Gossip, chatter, nag, rabbit, yak and natter- These are terms used to refer to women’s conversations, implying that women’s talk is superfluous and rather pointless. Women’s talk is often described in terms seldom used about men’s talk. Men, it would seem, attain significance in brevity. Research has shown that men, on the whole, talk far more than women. The stereotype, however, continues to thrive.
Cell C have recently developed a niche product called ‘Winc‘, ‘women incorporated’. A mobile phone package designed specifically for women, ’empowered by Cell C’. I’m not sure what the numbers are like but hot on the heels of the First for Women insurance products women seem to be a lucrative market. I like the First for Women advertisements, they are quirky without being patronising. Cell C however left me feeling disenfranchised. Truth is, I do not appreciate any empowerment from a cell minion. Women can empower themselves, acknowledge that and then I’ll think about parting with my cash.
Cell C’s pricey print campaign, sported a bare-shouldered blonde in an uncomfortable looking pose attempting a wink. Beneath the yellow tressed one, ‘Now all our favourite things in one cellular package’. The use of the word our instead of your is clever copywriting. It is an attempt at the creation of a feeling of empathy and collaboration between Cell C and the target audience. Especially clever when one considers that women purportedly desire from their relationships, collaboration, intimacy, support and approval while men, conversely, allegedly place a greater premium on status and independence and are less concerned about inequality in their relationships.
But how exactly does a package for women differ from the usual stock?
- ‘Winc is the first and only cellular package designed just for women and empowered by Cell C. So, speak your heart out, connect and tune into your clique when you really need to with WINC‘ The assumption that women talk more than men and would thus require extra text messages to send to the women in their ‘clique’ rankles. I feel like I’ve been spoken down to. The last time I was accused of having a clique I was in high school.
- ‘Women in charge: hot tips and advice You have access to www.winc.mobi, your very own, exclusive mobi site that offers discounted content such as discounted content on recipes…..’ Oh the joy. Of course that’s where I’m supposed to be; chained to the stove while jabbering to my ‘clique’.
- ‘Women in care: toll free calls to Lifeline. You can call Lifeline, free of charge. LifeLine offers confidential, emotional counselling for gender violence, rape or any other issue that’s getting you down.’ Why enumerate the reasons one would would want to call Lifeline for? I’m sure if I’m suicidal or if I’ve just been raped I’ll thank Cell C for not billing me.
Frankly my dears, I’d rather slit my wrists.
From Sarkozy’s ruminations about enforcing a ban on the burqa in France, to Al Azhar’s proposed ban on the Niqab in Egypt, right down to Cezanne Visser’s double D’s, men in superior positions in patriarchal societies continue to dictate how women and womanhood is manifested in public spaces.
In the words of Marianne Thamm writing in the Sunday Times Lifestyle some weeks back,
‘When little girls begin to lose interest in the world around them and show signs of becoming preoccupied by what they see in the mirror, it is time to act. Get Visser in to do some motivational speaking. With her new outfit courtesy of the Department of Correctional Services and her former DD implants in a display case, she will serve as a fantastic deterrent to young women tempted to shed those unwanted brains in order to win the approval of men.’