Superdrug is to make its website "more inclusive" after a dad took to social media to complain about the wording of the 'Mother & Baby' section of the site.
The Huffington Post reports:
A single dad called out Superdrug for the gendered way they promote baby products, after he was unable to find a parenting section on the website. Dave Darby, from Berkshire, said he was “somewhat perplexed” by Superdrug’s 'mother and baby' section and found the wording on their website 'derogatory towards fathers'.
'Hi. I am somewhat perplexed Superdrug. Whilst looking on your website, I could not find a section for father and baby, yet there is one for mother and baby. As a single parent father, I find this somewhat derogatory towards fathers and their children and respectfully ask that this is changed to parent and baby, thus making it politically correct and also Superdrug acknowledging that men can also be single parents.'
A Superdrug spokesperson later responded to say the website would be updated as of 20th February to be more inclusive.
We've been debating this here at Playpennies HQ today. Like lots of mums who commented in response to the original post, I can't see why anyone would take issue with the wording of the 'mother and baby' section on Superdrug's website.
In fact, I'm in total agreement with the poster who pointed out that the section is called 'mother and baby' because it contains products for MOTHERS and BABIES. Breast pumps, nipple cream and pregnancy vitamins are products for mums, and all the other stuff in that section is for babies. So what's the problem?
Darby reportedly told the HuffPost that "things for the child (nappies, nappy rash cream, bottles) should be in a section labelled ‘babies’ with no gendering of the parent" but seriously, who wants to navigate between one section for babies and another for mums when shopping online for an imminent arrival or stocking up on last minute bits for your hospital bag?
As for the wording being derogatory towards fathers – give me a break. There's nothing critical or disrespectful – which is the definition of derogatory – about this. I am pretty sure the wording of Superdrug's website is not a deliberate attempt to deny the role that fathers play or to disregard the fact that dads – single or otherwise – also shop online for baby gear. That's why the section isn't called just 'Mother' but 'Mother and Baby'.
And where next if we go down this route? How about redesigning the website to reflect that grandparents often buy pricy bits of baby gear? Or what about childminders who aren't mums or dads but who keep their supplies of baby wipes stocked up thanks to Superdrug? Will they feel excluded if the site section is renamed 'Parent & Baby'?
This point won't make me popular but it's well documented that women account for the majority of household spending so I'd wager that targeting mums over dads when it comes to online shopping is partly drawn by market forces. If women are the ones typically choosing which brand of buggy or baby wipes to buy – and the statistics prove they are – then why shouldn't retailers recognise this fact and account for our purchase power?
There can be no denying that women still do the lion's share of childcare in the average household, too – so why shouldn't that also be reflected in the design and navigation of the websites we buy baby products from?
If you want to decry gender imbalance when it comes to parenting, let's forget Superdrug's website and focus on the real issues, like why British men spend just 24 minutes caring for their children for every hour a woman spends, or why so few fathers take up shared parental leave.
If you ask me, those are the parenting gender wars worth fighting.
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