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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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81 Responses

  1. bee
    bee April 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm |

    oh. yay! pink. I really relate to pink. It makes me more inclined to purchase airline tickets.

  2. Shelly
    Shelly April 11, 2007 at 2:16 pm |

    So I use the blue one if I’m looking for a man, and the pink one if I’m looking for a woman? I had no idea that AA was offering love connection flights!

    Also, what if I want one of each?

  3. graefix
    graefix April 11, 2007 at 2:17 pm |

    Sigh. American Airlines had already alienated me with its “we know why you fly” ads, in which the only women are girlfriends or pretty gate agents. That said, this website would have done the trick, too, if they had not already lost me as a customer b/c of those ads. Buttheads.

  4. alphabitch
    alphabitch April 11, 2007 at 2:21 pm |

    you made this up, right?

  5. Roy
    Roy April 11, 2007 at 2:29 pm |

    you made this up, right?
    Nope. Behold the glory of American Airlines: Women Travelers Connected
    *sigh*

  6. lindsay
    lindsay April 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm |

    Looks like I won’t be flying with those bastards ever again. Who comes up with these ideas, and how the fuck do they get approved???

  7. norbizness
    norbizness April 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm |

    I am disappointed with how bland my search is. Give me Braniff any day!

  8. I'm sick of your insane demands.
    I'm sick of your insane demands. April 11, 2007 at 2:38 pm |

    Air Travel for Us Girls

    Finally! An airline web site in a color I can relate to! As Jill at Feministe and others have noted, American Airlines has a new web site “tailored to [women's] business and pleasure travel needs and lifestyle.” The site…

  9. lindsay
    lindsay April 11, 2007 at 2:42 pm |

    Well, I sent them a nice lovely e-mail.

  10. Regina
    Regina April 11, 2007 at 2:43 pm |

    I actually have a frequent flier plan with these yoyos, so I got a special email describing this new thing. I was so put off by the email I deleted it and didn’t even want to look at the site. I have no idea who is making the decisions at AA, or what they are trying to accomplish with this treacle, but boy are they tone-deaf.

  11. ck
    ck April 11, 2007 at 2:45 pm |

    American Airline says they’ve…recognized the need to provide additional information…

    Uh, where? Looks like less to me.

    Oh wait…there are links under “Women Connected Through Business”, “Women Connected Through Lifestyle” and “Women Connected Through Each Other.” It’s like MySpace for airlines!

  12. JustAnotherJane
    JustAnotherJane April 11, 2007 at 2:46 pm |

    Pink shit is a tool of the patriarchy.

    I’m surprised “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!” isn’t blaring from the webpage. And no “free pink nail polish upon boarding!” promotion?

    BTW the LGBT travelers page (aa.com/rainbow) also has the smaller search box on it, but in blue.

  13. XtinaS
    XtinaS April 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm |

    Blessedly, entering in the main from/to nonsense takes all three pages (main, women, LGBT) to the same FareFinder page.

    Which is not to say it’s somehow less repellent, mind you.

  14. piny
    piny April 11, 2007 at 3:13 pm |

    BTW the LGBT travelers page (aa.com/rainbow) also has the smaller search box on it, but in blue.

    *Snort*

    Okay, now I’m really offended.

    Didn’t they do the same thing awhile back with the girls’n’boys computers? (Mattel, IIRC, was partly responsible–can’t remember who else if anyone) The girls’ version was both pink and bereft of about half the content.

  15. norbizness
    norbizness April 11, 2007 at 3:14 pm |

    “Don’t ask me… I’m just a girl!” You sure are, Malibu Stacy. You sure are.

  16. American Airlines courts the ladies
    American Airlines courts the ladies April 11, 2007 at 3:18 pm |

    [...] es has made the woman-search much more simple than the man-search — none of those… American Airlines courts the ladies [...]

  17. KC
    KC April 11, 2007 at 3:19 pm |

    Seriously? That’s absurd.

    One more reason not to fly American Airlines.

  18. Heraclitus (Jeff)
    Heraclitus (Jeff) April 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm |

    I can never remember which airline I hate. I guess I’ll just go with American.

  19. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe April 11, 2007 at 3:28 pm |

    And the airlines wonder why consumers can’t stand them.

