UK pants label: Give laundry to 'your woman'
This tweet from British journalist Emma Barnett show's the laundry tag from a pair of Madhouse pants
March 8th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

UK pants label: Give laundry to 'your woman'

A firestorm set off in a pair of men's trousers has left a British apparel company deflecting allegations of sexism and denying that it thinks laundry is strictly a woman's job.

It's not every day that clothing care instructions spark controversy. But that's what happened after British journalist Emma Barnett picked up her boyfriend's pants over the weekend while tidying the house.

Underneath the usually customary "machine wash warm" instructions, the tag offered a less appropriate option: “OR – GIVE IT TO YOUR WOMAN, IT’S HER JOB.”

Barnett tweeted an image of the tag on Monday, prompting an immediate outcry on social media and demands to out the company, Madhouse. The ensuing controversy has divided the citizenry into two camps: those who thought it was hilarious, with some asking how they can buy a pair, and those who found it offensive.

"Now normally I am the type of person who can stomach, and often smile along, with a touch of what has just become known as casual sexist 'banter,’ " Barnett, digital media editor for the the Daily Telegraph, wrote in a column. 

"Usually sexist jibes, statements, or even t-shirt logos, have some kind of juvenile or puerile humour to them. There’s more often than not a slight hint of tongue-in-cheek that allows most women to just pass off the remark or slogan as ‘stupid banter’ – even if they are seething inside," she said.

"There was no attempt at wit, and unlike the Topman t-shirts, which offended so many with their brazen slogans to be worn across young men’s chests – this was a hidden message – or rather an order, intended to encourage women to reassume their once their ‘proper place’ (in the home) and young men to maintain the expectations of their grandfathers.

Many who took up the issue on social media agreed with her.

"Way to alienate a substantial part of your potential customer base :O," Mfy Nixon said, echoing the sentiments of many who would later join the discussion on Twitter.

Others, including women, saw humor in the situation, from the label itself to the ensuing controversy.

"Wash labels in these chinos say "Give it to your woman" #SexistHeros …although women all over will riot. #BigMistake," Joe Richardson said.

"Can't take the joke, don't buy them. Now go fix my dinner," Ms. Melisa Kim said.

Others criticized Madhouse for taking a day to respond with the claim that the trousers were manufactured by a brand they stock and that they did not proof the care instructions.

"There was never any intention to offend it is obvious that we need to be a lot more careful when proofing sold goods," Madhouse said on its Twitter feed. "If we had noticed the label the items would never of been put in our stores. A mistake was made and we apologise for this."

The company has not issued a statement and did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment. But it has been responding to tweets, including those showing support.

"Glad to see that someone has found it funny. We did not instigate this and the labels on supplied jeans will be proofed better," the company said in response to a comment that the label was "brilliant."

What do you think about the tag? Weigh in and let us know in the comments below.

soundoff (1,471 Responses)
  1. rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy mix

    Rick Santorum will crimilize masturbation if he becomes president. Anyone wanting to play with themselves will have to sneak into Canada.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy mix

      "criminalize" Spelling is not one of Santorum's strong points.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • funnyman

      that has nothing to do with this article.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Georgia from PA

    What was really funny was when my man thought laundry was "my (the woman's) job" and I put whites with reds in hot water LOL...Of course (since I make more money than he does) I bought him all new duds, but let him suffer a while.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhobere

      maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I've intentionally watched whites with reds and its never turned the whites pink.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JAY

    why are liberals/CNN such wimps?

    March 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy mix

      Put the computer down. Get back in your cardboard box. Pull the lid on.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • twisted sister.

      You being a chump doesn't make liberals wimps!

      March 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • BZ

      Good question Jay, why do republicans believe in God?

      March 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lurker

      Says the tough guy posting messages behind his computer.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Please show me where the article says anything about liberals. Please show me where CNN takes sides.

      I have a hunch that the company's label probably offends a lot of people who don't appear in your imagination. Think before you comment.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • twisted sister.

      And what are you, a tough guy on the internet posting his name and address? Cuz id like to see it! 😀

      March 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lurker

      JAY is probably one of the sheep, who believe what Fox News tells him to believe. Of course "you decide" after they smear the "news" they "report". I have a feeling the O'Reily factor is one of his favorite shows.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I don't consider myself a liberal, but I find it funny that most who call people liberals are those who vote for Republicans who adore ultra liberal philosophy, such as the Bush administration's debt-spending, foreign war involvement, and government control over personal choice.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. twisted sister.

    What's funny is those who say reading laundry labels is "fun"!

    im gonna throw a weekend bash, on the invitations it will read "huge party this weekend, there will be lots of fun, everyone bring your own laundry, cuz we're gonna rock out and read laundry labels"
    PS. no alcohal
    No music,
    Or any kind of recreation! I mean we're gonna be reading laundry labels... Eeeek! Could there be any more fun?

    I bet when word gets out, its gonna be a huge party!


    March 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Best pot of the day.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Oops. That was supposed to read: Best post of the day.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Satire usually involves the piece actually being funny. Unfortunately, this was not funny. It just came across as whining.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. I M Slob

    I don't wash clothes. I usually just wear them until they fall off. Then I buy more.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy mix

      Wow. You're as filthy as my friends the Palins.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Just G. O. It

    I can NOT believe ANYONE making an issue over that. Always look for a chance to laugh, rather than get your """tender""" feelings hurt. WOW !!!

    March 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • twisted sister.

      If it was a picture of your face on the label tag in the underwear, that would have been a chance to laugh!

      March 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • UltraRunner24

      With the name "Twisted Sister" I expected such a reply. I'd say you're immaturity trumps the potential of this label. I suggest you A) Lighten Up B) Stop reading liberalized propaganda and C) Respect the male. Natural societal maturation has produced the structure exhibited up until the last fifty years. Once this flash in the pan of the "information age" dies, abruptly due to a plethora of rapidly approaching factors, I'd like to see how well emotional ideals and notions uphold against evolutionary aspects of men, AKA strength. The internet has become a cesspool of virtual and superficial "tough people," of all age levels and genders. Grow up. It's for you're own good.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cippy

    Love it. Great to see some folks still have a sense of humor....lighten up Ms. Barnett! Anyway, I wish I could trust the girlfriend to do my laundry. I'm much better at it than she is. In fact, I prefer doing my own...that way ALL my socks come back.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      If all your socks come back, you must have a heck of a socktroll defense system set up.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    "It is women's work."
    "god is a man."

    All from the same school of thought ~ organized religion.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    There are web sites that feature silly labeling like this; it happens.
    It's hilarious.
    If I knew all labels were going to be this funny, laundry chores would be much more enjoyable for my spouse and I.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TheMovieFan

    Hey, a new sponsor for Rush Limbaugh!

    March 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Casey

    Seriously, the woman who complained about this instead of taking it with a sense of humor needs to untwist her knickers...and than go do the laundry, cause it's her job! 😀

    March 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • funnyman

      only after she cooks my dinner.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • twisted sister.

      A). Single are ya?
      B). Wearing dirty clothes?
      C). Don't know what fun is, so your close never get dirty?
      D). All of the above?

      March 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SixDegrees

    So, has anyone bothered to actually verify this? Or is it yet another "1% tipper" stories that will turn out to be a hoax? The article is disturbingly silent on matters of actual fact here.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. svscnn

    Women are so touchy. 😉

    March 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |


      March 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anono

    What do you say when your wife tells you she wrecked the car?

    Ask her how the car got in the kitchen.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |



      March 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John bron

    Hahah that is hilarious!!! good clean fun! come on people

    March 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sielingfan

      lol, phrasing. "good CLEAN fun."

      March 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
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