Sex and shopping

Monday 23 May 2005 00:00
Comments

Chalk up another victory for sexual equality. For the first time in its 72-year history, the Littlewoods catalogue has a picture of a man on the front cover. Or rather, it's a German male model called Norbert Michalke swinging a young child, playfully, by the ankles. But the meaning is unmistakable: no longer will clothing catalogues be a female fiefdom. No longer will the so-called "stronger sex" be relegated to a few meagre pages towards the back. Men are home shoppers too - and they deserve recognition.

Chalk up another victory for sexual equality. For the first time in its 72-year history, the Littlewoods catalogue has a picture of a man on the front cover. Or rather, it's a German male model called Norbert Michalke swinging a young child, playfully, by the ankles. But the meaning is unmistakable: no longer will clothing catalogues be a female fiefdom. No longer will the so-called "stronger sex" be relegated to a few meagre pages towards the back. Men are home shoppers too - and they deserve recognition.

Credit to Littlewoods for cottoning on to this new spirit of catalogue sexual equality - although the 40 per cent increase in the number of men using their internet home shopping service no doubt gave them a hefty elbow in the right direction.

And has it not always been obvious really? Is there a demographic group lazier than men when it comes to high-street shopping? Which bloke would prefer to traipse around half a dozen shops in search of that elusive plain white cotton T-shirt, or that perfect pair of pleated tan slacks, if he could do the same job flicking through a magazine or online? The simple truth is that catalogue shopping might have been designed with men specifically in mind. It is a mystery why they have been neglected for so long.

And now the Littlewoods catalogue has fallen, it is surely only a matter of time before the next big male publishing breakthrough. How does the front cover of Cosmopolitan sound?

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