  20. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm |

    And AA has the best policy in the industry on domestic partner benefits; they were and in some ways still a flagship carrier on GLBTQ issues. They were advertising in the gay press ahead of everyone… sigh.

    I am hooked on them as a Oneworld alliance frequent flyer. Given that I have status with ‘em, I ought to drop them a line.

  21. Lenka
    Lenka April 11, 2007 at 3:38 pm |

    Gosh, that’s so helpful of them…since for the past umpteen years I’ve been the one arranging travel for my (mostly male) bosses. If you look at their “women’s” site below the pink box, there are options for choosing a discount code and one way/multiple destination trips, but clicking these takes you to a new, non-pink window – and requires more navigation and clicking to accomplish the same task. At best, AA’s “female” interface is pointless and poorly designed compared to their “male” one, but I’m still annoyed they’d bother with this “boys” and “girls” nonsense.

    Thanks, I’ll pick another airline for my next trip.

  22. little light
    little light April 11, 2007 at 3:41 pm |

    Well, Lord knows women don’t need the Advanced search. C’mon. Use your tiny, tiny lady-brain. And reservations? What woman could think ahead far enough past her next shopping spree to make one of those? It’s not like any of ‘em travel for business.

  23. evil fizz
    evil fizz April 11, 2007 at 3:45 pm | *

    It’s not like any of ‘em travel for business.

    Seriously. We’re all supposed to be back in the kitchen baking cookies. Lord knows you can’t be baking chocolate chip cookies in coach.

  24. Shawna R. B. Atteberry
    Shawna R. B. Atteberry April 11, 2007 at 4:15 pm |

    I’m in agreement with the rest: one more reason not to fly AA. I was not happy with them this past Christmas.

  25. r@d@r
    r@d@r April 11, 2007 at 4:27 pm |

    not to irresponsibly throw gasoline on the fire, but wasn’t AA the airline stupid enough to kick a woman off of a flight for breastfeeding without a blanket to protect the other passengers from her scary evil breast, inspiring cross-country lactivism events?

  26. ekf
    ekf April 11, 2007 at 4:29 pm |

    American Airlines must not believe me to be a woman, because I logged into their site with my frequent flyer number and they gave me the one for BOYS! Horrors! However will I choose a flight now, what with so many more choices as to how to build an itinerary?!?!

    What a colossally stupid idea.

  27. oudemia
    oudemia April 11, 2007 at 4:56 pm |

    I am mad at AA because over the course of one year they have lowered the on-line booking bonus from 1000 miles to 250. This chaps my ass. Grr.

    I mentioned this over at Consumerist, but my big gender-based complaint with airlines is that I am forever being asked to sit next to and babysit unattended children. I must seem like such a nice young lady! (Gah.) Worse, I always say yes. Maybe they wrote SUCKA in big letters next to my name in the TSA database.

  28. ekf
    ekf April 11, 2007 at 5:12 pm |

    My email to AA:

    To whom it may concern,

    While I appreciate American Airlines trying to address the needs of its female customers, I found your “page for women” cringeworthy, even giving its designers every benefit of the doubt. I have misgivings about specific marketing towards women, because it balkanizes the commercial experience in a way that indicates that men are the “standard” and women are the “other,” the afterthought. “Separate but equal” is a concept that isn’t just problematic with respect to race. But even looking past my issues with balkanized marketing on something as general as air travel, the page has other large problems.

    For one thing, the women’s page is not equal. It’s stereotypically pink, which is off-putting (can’t women be part of the red, white & blue American color scheme too — if we have to have our own color, that is?), and the search box has few of the features of the standard/now-male search box (and the advanced features set up below the box are much more cumbersome than just going through the main page). Does American Airlines think we women are intellectually incapable of assembling a complicated itinerary or too indecisive to make travel plans with all of those fearsome choices of searching by fare OR by schedule? This limited set of choices does not send the kind of message I assume you want to send.

    As a woman who works outside the home, I read through the tips designed for “women connected through business.” The focus on fashion was jarring. My airline choice has to do with three things: price (my costs are billed through to clients), convenience and reliability. I neither need nor want advice on what to wear, thank you very much, and I find it odd and condescending to see that sort of advice oriented towards working women. Instead of addressing my fashion needs, if American wants to ensure my stylish comfort in flight, it can start by making sure that every seat has a blanket and a pillow (instead of two per row), so I can have proper lumbar support and am not grouchily freezing my butt off throughout the flight.

