove home in them. 

One of the main reasons I got them is that running barefoot is really cold.  When I went outside in them today I thought ‘my feet are really cold’.  And then I remembered how cold my feet were running barefoot and realised that no, actually, my feet weren’t really cold.  The tops of my feet were cold, but nothing on running barefoot.  And the soles weren’t cold at all.  So that’s a win.

I also cheated a little and ran some of the way to the car.  I’m sure it’s largely psychological, but it felt really good.  It felt like I could go really fast and be happy to do so.  I am looking forward to this being the way I run.