Aug 24 2005



Need a hollow, mirthless laugh? Gendergeek reports on a recent Telegraph article explaining why men account for 96% of music downloads in the UK. The Telegraph’s conclusion? Women would rather go shopping than fiddle with these newfangled computer-thingies. Oh, and the download websites aren’t pastel enough.

The Telegraph says tech companies would like nothing better than to tap into the flustered technophobic female market. This can only be accomplished by offering pastel pink versions of the original man-gadgets, viz. the iPod Mini. As has been scientifically proven, women instinctively and automatically fling sacks of money at anything pink.

Except for phones. Women take naturally to phones of any color "because they are big talkers."

According the the Washington Post, the efficacy of pinkess is not lost on hideous consumer electronics chain Best Buy, who have profiled their customers and are now identifying clueless female shoppers as "Jills." Special employees on "the Jill team" are trained to spot a Jill by her "fashionable white sleeveless shirt and flower-patterened pants" as she "[wanders] in unsteadily, fumbling inside her purse for a scrap of paper."  These expert Jill-spotters, who wear pastel shirts instead of blue ones, hook her, reel her in, and and lead her through the store (which has been Jillified with James Taylor music, stuffed animals, and pink balloons), gently introducing her to the scary gadgets and modern miracles. If it’s raining out, they escort her to her car with a pink umbrella.

Because they have finally unlocked the secret: women vomit blood when they touch anything that isn’t the color of a cotton candy ballerina juggling birth control pills, gumballs, and "math-is-hard" Barbies at a breast cancer fundraiser for gay flamingoes.

[Thanks Deanna]


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  1. Knotted Knickers

    Wow. I thought maybe you were making up that shit about the Jills and the Jillified stores. I *hoped* that you were making it up. But it’s hard to parody the patriarchy’s own parody, enit?

  2. rachel

    Wow. This makes me want to go to best buy, bedecked in all my suburban housewife best, pink, naturally, and fumble around helplessly, looking for one of those, what do you call it, “computer” thingies…or maybe a “digital camera” I think it’s called??

    And yes, it is sadly true. My boss and I got type cast as the cute hipster (gag) mid 30’s couple when buying our digital camera for work. Dude, don’t make those kind of joking comments, he’s my BOSS, not my boyfriend.

  3. clew

    Someone ought to make a T-shirt that says “Math is hard, and I’m good at it.” I’m too lazy, and terrible at graphic design, but I know there’s a market.

  4. John M. Burt

    I shudder to think what, say, a baby-clothing shop would look like after it had been “Jacked”, but it would probably involve a staff person hastily tossing on a sport coat and slapping on a moustache before jabbing Jack in the ribs and saying “Congratulations, sport, takes a real man to knock a broad up, don’t it! Now, let’s have a look at some of this baby stuff, eh?”

  5. Travelling Punk

    Good GOD! Who are these people that come up with these stupid insulting ideas!

    Sure some people (men and wonmen)are intimidated by all that showy giga-gadgetry crap – but I’m damn sure they don’t want to be patronised because of it!

    I know for a fact that depsite being myself called Gill I would do a damn site better in a computer/electrinocs shop that my partner, who is complete technophobe and cannot programme the video recorder, the phone, the timer plugs – anything!

  6. Sylvanite

    Aaagh! I’ve seen tool sets “for women” in catalogs that are all pink. I don’t like pink! When I finally decided that I needed some tools, I bought a set the Sharper Image was selling. It’s compact, has a decent number of sturdy tools, and the main selling point? It isn’t pink. Why do marketers feel that women have to be condescended to? Do market sudies actually show that women would prefer pink hammers and ratchet sets?

  7. Finn

    >”Congratulations, sport, takes a real man to knock a broad up, don’t it! Now, let’s have a look at some of this baby stuff, eh?”< Let's see if this link works... http://makeashorterlink.com/?M47452DAB

  8. Finn

    Sylvanite sez:

    “When I finally decided that I needed some tools, I bought a set the Sharper Image was selling.”

    I sez:

    You were still target-marketed and the recipient of condescension (or you were just plain ripped off). Whether it was pink-ification for your femalery, or sharper-image-ized for your yuppy renaissance-person uniqueness quotient, it’s the same thing.