    Lastly, the biggest issue where an airline could set itself apart with respect to its female customers is to make traveling with children (something women do moreso than men) less of a headache. Child-oriented gear is still a tremendous headache — is there nothing the airlines can do to help other than pass the buck to the TSA? What about making sections of the plane more friendly to families traveling together during flight times when you know families travel together (weekends, for example)? Why can the families with kids not sit generally closer to the bathroom, and get more help getting seated together without families having to resort to begging and inconveniencing individual passengers to trade? Why not have a Family Flight Concierge at the airport at high-family traffic times or a dedicated phone number where people can call for help when the website is not helpful? What advice do you have for nursing women that’s more dignified than asking them to nurse in the smelly bathroom? Most importantly, what about changing the pricing for childrens’ airline tickets so that more families can afford to travel together once kids need their own seats? These are real problems, and it would be a wonderful thing to see that an airline cared more about these real problems and less about making sure I wear pants that are less likely to wrinkle.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

  29. Kali
    Kali April 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm |

    Of all the jawdropping links you have ever posted, for some reason this one is the one that takes the… biscuit. I mean… wha? how? WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE? I have this default, dumbassed assumption that the patriarchy doesn’t really believe its own ludicrous propaganda, because most of its most fervent propagandists have clear self interest invested in pretending to believe what they say. Even if all they get out of it is a sense of superiority-to-women, they do, on some level, *know* they’re just kidding themselves, right? It takes insaneoid and relatively harmless business decisions like this to show me that no, they really do believe their own stereotypes.
    *head asplodes*

  30. LS
    LS April 11, 2007 at 5:23 pm |

    Oh, dangit, and I’m flying with them tomorrow! *grumble* I didn’t book it; it was through an agency arranging transportation to a workship, and if I want the $200 travel refund, I have to take what they give me. I was already miffed over their “customer comfort”, which compared to JetBlue is nothing of the sort. Now I get to be double-miffed.

  31. Hestia
    Hestia April 11, 2007 at 5:27 pm |

    Also, it’s BAD WEB DESIGN. You don’t construct a superfluous interface that has fewer functions and requires more steps based solely on the gender of your visitor. You just don’t.

    And the happy talk? The part where they waste space with transparent flattery?

    Welcome to American Airlines AA.com/women – the airline industry’s first web page dedicated to connecting women who travel, and an example of American’s commitment to the growing women’s market.

    This web page is about you – our valued customer. We’ve listened to women like you and recognized the need to provide additional information tailored to your business and pleasure travel needs and lifestyle.

    It makes my head hurt.

    (Isn’t Don’t Make Me Think! — specifically, page 46 — required reading for professional web developers? It should be.)

  32. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm |

    I’m partial to AA because I fly them a lot (more than any other US airline, largely because they partner with BA, where I rack up major mileage). And I’m partial to them because as I said above, they have a progressive record compared to the rest of the industry.

    They were the only airline among the Top 12 businesses for Latinas.

    It’s the highest ranked airline for diversity according to Hispanic Business.

    Ranked the top airline for women engineers.

    The only airline to be a title sponsor of women’s leadership exchange.

    The only airline on the top 100 list of best companies for working mothers, 2002.

    The first airline in the world to have its own gay and lesbian employee organization, recognized and supported by the airline itself.

    It is the #1 airline as ranked by Planet Out.

    Yes, folks, I fly. A lot, probably more than most. (Gettin’ on an AA flight across country tomorrow. Again.) And though I agree this current campaign is a misstep, it needs to be weighed against the bigger picture. And if you look at the whole industry, compared to any of the other carriers, AA deserves progressive support — at least, in as much as any legacy carrier that contributes to global warming does.

  33. XtinaS
    XtinaS April 11, 2007 at 6:02 pm |

    @Hugo – That’s why this is startling to me, at least: that they’re so much better than other airlines with all of these things, so wth is this nonsense?

    In other news, a commenter at the Consumerist blog mentioned the Slashdot April Fool’s page, and now I can’t stop laughing.

