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. Joe

    Like I tell my wife. Mama never made me do any laundry or housework growing up. My sisters did all that. Plus, I don't have boobies so I can't to housework.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      It appears your wife has a booby, and I'm not referring to the ones on her torso.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sketch Tiger

    Hilarious! But maybe too cheeky for a corporation. If this is Madhouse's usual marketing tone, then you know what you're getting into. I could see it as being unexpected vs. being a surprise, though, humor-wise. You're paying money into this brand, and wearing it on your rump.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hoosier

      I think it's hilariously funny! But I wouldn't confess that to the missus.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Better still... I'LL GIVE IT TO YOUR WOMAN while you go do your own laundry.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anono

    If women think they aren't meant to cook, why do they have milk and eggs inside them?

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

      thats just gross!

      But all men have hammers,
      Even though half of them dont work, and the men that have working hammers dont know how to use them! Bummer!

      March 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Well done. Three points.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. chert

    Why are you doing his laundry in the first place? When my husband complained about wrinkles...I fired the maid(me) he had to do his own...same with the cook....he complained...I solved the problem...fired the cook (me again)he did not go hungry long & he appreciated effort done on his part...we were married 40 years...god rest his soul...

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

      Died of starvation and buried in a wrinkley suit, I'm sure 😉

      March 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mikey

    And in all this, I bet this guy's pants never got washed. That's becasue she's too busy crying about labels instead of doing her job.

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

      Hilarious. +1 to you, sir.

      March 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew (who does the laundry)

    I'm anal-retentive enough that I'm the one who does the laundry in our house. I've taught my wife how I like to have things done and she does her best to follow my picky instructions when she does it, but in the end, I still find that if I want it done right, I just do it myself. Yeah, so I'm a dude and I do the laundry; no problem for me. In fact, my wife gets to handle the cat litter and take out the garbage, so that adds a bit more role-reversal. As modern and non-gender-role-bound as we are, she still laughed her a** off when I showed her the picture of the laundry tag mentioned here. She's mulling it over right now while she makes my dinner.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Yeah, but I'm sure your laundry is easy... after all, you're anal retentive

      March 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Well played Melvin, well played

      March 8, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Papa

    Is it too much to ask to get some laundry done by your woman? It's not like you're asking for a bj. If she won't do your laundry you can be a bj is out of the equation. Keep looking.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anono

    Actually found another clothing label:

    "For best results

    Though I will say that this one was a little more couth

    March 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |



    March 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anono

    Why can't women park cars?

    Because for generations men have been telling them that 4 inches is actually 8

    March 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justa Joke


    March 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anono

    How many men does it take to open a beer?

    None. It should be opened by the time she brings it.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CT Girl

    The biggest thing that is bugging me is that they don't give the designer or where to buy these pants!! I Have to get a pair for my man! And you try Googling it and all you get are all these outrage articles. Where can I get a pair before they change the label???

    March 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sliv3r16

    I'm not laughing at the tag. I'm laughing at the irony on how she found it to begin with.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |



    March 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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