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.

3 comments:

  1. I ended up in your blog by complete accident but this article called my attention. Do you not think your point goes completely against the principle of feminism? Using a basic definition taken from Wikipedia: "Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.". Right, so we are all supposed to have equal rights. If that's the case, why can't men have their own spa treatment when there are gyms that only accept women, car insurance is still cheaper for women and most tv programmes are aimed at women? Please don't get me wrong, having quite a few male friends I can empathise with wanting to have the same "social rights" as them, but if that's the case do you not think you're missing the point on this rant here?

    At this day and age, most "developed" countries have equal rights for men and women (or male and female, whichever way you prefer) but, for example, do you know why most women still get paid less money than men for doing the same job? Because we are generally not good at negotiating, it's not because we're being treated differently or have different social rights.

    We cannot deny that we are essentially different, for example no matter how fit we are (I assume you are quite fit after reading your articles about marathons and all) we could never be as strong as a fit man. We're generally more emotional than most men. It's genetics. My point is: we do deserve equal rights, but we need to accept that we're different, and that's why we will always have advert campaigns, tv programs and products aimed specifically at men or at women. It's just the nature of things, and I don't ever want to get to see a world where we really are considered to be the same.

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  2. Hi there, thanks for your input. I was replying in detail to every point, but it was getting too long, so I've cut it down.

    Short version: Clearly I don't think this goes against the principle of feminism, or I wouldn't have posted it :). I don't think that there should be women only gyms or cheaper car insurance for women either. I don't have much of an opinion on TV, as I don't have one. I agree it's an interesting theory (that I believe is probably true) that the gender pay gap is at least largely caused by women not negotiating as much as men, but it is more complicated than that and I believe that being treated differently and having different social rights goes a long way to explaining WHY we are worse at negotiating. The average man is stronger than the average woman, but people are not averages and the spectrum within genders is far wider than that gap. I may never be stronger than an equally fit man, but I can still get stronger, faster and fitter than most men. Incidentally, women often win ultra marathons outright. I believe that far fewer of the differences between men and women are genetic than is commonly believed, but there isn't a lot of (non-contradictory) evidence either way.

    You say you don't ever want to see a world where we are considered the same. I want to see a world where any given man and woman are considered as much 'the same' as any two men, or any two women. People are individuals. I want to see a world where gender just doesn't come into it.

    It is never possible to say 'all men x, all women y', only 'most men x, most women y'. By using the former you are labeling the exceptions, completely unnecessarily, as somehow 'wrong'. Lastly, feminism is not a homogenous mass. Instead of 'this post is not feminist' try 'this post does not agree with my idea of feminism'.

    This ad was aimed at men. Why not aim it at 'people who wouldn't normally be interested in spa treatments' and stop excluding women like me who aren't normally interested in spa treatments, and men who are?

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  3. I just want to say "Here, Here" to Saoil's post. And "here, here" to Saoil's reply to the post by 3a4d6134-5d43-11e1-be41-000bcdca4d7a. Saoil your view is a feminist view point. There are many different feminist view points, but I agree this your view point on this issue.

    ReplyDelete