Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon

Andy Murray: Totally NOT the First Brit to Win Wimbledon in 77 Years

I owe Andy Murray an apology.

Once, a while back (perhaps a couple of years ago) I called him “whiny”.  I did this publicly on Twitter.  I apologize, Andy.  You are not whiny.  You are AWESOME!  CONGRATULATIONS!!

Andy Murray has gotten a lot more kick-butt lately.  He’s matured as a human being and as a tennis player, and that is why Virginia Wade and #Wimbledon2013 are this week’s Twitter hashtag of the week!

“Huh?! Who is Virginia Wade and what does she have to do with Andy Murray” you ask?  Lemme ‘splain.

According to Passnotes (“a humorous Q&A about a news issue of the day”) on the Guardian’s website, the Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail (major periodicals in the UK) all published headlines about Murray being the first Brit to win at Wimbledon in 77 years, since Fred Perry won it back in 1936.

WRONG!

Virginia Wade Wimbledon
Virginia Wade holding the Wimbledon trophy on July 1st, 1977

Virginia Wade was the last Brit to win at Wimbledon!  That’s right!  She did it back in 1977!

Perhaps we could give these publications the benefit of the doubt and say that they confused “1977” with “77”, but then their lines about “77-year wait” and “after 77 years” wouldn’t make sense anymore.

Well this is awkward.

Wade is now almost 68 years old (her birthday is coming up on July 10th!), but back in 1977 she was a tennis champion who had previously won the US and Australian Opens.

Not only that, but before her, Britain’s Dorothy Round Little won the women’s title at Wimbledon (1937), so did Angela Mortimer (1961) and Ann Haydon-Jones (1969).

But let us be clear: Because the men’s singles bring in more viewers, sponsors and cash, and because men’s tennis is so much more, well, legit (they actually play 5 whole sets, as opposed to the ladies), the fact that Andy Murray is the first British man to win at Wimbledon in 77 years is more important than Wade’s victory in 1977.

Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon
This is cool. But he’s not the first Brit in 77 years to do it.

Right?

Sadly, so it would seem.

Now, I want to be clear: I do not, in any way, want to diminish Murray’s victory.  He beat Djokovic in an INCREDIBLE final match, and he deserves to revel in his achievement.

But it does not follow that Wade’s victory 36 years ago should be passed over or forgotten merely for the sake of a dramatic headline.  It’s still pretty awesome that Murray is the first Brit to win at Wimbledon in 36 years!  Don’t you think that 36 years is a long enough dry spell?

Okay, okay, call me a feminazi if you want to.  Call me a parade-rainer, a party pooper, or whatever.  Honestly, I didn’t know about Virginia Wade myself until today.  I had heard, like everyone else, that Britain had not had a Wimbledon champion in many long years.

That’s why I’m writing this article, and it’s why I hope you will share.  Because it’s important to remember Virginia Wade, and to celebrate the ladies like the Williams sisters, Sharapova, Bartoli and all the other amazing lady tennis players out there.

Cheers, ladies!

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Excuse me, does this carburetor come in pink?

Oh. Em. Gee, girls.  Isn’t it frustrating when you want to hang a picture but all you have is an ugly manly-colored hammer?  Or when you want to write yourself a shopping list (because that’s all we write, right?) and there’s no lady-sized pen for our delicate little digits?  Or how about when you’re in the market for a tablet computer, but the only options are ugly, complicated, man-centered devices which actually require you to download apps.

Damn!  I *hate* that!  I’m so mad I could eat all the Lindt chocolates AND get a manicure right now!

Okay, no I’m just kidding.

I’m so mad I could do yoga.  Yeah.  That’s how mad  I am.

But seriously, of course, I am not mad.  I am simply baffled.  The latest in the ri-DONK-ulous trend of products-for-women is the ePad Femme (I kid you not), a tablet computer that comes with a pink background and pre-loaded apps, which doesn’t allow you to download any other apps.

ePad Femme
No, this is not a sanitary protection product.

The pre-loaded apps are, predictably, all about yoga, exercise, weight-loss, cooking, perfume and writing shopping lists.  The ladies over at Jezebel have pretty much perfectly expressed my sense of outrage and wonderment, so I do not feel the need to do so here.

But what I do feel the need to do here is wonder why on EARTH marketers and companies keep coming up with these TERRIBLE ideas.  Does anyone remember the “Lady Bic” fiasco with pens “just for her” that sparked a series of absolutely hilarious reviews on Amazon.com?  Or how about Dell’s foray into a website geared just to women called “Della” (because shopping for laptops is SO confusing!).  Other notables include Honda coming out with a car for the ladies, and of course innumerable pink, flowery tools made just for our delicate little hands.

Jessica Grose over at Co.Create asked a couple of branding and design executives why companies keep bringing out these products.  Sometimes it can be an attempt to break into the female market.  Brands like Skinnygirl Cocktails have successfully marketed a “gender-neutral” product (liquor) to ladies and made millions.  So it can be done, apparently, and it can make hella lotsa money.

Bic Cristal for Her
Bic did not get this one right.

The key is to do it cleverly and inoffensively (like Lady Bic razors for women–because shaving legs is VERY different from shaving chins).  The recent PR disasters of the examples I gave above show that some companies just don’t get it (though you’d think after marketing ladies’ razors so well, Bic would have clued in).  But that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop trying.

Ladies, I’m fairly certain we can be sure of seeing more ridiculous examples of just-for-women products in future.  The only thing we can do as innocent consumers (!) is to be aware that we are being marketed to.  We can be informed and critical consumers, by taking the time to evaluate different options on the market and make informed decisions.

It’s cool if we want to buy products that simply look pretty.  It’s also cool if we want to take the time to research our options for laptops, tablets, televisions, cars, and other larger purchases.  It’s important to understand when we’re being targeted by marketers and why.

The brands that market most successfully do it subtly.  The reason the ridiculously sexist products above have failed (and will) is because they’re not subtle.

So I encourage all consumers, ladies and gentlemen alike, to be clever.  Be observant, be discerning, and be informed.  It might not change your buying habits, but at least you’ll know why you choose the products you do.

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