One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

October 18, 2008

Humourless Feminist Attends Trade Show for Women

A while ago, saskatoon had a trade show catering to men (’cause like, men are such an underserved niche market, right?) But, well, when you say outright that it’s catering to men, then suddenly you have more license to, say, have women walking around in lingerie.

This weekend, there’s the Woman’s World trade show going on in Saskatoon. It’s organized by the same people, but, you know, for women.

So, I knew there was going to be belly dancing there and I thought maybe if I had a chance to get out there and see them perform, that would be cool, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to be an audience for a belly dance performance. And then, Friday, a coworker said how she and a girlfriend were going after work because they had some free tickets and I was welcome to come. Which sounded like a good way to do things. So I went.

And, I mean, I should have known. No, I mean, I did know that it would be a vacuous experience littered with shoes/jewellery/beauty-treatments — you know: girl things. I forgot to extrapolate things like how at a trade show for men, they push lingerie and a culture of subservience to men so naturally at a trade show for women they… uh,  push lingerie and a culture of subservience to men.

I realize it was put on by the same people who organized the man-trade-show, but it was pretty much exactly a man trade show but with different exhibitors and performers. The announcer was still a dude with an arena announcer voice. You know, the guy who would be announcing at monster truck rallies.

I thought it was interesting that after going through all these booths selling spa treatments, jewelery, lingerie, more jewelery and chocolate, what really got my coworker excited was a booth selling aromatherapy treatment to stop snoring. “OMG, tell me how I can make my husband stop snoring,” she said as soon as we rounded the corner and saw it. And she gladly spent $25 on a little jar o’ stuff.

Then at the next booth, she bought herself a hard-hat (in pink, but still).

There was lots of good stuff for the offending of humourless feminists. Like, you know those beach coverups that are like long t-shirts but printed with cartoon bodaciously-bikinied bodies? Well, obviously someone needed to make infant onesies printed with bodaciously-bikinied bodies. Like, now your 1 year old doesn’t have to wait to be hawt.

Or maybe they mean, “children are just opportunities for parental personal branding anyway.”

Or possibly, “come on, the sexualization of infants is all in good fun.”

Or something.

So then there was watching the belly dancing. The dancers were fabulous, naturally. But they were announced by the monster-truck-rally-voiced-guy. And at the end, he came out on stage with them and brought some guy in his 50s with him and said something about how it was this dood’s birthday. I didn’t catch why this dood was significant, for all I know he did custodial work for the arena — he was certainly wearing the red polyester workpants and giant keychain to indicate such importantness. And then Mr. MonsterTruck said that because of said dood’s birthday, “the girls have agreed to do a special dance just for him.” Whereat, Mr. RedPants unhooked his keychain from his pants and put it and his wallet aside. And then made with the kind of body language you see in men at nightclubs, all with the “come on then,” arms out, pelvis forward. My coworker looked aghast and said, “WTF is that? Like he’s expecting to get a lap-dance or something?” And, “how is THAT supposed to be part of a woman-friendly atmosphere?”

Then, “the girls,” just stood there and sang Happy Birthday. Which got a laugh out of the audience and might have actually made a satisfying end to the whole thing, but some helpful person put their finale song back on the sound system and cranked it and Mr. MonsterTruck made with more of the “Well go on,” gestures towards Mr. RedPants, and so some of them half-heartedly danced and some of them whole-heartedly danced and Mr. RedPants got himself in the middle of things and danced in the personal space of the ones who were clearly the youngest, most vulnerable-looking and most un-whole-hearted about the whole thing. And my co-worker said, “I’m so uncomfortable with this. Do you want to go?” And we left.

When decompressing at home about the whole experience and the contrasting of this show with the man show, Ian said very helpfully, “Well a trade show for women is more about training than anything else.” Which, actually is so true. Women get conditioned their whole lives to think that if they just find the right rules of femininity then they will learn to get along. If you can just be the right amount of pretty and alluring without being slutty or trying too hard or looking like a cougar, then you’ll find the right man and be able to hold his interest and get the promotion and be respected and no longer be in that class that is somehow different from the ideal woman class and therefore has something about them that asks to be harassed, ridiculed or sexually assaulted.

This is why things marketed to women always seem to be imparting some secret. Because most women are scared that the rest of the feminine world knows how to do it and we don’t.

The problem is, that class that’s never asking to be harassed, ridiculed and sexually assaulted? That’s men.

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  1. Alison

     /  2008-10-19



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