We thought the days of sexist jokes about laundry being a mum’s job because men are incapable of using a washing machine were long behind us, but it seems not everyone has moved on.
The washing instructions printed on the label of a men’s jacket sold by skiwear brand Plank Clothing appear firmly stuck in the 1950s.
Freelance audio producer Lucy Dearlove, spotted the label in a jacket her husband Rory bought recently and she laughed a tired laugh as she thought: “are we really still doing this?”
“I can remember having a T-shirt when I was in my early teens that I bought at some skate shop that had ‘GET YOUR MUM TO DO IT’ on the care label and that was almost 20 years ago (and already unacceptable then, for the record),” she told HuffPost UK. “So I just laughed at the absolute ridiculousness of a brand thinking this is a fresh idea and OK/funny/whatever to put in on the label of a jacket.
As Dearlove points out, there is nothing new about this sexist joke, last year Marks & Spencer was criticised for the labels on their school uniform trousers that stated they were “hemsafe”, so that’s “less work for mum”, the brand promptly amended the label for the next season to read “Stay Put Hems: They’ll never fall down”. And in 2012 Madhouse came under fire for selling trousers for men with a label that advised wearers to machine wash or “GIVE IT TO YOUR WOMAN. IT’S HER JOB.”
“I know it’s absolutely not the most pressing feminist issue of our time, but it just riles me up a bit,” said Dearlove. “I think society loves to push this narrative of mums being super capable when it comes to domestic labour while placing absolutely no expectation or responsibility on dads to do the same. It’s just like... come on guys.”
Dearlove’s annoyance was compounded by the fact the recent winter Olympics were still fresh in her mind.
“Women like Chloe Kim were completely killing it in this field at the winter Olympics, and really bringing the sport to a whole new audience,” she explained. “I really think that young girls will feel empowered specifically because of Chloe that they can take up a sport like this that has always traditionally been very bro-y - I’ve been snowboarding since I was 15 and while there are definitely more women and girls on boards nowadays it still feels pretty male dominated. So stuff like this is just pretty unhelpful.”
Dearlove added that messaging like this is enough to put her off buying a brand. “Rory asked my opinion on the jacket when he first saw it in the shop and I encouraged him to get it - if I’d seen the label when he tried it on I probably wouldn’t have done. Because I’d rather the money went to a brand who properly supports women of all ages in sport and doesn’t make shit jokes (or maybe cheap publicity stunts, in which case it’s worked... at their expense.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Plank Clothing for comment and will update this article upon their response.