What We’re Allowed to Buy

Steven Harper PiziksA Facebook group I follow brought up a small question that led to a bigger one. The small question was why the show YOUNG JUSTICE was canceled.  It was an excellent show and it got high ratings.  What was up with that?

The trouble is, YOUNG JUSTICE appealed to girls.

YJ had a strong female following.  But the show was SUPPOSED to attract males, and it was only doing an okay job there.  Since the show wasn’t doing what it was designed to, the producers pulled the plug.

TV show producers don’t like it when the “wrong” people watch a show.  Why?  Because they market their show toward big companies: “Our show will attract male viewers aged 18-49, so you’ll want to advertise your motor oil with us!”  And when a show starts attracting the wrong audience, the producers become unhappy.  This strange, weird, female audience doesn’t buy motor oil!  How will we get sponsors now?  So they pull the plug.

It’s absolutely sexist and idiotic.  It never occurs to them that you can advertise to all kinds of people during a single show.  No, the market must be divided into pieces.  So goes their way of thinking.  This leads to the second, bigger issue: marketers want to force us to buy based on our gender.

Marketers want us to buy and consume based on gender because if there are products just for males and products just for females, we’ll theoretically buy twice as much. Men won’t use shampoo designed for women, so a household will buy twice as many shampoo bottles–those for the men and those for the women. Women won’t use razors designed for men, so we need twice as many razors. The same goes for TV shows. The networks and movie producers want to herd us toward certain shows so they can tell the advertisers, “This is who watches the show, so these are the commercials you’ll want to run.” It apparently never occurs to them that if they have a mixed market, they can run mixed commercials.

It works so strongly that when Target announced that they were ending the practice of labeling their toy section BOYS and GIRLS and just calling it TOYS, a segment of their market screamed bloody murder. There HAD to be toys only for boys and toys only for girls! But when the screamers were growing up, this heavy market segmentation didn’t exist. The only toys that were exclusively marketed to boys were toy weapons, and the only toys that were exclusively marketed to girls were dolls. Even toy ovens were marketed to boys in little chef hats back in the “old” days. But in a few short years, market segmentation has become so standardized that the public think it’s somehow real, and that manufacturers decide what’s appropriate for us to watch, buy, and use based on our perceived gender. Rather than let US decide what to buy or use, the manufacturers will kill a product that finds a market outside its per-determined niche.It’s damaging and it’s crazy, but we don’t have to buy into it.  Cross gender lines.  Buy products because you want to, not because the packaging tells you.  Write to a show and tell them you watch it and you buy the products advertised on it regardless of gender.

We don’t need manufacturers to tell us how to buy.

–Steven Harper Piziks

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