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. Ec1warc1

    I think the label is a joke, and a clever one at that. Look at all the stir it caused for the manufacturer. Its like the Carl's Jr. advertisement.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hmmmmmmmmmm

    Heh. I make enough money to get a maid and man. Take out the trash, dear. Its your job.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Candi

      umm.. just a thought ... if your maid is getting paid then it's the MAIDS job to take out the trash... LOL

      March 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. annette laRue

    I think it means men are stupid and we are superior.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. He Man Woman Haters Club

    So Babe When R U Gonna Was the rest of my laundry

    March 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. He Man Woman Haters Club

    ** WASH

    March 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      All they wan't is media attention. I think its discusting that they would do this as a marketing ploy!

      Now where can I buy a pair?!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. He Man Woman Haters Club

    Wanna Warsh My Drawers Too Got SKIDZ

    March 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HoustonGirl

    I'm a woman who hates doing laundry. I think it's hillarious ! Lighten up ladies. Would you be offended by a label under your car hood or on your garbage bin with instructions saying "Have your man do it. It's his job."? The women offended by this probably let their partner walk all over them. I wouldn't be suprised if the marketing genius behind this was a woman.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Yes I would be offended if I saw that on the hood of my car. How brain washed are you? I bet guys love you! You can say anything to the little gal !

      March 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davina

      And I would not be surprised if you really do believe it is your job to "take care of your man". If you want to be a humble maid-servant, then good for you. Please don't expect all other women to agree with you.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Goober

    Funny, every time of offer to do the laundry my wife screams "NOOOOOOOOOOOO,STAY AWAY!!!!!".

    March 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gary

    Anybody who finds this lable offensive needs to get a life. Sad that we can't have fun ocasionally. What a bunch of stiff morons. Even my wife thinks it is funny. Sheesh.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Oooooohhhhh. That's so sweet. It's scary when women don't know they're being insulted. Men tell them that they're not and the believe them.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Melissa I didn't know feminists were such unhappy people. Maybe you should try to find something positive about life, like the fact you can vote or the fact that you're not starving. Going around looking for ways to be offended is a terrible waste of your life.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Klaas Jan

    Wah wah wah

    March 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Victor Fitzhugh

    You gotta love those Brits. They know how to get the party started. A bunch of whitty old chaps. Come on ladies, don't get sore.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Autumn

    You have got to be kidding me. Some lesbian can't take a joke.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono

      The article stated it started a firestorm in the UK. I think that's a little more than you lesbian, winter

      March 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. anon

    My wife thought this was hilarious, as do I, just our take on it.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    Oh please. How many women change the oil, fuel filter, rotate tires, replace spark plugs, etc. in their cars? Yeah, most women think it's beneath them. Men don't get all bent out of shape over it.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dude123

    I'm a guy and I wash everything together regardless of color or fabric, who cares...well, turns out my girlfriend
    cares and she prefers doing it alone rather than trying to change me AND she earns more than I do. Turns out though she gave up on fixing electrical stuff and going downstairs at night when she hears "something"! The tag is both funny and true, women don't want us to ruin their clothes.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      You're really saying that you can't figure out how to do laundry ?

      March 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Note to your girlfriend: The fact that you don't want him ruining your clothes doesn't explain why you are doing his.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
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