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. Lydia

    There should be a trash can that says "Give it To Your Man"

    March 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NoodleHat

    I don't wear pants, ever, so I wouldn't have seen this tag. It's cold right now 😦

    March 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NoodleHat

    🙂 😦 😐 :/ 😛 😀

    March 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. heather

    perhaps it should have read "Give it to your women and say thank you for all that you do for my lazy a$$!!"

    March 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NoodleHat

    8=========================D~ O:

    March 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. A

    This woman thought the joke was funny.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. zapper45701

    I just wonder where they got the labels. China? Probably.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. romanyuk

    hahahahahaha personally think it points out that men always get the laundry wrong and shrink everything, so give it over to the intelligent ones who won't ruin your clothes

    March 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny Craaahahahaig

      That was almost funny. You certainly are a gay one. arent ya?

      March 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Don K

    These must be Rick Santorum's pants!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Susan

    Not the single ladies! They're out doin' something fun!

    March 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rusty

    So does anyone comprehend the difference between "or" and "and"??
    Never responded on CNN before.
    Seriously why didnt anyone at CNN pick up on this before it hit the internetz?? Relying on others to do your owkr?

    March 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SM

    I thought it was funny...

    March 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jenny Craaahahahaig

    I bet all the faaagz and joowish womenz not going to buy this.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Frodo

    I wonder how long it took for someone to notice that

    March 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Seth B

    Killian,
    Very clever of you to discuss the past. The 50's were great, and this is why: No peak oil, manufacturing was thriving in England and US, cell phones and this damn laptop I'm typing on didn't exist, and a woman, once done with the milk man would welcome her husband with a warm dinner and well fed children. Also, being gay was a frowned upon. AW, I do have a woman in my life – she is currently on a business trip, making a fraction of what I get paid, probably getting laid, while I take care of our kids.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
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