  34. randomliberal
    randomliberal April 11, 2007 at 6:04 pm |

    So i went to the main website, and while i didn’t really look very hard, i failed to see any way to navigate to the “for wimmins” page. Did anyone else try that, and were you more successful? Or is this just some pointless (well…duh) special page that you already have to know the url for to get to?

    And does my question make sense?

  35. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2007 at 6:16 pm |

    Here’s the link to the special page.

  36. DataShade
    DataShade April 11, 2007 at 6:43 pm |

    So … wait, how does that work, then? Women don’t get to pick departure times? don’t get to select the number of passengers? That seems beyond misogynistic jackassery and into the realm of non-functionality! It’d be like thinking “let’s make this streamlined for the little girls” and take doorknobs off the bathroom doors, rendering them unopenable.

    No wonder they’re bankrupt.

  37. miss sophie
    miss sophie April 11, 2007 at 6:44 pm |

    I’ve sent them an email of complaint. I don’t fly american airlines because I don’t fly in america. But now I’m never going to!

  38. sophonisba
    sophonisba April 11, 2007 at 7:16 pm |

    And though I agree this current campaign is a misstep, it needs to be weighed against the bigger picture. And if you look at the whole industry, compared to any of the other carriers, AA deserves progressive support — at least, in as much as any legacy carrier that contributes to global warming does.

    So you’re saying, then, they’ve earned the right to spit in our faces.

    If you are correct about their progressive values, they will respond well to boycotts and angry letters with apologies and by fixing the insults. Much better than other airlines would, so we’d better get started.

  39. Angiportus
    Angiportus April 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm |

    And women get this silly little cursive font that you can’t so easily read…Gag me. All right, I haven’t checked their page, being a non-flyer all these years, but it is disgusting to see stereotypes smeared over everything in sight.

  40. Amanda
    Amanda April 11, 2007 at 8:32 pm |

    I just threw up a little.

    Like most others have said, this just doesn’t make sense. What “additional information” are they providing?

    I think the time, energy, and money invested in this project would have been better spent on improving the overall customer experience (i.e. not stranding me in Tokyo sans suitcase and only providing $100 compensation for the clothing I had to purchase in the 3 days it took to get my suitcase to me), getting flights off the ground on time, etc.

  41. Sara no H.
    Sara no H. April 11, 2007 at 8:40 pm |

    NOOOOOO, they’re one of the last affordable nonstop flights between here and home! /cries

  42. Kelsey
    Kelsey April 11, 2007 at 10:17 pm |

    I think there should be a feminist airline. I do think women should be traveling more on their own and not only with families and boyfriends.

  43. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon April 11, 2007 at 10:34 pm |

    …hmm.. you know…. if they charge .70 for a mans $1… then the pink, I can put up with… for the 30% discount y’know.

    Otherwise… I don’t get the marketing ploy.

  44. Chesna
    Chesna April 11, 2007 at 11:02 pm |

    I really thought you were kidding about aa.com/rainbow. what weird marketing.
    btw, how come I can only book flights to San Francisco?? ;)

  45. elizabeth
    elizabeth April 12, 2007 at 2:30 am |

    haha! That’s a pretty typical marketing screw-up – AA is one corp which, unlike many, will go after anyone with money – however, they didn’t get a good marketing team with this one; either that or they hired the people who do movie endings for hollywood (make it simple so we can get the biggest number of people to understand it and have a happy ending).

    I personally am not offended becuase with studying and teaching gay marketing, this is only sort of a C+/B- in cringeworthy – guess they needed to dig deeper and figure out that women who fly a lot are also educated and making a lot of money, so are used to, you know, making their own decisions.

  46. Catherine Martell
    Catherine Martell April 12, 2007 at 4:04 am |

    Apologies if someone has already pointed this out. The pink one has smiling girlfriends (one blonde, one brunette, one Of Color – so that’s all of us represented, then) faded out into its pastel nastiness.

    Amazing. Just amazing.

  47. Andrew
    Andrew April 12, 2007 at 4:49 am |

    What makes it all the weirder is that there doesn’t appear to be a link to their new interfaces on the front page. Do they expect people to google “american airlines women”*? Surely that’s too complicated for women to do?

