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It's not just air conditioning that's guilty of camouflage sexism

Here's looking at you, seat belts...

Mollie Goodfellow
Tuesday 04 August 2015 17:51 BST
A study of 16 young women performing light office work showed that they were at risk of being over-chilled by air conditioning in summer
A study of 16 young women performing light office work showed that they were at risk of being over-chilled by air conditioning in summer (Rex Features)

Do you and your colleagues constantly fight about the temperature of your office? Do you bring in an "office jumper" because you’re constantly chilly, or end up fanning yourself with your quarterly sales numbers because it’s baking? If you’re looking for someone to blame, have you considered blaming men? Because you should.

A new study has shown that air conditioning units in the modern workplace are set to appease the temperature and metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man, the default personnel fodder of the everyday office, of course.

You’d think we’d be passed this kind of weird, non-aggressive but nonetheless baffling sexism, yet here we are.

Air conditioning isn’t the only camouflage sexism that exists in our society, if you know where to look...

Heart attacks

Heart attacks, I hear you say. How can they be sexist? A heart attack doesn’t know your gender. And no, you’re right, it doesn't.

But, women have completely different symptoms for heart attacks then men. Men will experience sharp chest pain, shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat. Women on the other hand will experience symptoms similar to flu, along with potential back pain and a sore jaw.

Women are unlikely to know this however, because in medical TV shows it’s unlikely that they’ll show women suffering heart attacks, because you can’t show boobs on TV and you can’t use a defibrillator on someone wearing clothing or a bra.

Boobs are obviously too controversial and titillating for grown-ups to deal with on TV. But men’s chests and nipples are totally legit.


Not as serious as heart attacks, but men’s clothing is pocket-abundant for all the important gadgets and things that men have to carry. Wallet, phone, pen knife, ego - it all goes in the pockets.

Buying women’s clothes is infuriating because while garments appear to have pockets, they’re actually sewn up. Because of course all women are carrying handbags and why would they need pockets, right?

Smart technology

iWatch faces are big, and not a natural fit for women’s wrists which can be slimmer. Smartphones are getting larger and larger, conveniently suited for the wider span of a man hand.

Seat belts

Seatbelts, designed to keep you safe in case of a car crash. Well, I say designed to keep "you" safe. In reality, they’re designed to keep a certain height of crash dummy safe. And that height is skewed to that of the average man.

Seat belts also fail to take into account boobs, which is a pain in the…well, boob.

It’s similar with life jackets or bullet proof vests. Heaven forbid you are of a bigger cup size that needs a bit more room. I mean you might survive a boat capsizing but at what cost?


If you’re a Dr, you better believe that everyone will assume you’re a man. In Cambridge earlier this year, a woman ended up locked out of her Pure Gym changing room, because the algorithm in the computer and security card assumed that she was a man, because of her Dr title. It’s 2015, for god’s sake.

Gendered items

Despite the fact that both men and women use razors, you’ll often find yourself strolling down the "Women’s razors" aisle. Same with "Women’s deodorant".

And instead of just playing football, earlier this year England’s "women’s team", took part in the "Women’s World Cup", because heaven forbid it’s confused with the man’s game (even though we were much better, just saying).

Video games

Oh boy I just love when I sit down to play a game like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty and my only choice of character is some dude. And if there is a woman, you just know that she’ll be unnecessarily over-sexualised. What larks for those of us who don't get much of a kick out of pixellated cleavage.

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