Freedom also comes in pink

“Women of the world unite: a sinister patriarchal plot is out to get us. Evil tobacco companies are conspiring to seduce us by wrapping up ‘our poison’ in shades of ‘pale or pastel colours’. There is concern in public health circles that the dark arts of design, armed with images denoting ‘femininity, style, sophistication and attractiveness’, will result in us losing our pretty little heads. Or so says Cancer Research UK, keen to save us from our womenly weakness, with their latest research report published yesterday. Cancer Research UK are outraged that ‘research shows’ Big Tobacco is packaging brands of cigarettes specifically to appeal to women.

I am not sure which part of this argument is most insulting. On the one hand, this is a gendered version of the patronising claim of the plain packaging warriors: that the only reason anyone smokes is because of the displays of well-designed brands behind supermarket tills. This ‘monkey see, monkey do’ argument suggests all smokers are merely hapless dupes, incapable of resisting any temptation. But if that were true, how to explain those who resist? I know many a teenage boy, grown man (even feminist), exposed to the cleverest adverts and packaging for Dyson vacuum cleaners or Febreze fabric fresheners, who hasn’t mindlessly taken to the joys of housework. In truth, these brands are competing for the custom of those who already do the household chores. No one has yet embraced cleaning per se because of a particularly jazzy disinfectant bottle.”

Read the full article on The Spectator website.