Indonesian clothing company Salvo has been forced to issue an apology following the discovery of a massively sexist and ill thought out label inside a number of pieces of their clothing. After the initial tweet of the offending shirt by one eagle eyed consumer more images began to appear online and very quickly the company were facing hundreds of angry comments.
Salvo quickly issued an apology statement a few days later, but like the initial stupidity of the clothing in question the apology came across as fairly problematic;
‘The message is simply, instead of washing it in the wrong way you might as well
give it to a lady because they are more capable. There is no intention to humiliate
women. In contrast, (we want to tell men) to learn from women on how to
take care of clothes because they pay attention to details. Not all men understand/know
how to take care of their own clothes, women are more knowledgeable/experts
on such matters. We apologise profusely for any misinterpretations.
Even after this somewhat pathetic excuse for an apology the company has continued to receive ire from a number of twitter users.
Despite a large number of people finding offense at what Salvo has done, it’s probably not surprising to find that some people have not only found nothing wrong with the clothing, but also gone on to condemn the people speaking out against it.
Typically from what I have seen it tends to be men who find the whole thing ‘massively funny’ or that there is nothing wrong at all. Of course, to them it’s just us overly sensitive women who are making something out of nothing or just over reacting because we’re ‘on our periods’.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things some washing instructions in clothing made by one company might not be the worst thing in the world and there are certainly bigger issues in the world that need addressing, but moments of everyday sexism like this cannot simply be ignored.
Everyday sexism is in some ways more insidious than obvious and extreme examples. If you see a woman being told that she’s useless, or that she can’t do certain things or act certain ways because she’s not as good as a man people will find it offensive and cry out about how wrong it is. On the other hand, if a joke is made that a woman’s job is to wash her mans clothing then it’s just funny and we’re the ones wrong for finding it offensive. That’s the difference, everyday sexism is insidious. It make itself appear to be innocuous or normal.
Those people that find this kind of thing funny or acceptable, or that think that people are over reacting to it are not only in the wrong, but help to reinforce the notion that sexism to fully acceptable. Equal rights for women still have a long, long way to go and if we’re ever going to succeed we need to challenge any use of sexism whenever we come across it.