「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Even a woman can do it

By Samantha Loong


For teachers, it's the little things that get us excited. From whiteboard pens that work, to students who copy down what we've written on the board, we're simple creatures. Recently for me, it was the delivery of a paper cutter. Finally! Precisely cut flash cards for my students. However, as I read the copywriting on the box, my joy turned to anger as I noticed one line in particular: "At only 1.1 kg, it's the ideal weight for women to carry!"

And at only 1.1 kg, it was also the ideal weight for me to fling across the room in frustration without breaking my delicate lady wrists.

The brittleness of female bones was also taken into account on a Japanese TV food show. While demonstrating how easy it was to knead some bread dough, the female presenter exclaimed, "Why, even a woman can do it!" On a popular Japanese shopping site, countless reviews, written by both men and women, also feature the same, tiresome line. When I was looking for a bed frame, it became clear that many bed manufacturers assumed it was only women who wanted easy assembly. I wondered what men get given when they purchase a bed — an axe and directions to the nearest forest?

It seems that many in Japan think women can't do a lot of things. Once, I went into an electronics store to purchase a laptop. I told the sales assistant what my budget was, and to my dismay, he led me to a white laptop surrounded with pink signs, all shouting: "Popular with women!" The operating system included a cute, animated seal assistant that would appear on what felt like every keystroke to guide us technologically incapable women through the terrifying world of computer use. This laptop was all I could afford on my womanly salary, so I bought it. But as much as I like seals, the assistant software was the first thing I uninstalled.

Many, including women themselves, seem to have forgotten that women are some of the toughest, most resourceful people out there. Every month, we have to deal with losing a lot of our own blood. Our bodies are engineered to store, feed and deliver another human being. And have you tried beating an Osaka aunty to a spare seat? Why on earth would someone like that need anything to be especially lighter, softer or easier to use? Besides, wouldn't all these features make life better for everyone, including men?

I recently ordered some whiteboard markers. I'm hoping that when they get delivered, there won't be any copywriting suggesting they're suitable for women. If there is, at least they'll be lighter to throw than the paper cutter.



The Japan Times ST: May 22, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版