    *or “american airlines gay”

  48. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon April 12, 2007 at 7:02 am |

    (one blonde, one brunette, one Of Color – so that’s all of us represented, then)

    Hmph… not all of us! What about the red-heads?

  49. dckid
    dckid April 12, 2007 at 7:41 am |

    I like that idea about a feminist airline. What would that look like?

    To start with, a policy explicitly in support of mothers’ right to breastfeed in whatever manner they see fit?

    What else?

    I guess what I’m saying is, if I were to write AA a letter, I’d want to suggest that they might have had good intentions, but that they should have gone about it in such-and-such a way.

  50. Myca
    Myca April 12, 2007 at 8:35 am |

    Oh.
    My.
    Lord.

    This is freaking ridiculous, to the point where I’d assumed it was a joke, but no, no, it’s not a joke, except in the sense that American Airlines is.

  51. Cris
    Cris April 12, 2007 at 10:12 am |

    Hooray to Hugo for providing some perspective. But there’s nothing wrong with a little mockery, even (or especially) when we’re mocking the mistakes of our allies.

    And for that matter, since AA appears to have a good track record (as Hugo illustrates), they’re more likely to recognize the inadvertent message their targeted marketing sends.

  52. Blog of the Moderate Left » Great Moments in Gender Equity

    [...] os/87563349@N00/456620361/”> American Airlines evidently has come to the decision that chicks are stupid.  How else can one expla [...]

  53. Joanna
    Joanna April 12, 2007 at 11:56 am |

    ekf, great letter! If they get a few more like this, they might pay attention.

  54. Kyso K
    Kyso K April 12, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    There are too many options in that box. How can I possibly pick a destination, departure AND return day? I just want a button that I click and it tells me where and when I’m going and how much it costs.

  55. Danyell
    Danyell April 12, 2007 at 12:31 pm |

    As a woman, I’m so used to having things dictated to me and being told what to do, I’m not very inclined to use search engines with lots of “options” and “choices” and…”thinking”. I can barely choose a date to leave (what with the time it takes me to pack all my unnecessary extra shoes) let alone an airport or an “advanced” options.

    Good thing they understand my feeble brain! LOL!!!11@

    (So, where do I write to complain…?)

  56. Beth
    Beth April 12, 2007 at 12:34 pm |

    I too can find no indication or link to this page (or the gay page) from the main AA site, which I find quite odd if they’re trying to “reach out”. But when I do find it by floowing a blog link, I see that the search box is no longer pink with curly script. Still every bit as simple though.

    I have always liked AA for being so gay-friendly but they’re definitely slipping of late. Let’s not forget this incident: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/09/25/060925ta_talk_collins

  57. RadicalCentrist
    RadicalCentrist April 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm |

    Now, it’s not there at all, from the main page, unless you follow a link to it. (i.e., it’s not taken off the site, it’s just not linked to from the main page, apparently). I guess it was more palatable than offering a 30% discount?

    Heh. That was quick. Go girl power? Or rather, smart angry women’s power?

  58. RadicalCentrist
    RadicalCentrist April 12, 2007 at 2:07 pm |

    I take that back. You just have to refresh the page enough for the box to come up.

    I love it: Women Connected Through Business says:

    Check the latest carry-on regulations, find advice on travel safety and wellness, and pick up tips for a stylish and efficient travel wardrobe.

    Because businesswomen overpack like spoiled rich girls on holiday, and don’t know how to dress for sucess while traveling, either. *sigh*

  59. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke April 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm |

    That reminds me, you gals might want to clean up this comment box. “Bold”? “Link”? You’re going to confuse your girl brains.

    Of course, men like me appreciate the options….

    I know! Maybe you can make a Feministe special for the little woman! I dunno, make it pink and use “girlfriend” a lot. Chicks love that crap.

    Good thing you ladies have a smart man like me around to think this stuff up for you.

  60. Egarwaen
    Egarwaen April 12, 2007 at 4:06 pm |

    Assuming that the other functionality is still found after you click “Get Fare”, the “Woman Search” is actually a better UI than the “Man Search”. It lets you choose the important things (where are you coming from, where are you going, and when) first, and then lets you deal with the details (one-way VS two-way, departure/arrival time, number of passengers, nearby airports, etc) after you’ve got the basic information.

