French bank Societe Generale is offering just what every woman wants … not. Reuters reports that, as part of a special summer offer, the bank is offering pink and gold Mastercards “Pour Elles” which offer two “exclusive services” to “make women’s life more beautiful” (“rendre la vie des femmes plus belle”): 200 euros ($250) of handbag theft insurance (including a “guaranteed reimbursement for buying a new bag”) and a dedicated hotline for up to two electrician, locksmith, plumber or other handyman callouts per year.
At least one Societe Generale customer, 24-year-old Lys-Aelia Hart, is not amused that the bank thinks she and other women need such special help. As she says to Reuters,
“It’s a little cheeky to promote both at the same time as ‘female crises’ that could arise. In my eyes, many men don’t know how to deal with a serious electrical issue – on the contrary, they’d probably get killed.”
A Societe Generale spokeswoman tells†Reuters that the bank has found the cards a “success” and doesn’t think they are sexist (as she points out, five percent of those who have signed up for the cards are men):
“We don’t think it’s a discriminatory approach. Those who choose these cards are those who wish to adhere to their femininity.”
As for the pink and gold color of the cards: Was its creator suggesting that they should be some kind of cute fashion accessory?
Take a look at the brochure (PDF) for the “Pour Elles” cards which shows two smiling women, one writing (with a pink pen) on a (pink) folder with a (pink) pencil case nearby. “Be seduced” (“laissez-vous seduire”), proclaims the brochure and then
“Feminine all the way to my fingertips with my ‘pour elles’ MasterCard with a fresh, modern design. More than a fashion accessory, it offers services especially designed to simplify my life.”
(“Feminine jusqu’au bout des ongles avec ma carte MasterCard pour elles au design original et moderne. Bien plus qu’un accessoire de mode, elle propose des services specialement etudies pour me simplifier la vie.”)
Indeed, the “Pour Elles” MasterCards are meant to be “more than a fashion accessory” but an all-essential life line.
Aside from the completely chauvinistic notion of women needing their own “dedicated hotline” to call in a handyman or someone (some man) to help when they (silly things) lock themselves out, the “Pour Elles” MasterCards suggest that women (poor things) are ready victims to having (quelle horreur!) their purses pilfered.
Whoever thought up the “Pour Elles” cards and the whole “hotline” business was making a lot of presumptions — and inaccurate ones — about women.
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