Everyone who reads my blather has recognized by now that I am a pretty no-nonsense kind of woman, right? I shop the discount racks, I buy on sale, and I even have no qualms about wearing men’s long johns – especially if they are merino wool and half price. (Score!!!) And yes, I am old school and still call them long johns and not “base layers”.
So you’d think that “Big Marketing” would have figured out my tastes by now, right?
Let me tell you about what came across my newsfeed this morning. I’m not going to include a link or a photo, because I don’t want abominations like this to be encouraged or perpetuated.
Social media showed me an ad from some outfit with “Backcountry” in their name – so far so good – but the item they were showing me was – get this – an “Insulated Miniskirt”.
Yes, there apparently IS such a beast. For a premium price, one can even get one that is down-insulated. Let’s reiterate that – A down-insulated MINISKIRT! They marketed that to ME. Not only have I never worn a miniskirt in my life and at my age am not going to start now, but if I want to keep my hindquarters and ladybits warm, a miniskirt is not even in the top 20 logical choices.
I could launch into a tangent rant about the stupidity of female fashion, but instead I want to talk about marketing to women – because it carries over into the firearms and outdoors industry.
What kinds of algorithms and thought processes were going on behind the scenes that had the end-result of that showing up in my newsfeed? Who, at what outdoors company said – “Hey we want to draw in more women to our outdoor technical clothing – let’s try MINISKIRTS!” ? Because women don’t need comfortable technical outdoors wear that actually fits them and serves the sport or activity that they are actually doing – no, they need miniskirts instead?
The marketing of this product then apparently consisted of “Look, there’s a woman – let’s wave the miniskirt in front of her, and watch her come running!”. (They did get my click though and therefore I’ll probably have to block them from my feed from now on.)
This is akin to the “Pink it and Shrink it” mentality of the firearms industry a few years ago. This assumption that female humans are a single homogenous block who have a Pavlovian response to anything pink or “fashionable” is a persistent problem in the outdoor marketing world.
Things are slowly getting better, but abominations marketed to women, just because they are women, still exist. A certain stretchy atrocity masquerading as a “holster” comes to mind.
Women’s camo – when you can actually find some that doesn’t require you to pawn one of your children – has pink zipper pulls. Ummmm, because turkeys can’t see pink??
The outdoors industry is still a bit “size-ist” when it comes to marketing to women as well. Women make-up half the population of the world, and most of us are not a size 5. Indeed, most of us who have the disposable income to support an outdoors habit are middle-aged and have the middle-age spread to prove it.
By way of example, one particular company I interacted with last year carries men’s sizes for the large-waisted, but had nothing in women’s sizes which would fit me so that I could evaluate it. I am a 16-18, and their line runs small. So that company lost an opportunity. A recent search of their website looks like they may be learning that lesson and expanding their size range now.
Don’t get me wrong – the situation is exponentially better than it was ten years ago when I was getting started. Things HAVE improved, but we women are still a growing outdoor and hunting market. We have our own money and will stand in line for excellent products that fit us and meet our needs. Meet those needs and market to us appropriately and you will win… but insulated miniskirts are not the way to do it.