    Doesn’t change the fact that the idea behind the site is crap, but the simpler search UI is better.

  61. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers April 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm |

    Okay, there’s a fundamental flaw with the premise of your picture up there.

    It’s not “woman search/man search.” It’s “woman search/people search.” Because women are considered both women and people, whereas men are considered people most of the time, and men only when it’s time to exclude women. Girls have cooties, and therefore more options.

    Here’s what I mean. It’s naturally assumed that things that normal people would like, women would like, too. So anything that isn’t aggressively gendered male (usually in ways that try to reduce any woman entering that space to T&A) is for both sexes. However, since men believe their penises will shrivel up and fall off on exposure to pink, all you need to do to gender something for women is make it purple and put women’s faces on it. Men feel a level of discomfort at entering spaces gendered for women that women only feel when men are *trying* to embarrass and humiliate us.

    Women are both women and people. Men are people first, but when they’re men, they’re the opposite of women. This reduces their humanity, it does not enhance it. When universal human experiences are gendered feminine — such as the desire to look pretty, or the desire to hug our same-sex friends– they are effectively removed from the male repetoire. Men are doing this to themselves mostly, I don’t see a lot of pressure from women to do it, but it’s one way in which the patriarchy is harming them. We are actually not excluded from any generic human space — the addition of things for women is because women are human *and* women. Men don’t get a man search. But if they did, the UI would be just as oversimplified, the fonts would be square and the colors aggressive, there would be pictures of scantily clad women and links to companies that sell beer and cars, there would be sports news, and there would be a lot of exclamation points and gross humor.

    I’m not offended by this on the grounds that it’s purple and the UI sucks — it’s not like they’re forcing me to go there based on looking up my profile and finding out I’m female. They’re actually giving me more options, not fewer. I’m offended because it’s part and parcel of a system that says that women are special and different and weird, thus women are human plus, whereas men are ordinary folks and all things should be measured by the standard of men, except when it comes time to actually consider what it *means* to be male, which is where we have to subtract everything feminine — thus men are human minus. So my sons can’t wear anything attractive and my daughters have to live in a world where they’re always unusual, always different than the norm, despite the fact that we are the frickin’ MAJORITY.

  62. Doodle Bean
    Doodle Bean April 12, 2007 at 5:02 pm |

    It looks just like a page for Sky High Airlines!

    (for a moment of comic relief…)

  63. Spinsterina
    Spinsterina April 12, 2007 at 5:07 pm |

    i tried to use it — the pink is SOOOO cute! — but it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t get it to find me a flight from Fenix to Las Angeles. Wouldn’t work. So I’m just going to have my husband do it. ha! lol! :-)

  64. spideymike
    spideymike April 12, 2007 at 5:38 pm |

    They seem to have changed the page to show a blue flight-booking box. It’s still the smaller box with minimal features, though.

  65. defenestrated
    defenestrated April 12, 2007 at 6:02 pm |

    This graphic reminded me of – and fuck, I have no clue where I saw it now, probably here – the thing about marketing basically alcoholic kids’ drinks as “for the female market.” Every time something gets dumbed down, it’s “for the ladies,” who aren’t up to full adult – oops I mean manly – tastes.

    It’s like how crappy American beer is watered down because of an ages-ago attempt to make beer more appealing to women, who apparently don’t like teh bitter. I didn’t know that beer didn’t suck until I went to Europe and the Pacific northwest and found microbrews. When I was a kid my dad used to say of food I was too young to appreciate, “It’s too good for babies!” (there was a certain sing-song quality that made it funnier than it looks, which I obviously can’t replicate in print). I had no idea until I got older that in the eyes of the-world-at-large, women are essentially babies.

  66. defenestrated
    defenestrated April 12, 2007 at 6:05 pm |

    I think I skipped a thought between “and found microbrews.” and “When I was a kid”. Watered-down lady-beer is crap, but aside from that it’s also now a cultural archetype for consumer-privileged-masculinity (see: beer ads, a term which at this point needs no explication).

    A new paragraph at that point would’ve been good too.

  67. tzs
    tzs April 12, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    Was this designed by some 17-year old with a secret passion for reading Seventeen?

    That’s the only scenario I can come up with.

