Around this time of year, stores begin celebrating for the holiday season. They pipe Christmas music through the speakers and deck out their windows in festive decorations. However, this year’s decor for one shop is not without a bit of controversy.
The holiday window display at UK retailer Marks And Spencer has people debating whether or not it’s sexist. The photo was originally posted alongside a tweet lambasting the company for the sexist message that many people believe the display perpetrates.
To be clear: @marksandspencer believe that the 'MUST HAVES' are:— FiLiA (@FiLiA_charity) November 18, 2018
For MEN: 'outfits to impress'
For WOMEN: 'fancy little knickers'
Imagine for a moment if those window displays were reversed.
Go on M&S …. we are watching.
PS Who signed this off? #sexist #marksandspencer pic.twitter.com/XOqLUSElgd
The store’s window aims to show off their must-have gifts for the season. Suits, ties, and various other “outfits to impress” are shown as advertised to men. Meanwhile, the side marketed towards women features “fancy little knickers.” Officewear for men and underwear for women? Does this go to show that there is still a huge disparity between society’s expectations for what women are supposed to be? Some Twitter users claim the direct message of this marketing that women should be more concerned with dressing to impress in the home, while men get to impress at work.
But, others were quick to point out that the viral photo did not show the entire window display. One shared a photo of the rest of the storefront.
Well no, because the same store had this window also pic.twitter.com/aownR0vV7X— mikey m (@_Mykee_) November 20, 2018
This picture shows that the same shop has another window features “outfits to impress” for women. Contrary to the lingerie featured in the other window, these outfits to impress include everything from sweaters and skirts. People who claim the window isn’t sexist say this display proves their point. On the other side of the argument, people are questioning: where is the men’s underwear display?
No matter what side of the argument you land on, it’s safe to say this window display has caused way more outrage than Marks and Spencer could have ever anticipated. Is this hotly debated display just an innocent attempt to appeal to window shoppers? Or, is it proof of underlying gender inequality present within society? Let us know what you think!