Book Worms

Now, just in case you think I have a stick up my arse over the rampant sexism in the advertising that has already kidnapped Christmas and held it hostage, you need to be warned. See, in the following post said stick actually emerges from my mouth and raises a flag, so if you want to run, now is your chance. If you don’t? Well, get this…

I went on Amazon this weekend and found this, below, on the book section’s home page:

Yep, you read it right, categories of gift ideas for him and for her. So far, so blah. So I only became deranged with fucksteria when I saw that the suggestions ‘for him’ included business books, comics and graphic novels, health and lifestyle, political biogs, science fictions books and sports calendars while the suggestions ‘for her’ included (steady yourself) animal calendars, contemporary fiction, craft books, baking books, celebrity biogs and, yes, romance books.

Spot the fucking difference, kraken-lovers, spot the fucking difference.

I shit you not, outside of the urge to lob molotov cocktails at the nearest Amazon warehouse I barely know where to start with this one. It fucks with my head so much that I need to be even more medicated than I already am, and not just because the mouse-fumblers at Amazon think that women are gagging for craft and romance books this Crimbo but because they also think that men want comic books and calendars of rugby scrums.

It is astounding that someone, somewhere – someone who is considered employable and worthy of access to an office tea fund – thinks that men are more likely to read political biogs than women or that women are more likely to enjoy novels. It is a distinction that I have never, ever seen before. Seriously, I haven’t. As a woman with a politics degree and a love of science I’ve actually had to check whether I have a cock because according to Amazon I’m really a man. And fuck knows what this means for my male mates who have a love of cooking and quality fiction. I suspect that right now their very knackersacks have broken a sweat.

Amazon must have been nipping at the festive sherry again because there is no conceivable reason to segregate books according to gender. You don’t walk into Waterstone’s only to get herded into his n her sections, do you? No, you get to choose what book you like to see according to – get this, Amazon – your personal interests, interests that have no relation whatsoever to whether you bleed every month or piss standing up.

How hard would it have been for Amazon to create tabs for wannabe chefs or romance lovers? Budding entrepreneurs or sports fanatics? Surely it would have been easier than actually trying to force stereotypes upon topics that have no gender bias whatsoever. Fuck conquering inequality. Amazon is intent on creating it where, until now, there has been none. It’s what would happen if the Starship Enterprise was captained by Ron Burgundy, boldly discriminating where no one has discriminated before.

So what I want for Christmas, Amazon, is for you to print off your books’ home page, give it to whoever came up with this festering bowl of wrong and make them eat it. Then I want you to redesign the page so that it provides a greater ratio of festive cheer to raging offence. Then I want you to shove your unfathomable notion of what men and women want right up your arse. Now, let’s click on that checkout button, shall we?

So what do you think? Has Amazon got this wrong or do I need my meds to be recalibrated again? Please get stuck into the comment box and let me know.


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9 Responses to Book Worms

  1. Andy says:

    Do you normally shop at Amazon? I only ask this because when I log on I get completely different lists and it is actually based on not just my shopping habits but also my wife’s. I only get generic lists for sections of Amazon I don’t use like video games and fragrances. It sounds like Amazon have studied your shopping habits and concluded that you are a man. Not sure if this premise will make you more mad, less mad or still just steaming along at inferno level.

  2. Heather says:

    As much as I love receiving cookery and baking books at Christmas I do believe it’s a little unfair that amazon and other places immediately catagorize cookery and bakery under presents for women when I know more men who bake than women and I know more footie mad women than I do men. No matter how far we break gender roles down in society it’s going to take a long while before seeps through to everywhere, unfortunately.

    • The Kraken says:

      Thanks m’love. It’s the assumptions that offend me. In answer to the last comment by Andy, these lists aren’t based on anything I have ever bought from Amazon. I have ever read a celeb biog or a cookery book and my husband certainly doesn’t read political biogs or comics so these lists have not been inspired by my past purchases. I don’t know what they have been inspired by actually, unless you throw a 50s housewife into the bloody mix.

      • Andy says:

        In that case they really don’t deserve your business. I was assuming a tiny piece of sophistication where there clearly is none.

        Yes you were right in the first place. I’d rather scrape my eyes out than read a ‘business book’ but I wouldn’t say no to an animal calendar. Someone at Amazon needs a kick up the arse.

  3. sheona says:

    that whining noise you can hear is me rocking, gently, back and forth as the last piece of sanity dribbles from my ears.

    In our house I do the politics and science, as well as being the one who can use the power tools. My other half does all the cooking and kitcheny stuff. It makes our daughters laugh to see us in do it yourself shops while he looks in bafflement at the Black ‘n’ Decker rep…

    In other news: go for the rugby calender. You know you want to. Dieux du Stade (they might not be doing them any more – but who cares what year you get… just look at the pretty pictures…)

    • The Kraken says:

      Ha! And I thought that noise was coming from me. It’s mad stuff isn’t it? In our house my husband loves Jamie Oliver and Nigella and I have get all nuts over a good cordless drill. In fact I might get that drill and nip over to the Amazon warehouse…

  4. Aerliss says:

    Well, I popped off an email (firstly apologizing to the poor minion that will have got it) asking, in about 400 words (because I like the sound of my own keyboard), by what criteria did Amazon decide what categories to add to each gender list and why it even bothered with gendered lists considering the content of the categories is actually not very stereotypical. There are dieting books and the Twilight Graphic Novels *shudder* in the men’s section, John Grisham and Arnie’s autobiog in the women’s, for example.

    It’s just dumb ass traditional marketing, really, but I want to make a noise about it, damnit.

    • The Kraken says:

      You gem! You have to let me know if anything comes of it. I am dying to know about the brainwork behind this madness. Thank you, m’love,

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