    Fortunately, I am surrounded by role models of intelligent women (such as my CPA and my lawyer) as well as being a-female-with-a-Ph.D-in-physics myself, so silliness like this only causes me to say “WTF?” and be even more determined to use JAL for my trips to Japan.

    Look, guys, that “women are brainless little idiots” was debunked a long time ago. Don’t you think you should come into the 21st century?

  68. MJ
    MJ April 12, 2007 at 9:19 pm |

    It isn’t lady beer. Its not beer, it’s making love in a canoe. I find that quite insulting. Its crap beer, for one. And the other, they didn’t design the watered down beer for women to drink.

    Truth be told, the big brewing companies make watered down beer for their target demographic- men between the ages of 21-29. If its less viscous, (and has less hops) people drink more. Guinness is filling. Bud is not. And since big companies have a big market share and somewhat lower prices than the microbrews, it is their aim to sell more watered down beer to a target audience with the usual sexist marketing. Which we all are sadly exposed to. They don’t care, with few exceptions, about selling beer to women. Its watered down, but not primarily so women drink it.

    Microbrews, on the other hand, sell craft beer, at higher prices. They’ve invested in developing a product, but not in volume sales. Quality, not quantity. And the beer tastes better.

    I don’t know where that ‘lady beer’ idea came from. I’d bet good money that the brewing companies that make watered down beer used men of their target demographic when conducting ‘fullness tests’ (think- how much of this beer can you drink?), and if a few more women drink it, well, its a happy accident, but not good planning.

  69. defenestrated
    defenestrated April 12, 2007 at 10:04 pm |

    MJ, never underestimate the power of urban myth. I’m fully willing to believe that what I said is b.s. (especially since by now I can’t remember where I heard that), but I still want to point out that I didn’t mean that watered-down beer is now or still made with the women’s demographic in mind, hence the “back in the day.”

    I can’t enter into a debate over the history of beer, being more of a ‘fan’ than ‘historian’ :)

  70. Brittany
    Brittany April 12, 2007 at 10:44 pm |

    The pink box is gone!

  71. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke April 12, 2007 at 11:32 pm |

    The pink box is gone!

    Yes, but the screencaps remain. Really, that’s almost worse than doing nothing. It’s got a very rearranging-deck chairs-on-the-Titanic feel, don’t it?

    As for beer, one of my best friends is a beer writer and can talk your ear off at length. And no, beer was never, ever marketed at women.

    Incidentally, I’ve never thought of it as “lady beer,” as all the women I know drink vodka or wine. I thought of it as poor, pathetic frat-boy beer. And I still do to this very day.

  72. zuzu
    zuzu April 12, 2007 at 11:42 pm | *

    This graphic reminded me of – and fuck, I have no clue where I saw it now, probably here – the thing about marketing basically alcoholic kids’ drinks as “for the female market.” Every time something gets dumbed down, it’s “for the ladies,” who aren’t up to full adult – oops I mean manly – tastes.

    There used to be a thing called 3.2 beer, or “near beer,” and back in the day (i.e., when my mother was in college during the late 50s), women could drink it (but nothing else) at bars at 18, while men had to wait until 21 for all drinks.

    Of course, that didn’t stop her from getting a fake ID.

    Also, a look through the archives shows me that I’ve written about crap wine marketed for women and crap radio stations marketed to women.

  73. Heraclitus (Jeff)
    Heraclitus (Jeff) April 13, 2007 at 12:23 am |

    Well, it’s good they were at least trying to get the 18 year old women drunk. Makes my skin crawl.

  74. Andrew
    Andrew April 13, 2007 at 3:46 am |

    I read here (via Michelle) that mass-produced beer tastes the way it does because of the Prohibition (giving rise to near beer and few brewers), ingredient shortage in WWII, and profit margins. It’s perfectly possible to make a lighter beer like a lager that people can drink a lot of, which still has flavour (in my experience).

  75. David Harmon
    David Harmon April 13, 2007 at 5:58 am |

    What a dumbass idea. Maybe AA got a visit from Cheney and he ate the brains of their marketing department?

    Side topic: My mom usually sticks to wine (on the rare occasion), but once she bought a case of Bud Light… my sisters and I teased her for years over that!