    Quality tools can be purchased for reasonable prices at your local hardware store and other places where yuppies and Jills stereotypically fear to tread. At Sharper Image, you probably paid about 3 times what the tools are really worth.

    Not sure why I’m pointing it out, but it does seem funny that you feel proud for avoiding the Jill label, but got sucked in to Sharper Image, one of my all-time favorite targets for marketing a lifestyle rather than a quality product.

    (eek, that’s an ugly sentence)

  9. Anonymous

    I always shop at Small Chain Stereo and Video. These stores tend to take their customers more seriously. When I was shopping for a complete new system, I went to one such store, where my concerns and my needs were taken into account and I was consulted and everything discussed and decided on to fit my needs. And that was with my Dad in tow, cause he likes to shop for electronics. Right behind this particular Small Chain store is a Best Buy. I feel for the suckers that shop there; my guys were even willing to drive almost 2 hours to my new digs to set everything up for me JUST THE WAY I WANTED it. Then, when I moved, they came to my new place to do the same thing. Try getting that service from Best Buy. And I didn’t even get Jilled!

  10. Adam Ash

    Twisty, I love you. If you were a painting, I’d hang you in my parlor. If you were a book, you’d be on my bedside table. If you were a radio program, I’d leave you on all day.

    (I’m waiting for an opportunity to declare same on Bitch Ph.D.)

  11. WookieMonster

    Ahhh! Twisty you rock and I’d so totally make out with you.

    I am the technophile in my relationship. (What good is a degree in computer science if you don’t get to be a technophile?) Best Buy lost my business long ago, but if they hadn’t their “Jilling” certainly would have done the trick.

  12. Christine

    Again, I don’t get it.

    Best Buy thinks women don’t understand technology, but the other day on the news I heard that young women are the largest group of users of new technologies and the internet.

    So, women can use the stuff, but can’t buy it? But I thought shopping was the thing women did best, outside of the kitchen and/or bedroom? Isn’t that what we’ve been told all these years?

    And I like pink. Always have. But I’m not going to buy something I don’t really want or need just because it’s pink.

  13. Sylvanite

    Yes, Finn, I know Sharper Image is a rip-off. I’m surely not a yuppie, and I seldom go to Sharper Image. However, I was a tool neophyte, and they had exactly the sort of thing that had what I needed and could store easily in my small apartment :) I tend to feel overwhelmed at hardware stores, do not always get the help I need there, and wasn’t yet dating the electrician that I’m currently dating, who would be able to give me good advice about tools. For the record, he says that the tool set is really nice, so I don’t feel too bad about being a tool myself ;)

  14. Laura

    The washington post article made me want to vomit blood. While I’m all for helpful and attentive sales people, the “think pink” profiling is heinous. Oh, and personally, the pink balloons and teddy bears at best buy is as comforting as biohazards in a foodstore. And who the hell ever heard of websites not being pastel enough?? Good thing we women like to talk so freaking much, otherwise, they’d NEED to start making pink cell phones.

    I think I’ll go shoot myself now….don’t worry. I’ll use a pink revolver.

  15. Rachel

    Friends of Lulu (a women’s comics group) hit the nail on the head years ago:

    Women don’t want a pink-ified store. They just want a place that’s clean, orderly, with staff in it that know what they’re doing without having to hit on every pair of XX’s they see.

    Yeah, offering certain bits of equipment in new colors is fine, but I don’t like feeling that something has to be ‘feminized’ for me. Mac is sexy and appealing without having to be pink.

  16. Finn

    “I tend to feel overwhelmed at hardware stores, do not always get the help I need there”

    I blame the patriarchy.

    (I’m sure your Sharper Image tools are great. I was just cracking wise on you.)

  17. Sylvanite

    Heh. So do I Finn, so do I…

  18. AndiF

    I have to leap in here to defend hardware stores which are second only to bookstores as my favorite places to hang out. The trick is to avoid the chains and try to find one that is family-owned, has wood floors and shelves, keeps their grass seed in big, metal trash containers, and has ladders for reaching all the neat stuff on the high shelves.

    As for Best Buy and pinkifying — feh!

