The description on the Newan 40in “mini bouncer” claims only men can construct the item as “the elastic rope part can be tricky”. The product is accompanied by an image of a woman wearing sportswear doing exercises and is recommended to be used for workouts for adults and children.
The sales description states: “This fitness rebounder has a relatively simple installation process, but the elastic rope part can be tricky. Not advised for child or woman to instal alone, additional assistance from men is preferred.”
Amazon has now become caught up in a dispute about sexism over the product – with commenters fiercely criticising the company on its Q&A board.
Critics insisted women are perfectly capable of assembling the trampoline without going to find someone in possession of a Y chromosome first. “Why can’t a woman instal this alone? Could this company be any more sexist?” one customer wrote.
Another post also hit out at the choice of wording. It said: “Why do you recommend that it is not advisable for a woman to be installed alone, additional assistance from men is preferred”?
Newan replied: “This trampoline can be a bit tricky when installing elastic cord parts, it needs some strength. Although we have a matching tool, it is best to wear gloves when installing the elastic rope, so we recommend men first. If the lady can also instal it, it will be even more perfect.”
Another posted: “Are these instructions serious? Not intended for women to assemble alone? Assistance from a man needed? It’s 2019, get lost with your misogynistic nonsense.”
Critics on Twitter also hit out at the instructions. One user said: “Women should rush out to buy these. Assemble them on video and share it online. Call it the trampoline challenge. Let it go viral. That will show Amazon.”
“To me, that is like saying ‘only men can do DIY’. Well I just started learning and now I can use a drill, brushcutter, saw, and I even put a big unit together by myself. My man works nights, so I had to learn to do it. I think companies need to think before they speak!” another added. “Hey Amazon nice listing #everydaysexism,” one Twitter user said.
But Newan was unapologetic, replying: “This is not the case. Because installing the elastic rope is more laborious, so we recommend that men instal the trampoline first. If the woman can instal it, it is more perfect.”
Newan says the trampoline is currently out of stock – advising customers it might not be available again. Amazon appears to have now taken down the mechanism which allows users to see questions and answers on this particular product.
A spokesperson for Amazon told The Independent the wording had been written by a third party seller rather than Amazon and has now been removed.
The controversy comes a month after advertising that endorses harmful gender stereotypes was officially banned by watchdogs. New rules set out by the Advertising Standards Authority mean companies will no longer be able to depict scenes the promote gender stereotypes, such as women doing household chores while their male partners relax with their feet up.
Other scenarios that would come under fire with the new guidelines include schoolgirls being shown to be less academic than boys, women struggling to park a car and men struggling while changing an infant’s nappy. Ads aimed at new mothers could also be troublesome if they suggest that looking attractive or maintaining a pristine home are to be prioritised ahead of their emotional wellbeing.
However, the new guidelines have only been applied to video clips and images, and not to written instructions like those featured on the trampoline advertisement.
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