  76. Susan
    Susan April 13, 2007 at 2:13 pm |

    What I want to know is who did they actually talk to? They must have had focus groups and such, and the best thing they could come up with was a pink interface and a hook for your purse?! Reminds me of about 10 years ago, when they reformatted Toys R Us to have “Girls World” (all pink and dolls) and “Boys World” (all blue and action toys). My daughter was really annoyed that she had to go into boys world to get what she wanted. That was the last time I went to Toys R Us!

  77. Nausicaa
    Nausicaa April 13, 2007 at 4:34 pm |

    From the ” Women Connected Through Each Other” link on the bottom

    Charities We Support
    As women, we naturally want to assist where we can

    Ugh…

  78. Lirpa
    Lirpa April 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm |

    The unfortunate thing is, if American Airlines went through the trouble of actually designing this and putting it up and advertising it, then it must mean that they did some kind of market research on what women wanted when purchasing tickets online. I’m sure they didn’t just sit down at a board meeting one day and think, “Hey guys, let’s make a boy/girl website, where boys get lots of choices and women get like, 2. And while we’re at it, let’s make it pink.”

    I have to assume that a airline that large would have done research (see how they say “We’ve listened to women” on their page when introducing the new “features”) and made changes accordingly. While I’m certain that no women actually said something like, “Please, change it so it’s pink, because I’m a girl and therefore like to look at pink stuff,” I’m also sure that they must have gotten a lot of feedback regarding how “confusing” or “cluttered” the website was in the past, and compared it to, perhaps, how men maybe didn’t say those same things during whatever feedback, and assumed that if the majority of women thought it was too complicated, then it’d do them good to simplify it.

    It insults me, too, just like when I read about how Best Buy was doing something similar (sorry, I don’t have a link because I found it months ago and it’s no longer online), but really, they have had to have gotten those ideas from a large number of women who requested it. We shouldn’t assume it’s just ignorant, misogynistic men who decided it was a good idea…

  79. Matthew Lerner
    Matthew Lerner April 16, 2007 at 9:54 am |

    Whoever set that up is clearly a sexist moron for two reasons:
    a) Women are just as capable of dealing with a difficult interface as men
    b) Neither gender is terribly good at it, and the pink interface is a better overall design. I mean, aside from the stupid background image and ugly pink color. It could be even better – build in some really good language parsing and such, and use only one text box.

  80. Jude
    Jude April 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm |

    I’m not sure if anyone else has already mentioned it, but what’s with the phallic airplane nose coming into the pink picture?

    And how does this shit ever get approved?

  81. me
    me April 16, 2007 at 1:28 pm |

    Huh? I just went to the site http://www.aa.com/women , clicked on the big, red “BOOK NOW” button and was taken to the full interface. Perhaps they’ve pulled it?

    And clicking on “Women Connected” takes me to the item ” The Center for Women’s Business Research turns research into knowledge—the most up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge about one of the most dynamic and fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy. The Center’s mission is to provide data-driven knowledge to advance the economic, social and political impact of women business owners and their enterprises worldwide. American Airlines is pleased to be a sponsor of the Center for Women’s Business Research three-year study: Accelerating the growth and success of businesses owned by women of color.”

    Err… I’m confused now. What’s the problem? This is could well be tokenism, but it doesn’t seem as you describe anymore. [Reads comments] Oh, right, now you’re complaining because they pulled it. How can they win? By not having done it in the first place, right? Not good enough. You need to show a pattern of behavior before condemning them. This article doesn’t do that.

    I have to say, this notion is pretty weird. The normal way to do it is to have a simple search, then an “advanced search” for people of whatever gender who like to have fine control over their search.

    I suspect this was the result of a brainstorming session gone awry. It may even have been come up with by a woman. A complaint I have heard from a couple of women is that devices have been designed by men with men in mind, that they are gratuitously complicated, and I’ve been asked “why can’t they be easy to use”, etc.

    I daresay a lot of men and women feel the same way (not me, I like to be able to tell machines what I want them to do in as much detail as I require). I think that’s part of the appeal to many of Apple’s devices and computers. But I think even they usually have and “Advanced” option (and I don’t mean the low-level stuff).

    (Hm. There’s a more important comment I need to follow up than this one. Maybe tomorrow. I’ve made someone a promise I’ll read aloud.)

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