  19. Twisty

    I love a hardware store, too, and I’ve got a huge pile-o-tools to prove it. But I’d rather have root canal than go to Home Depot. I haven’t been inside one of those things since I reviewed their hot dogs for my old paper.

    The last time I was in a Best Buy my mother and I were getting a TV for my ailing father’s sick room. The inventory was a joke and the service was indescribably bad; our salesdude actually blew us off to wait on somebody who was buying a more expensive TV. I will never, ever enter a Best Buy again. I bought my plasma TV on the internet (at DVDT Inc, which I recommend). Take that, Best Buy!

  20. CJ

    Oh. My. God. You rock sister. My husband walked away shaking his head because he couldn’t understand what I was reading to him through all the laughter. …breast cancer fundraiser for gay flamingoes … you brought me out of lurkdom with that line.

  21. Sylvanite

    Yeah, it’s mostly the Home Depot and Lowe’s that I’ve had trouble with. I’ve been trying to cultivate a better relationship with the family-owned True Value hardware store that’s down the street, but they have a small space, and their selection is a bit more limited. Alas, there aren’t any truly independent hardware stores around anymore, at least not in my neighborhood (retirement took out the last one). To be fair, I’ve never been treated as badly at a hardware store as I have at an auto mechanic. Though my current auto shop is actually pretty good, even if it is a dealer. At least I feel confident that they won’t recommend unnecessary work, though I have had irritating conversations with the supply end of things. I had to order a new clutch cable for my Metro, and the guy at the parts counter was all like,”It’s a ’98? I still have a ’87 Metro and I’ve never had to replace the clutch cable.” I just told him that I clearly sucked. I’m sure it has nothing to do with making pizza deliveries in a very hilly urban area, where I have to make frequent stops and shift constantly. *rolleyes* And don’t even get me started about the reactions I’ve gotten for delivering pizzas while female…

  22. WookieMonster

    Clew, that t-shirt needs to be made. It also needs “This is what a feminist looks like” on the back. I’m thinking I’m going to have a go at this with my own super fancy (permanent marker) method of making t-shirts.

  23. Chris Clarke

    Courtesy Rana, a point in favor of pretty pink hand tools: men won’t borrow them.

  24. Anonymous

    flower-patterened pants”

    Are they serious? Or am I just that far behind the fashion trends?

  25. stacey

    You may find this amusing….


  26. chris

    I just bought 8 Kate Spade appetizer plates in hot pink polka dots for an outrageous price. Clearly, they saw me coming.

  27. Erin

    I’d like to thank the retail industry for encouraging me to buy more things on the interent, where I do not have to deal with sales people. A couple of years ago, I was laptop shopping, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I was condescended to in every computer/electronics store I walked into, where the salesman — always a man, because chicks don’t know anything about computers, you know — kept trying to show me what basically amounted to a pink computer (metaphorically speaking). When I said, “Well, actually, what I’m looking for is…” and I started speaking their language, their jaws dropped right to the floor. After the third time I had to deal with that nonsense, I ordered my computer online.

    One of the funniest things I ever witnessed happened while I was hanging around in the lobby of my apartment building, and one of my neighbors came downstairs to talk to the super, who was sweeping or something. The neighbor said, “The light in my kitchen has burned out.” The super just looked at him, all, “Are you kidding?” I said, “Dude, even I can change a lightbulb.” (Then again, I’ve also unclogged drains and replaced fuses and built bookshelves, and I own power tools. Rowr.) I guess my point is that female doesn’t equate to helpless or inept, and there are many men who need their hands held in Best Buy.

  28. clew

    Wookiemonster, go for it. I had been envisioning the Barbie line in sparkle glitter, but done is better than perfect.

  1. Angels in the Architecture


    Stop listening to my whiney bullshit and go read what Twisty has to say.

    I want Tea Ball to buy a pink laptop.

  2. metamanda>>weblog

    technology is hard, let’s go shopping (but not for music downloads!)

    This Telegraph article has the entire geek girl blog circle in an uproar. See if you can figure out why. Others have ripped apart this article more thoroughly than I could, so for your enjoyment, I’ll just include the choice first and last lines: Would…

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