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. Zeppelin

    If you're mad about this, congratulations. You officially have too much time on your hands and no real concerns. Get. Over. It.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. ann west

    🔴 Half of the Men are fighting for the right to Marry other guys, the other Half like showering with 3rd grade boys and both groups can't figure out how to wash their own clothes. Sad

    March 8, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. MMANoftheHOUSE

    hahahah now THTAS funny
    get over it

    March 8, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. BlackDynamite

    And the problem is?

    March 8, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe T.

    Hey idiot, it shouldn't take a 30 minute video for you to be upset that innocent people are being killed.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Why can't Helen Keller Drive? Because she's a woman. Ba-ZING!

    March 8, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • mikel

      Most epic, Joe.....

      March 8, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      Wonderful. That has always been my favorite joke from the "Tasteless Joke Books"

      March 8, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. beachnut

    Several years ago I bought a tee shirt from Carlos & Charlies; the washing instructions were "wash when dirty" and "99% cotton and 1% other stuff". I thought it was funny.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • i_know_everything

      no it's not

      March 8, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • mikel

      you don't know funny....

      March 8, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. cold sk*nq

    she probably doesn't get hers, so she's really wound up. Need to get a boyfriend that knows how to take care of biz.....

    March 8, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Harriet

    Why doesn't the article say who DID sew in the label, then? If Madhouse wants the world to believe it was another company, why didn't they name the company? Obviously they know. Why doesn't the other company comment publicly? Are they perhaps even bigger and more vulnerable than Madhouse and hope this will blow over before anyone knows?

    March 8, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. mikel

    My wife would laugh at the label – but then again she's not a sniveling whiner with no sense of humor.....

    March 8, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe T.

    What do you tell a woman who has two black eyes?

    Nothing, you already told her twice.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. JackTors

    The label should read, "Take laundry to local chinaman."

    March 8, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    If power tools had a label that said "give it to your man" you just find that funny...

    March 8, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • mikel

      The fems would probably march on Washington over that one....

      March 8, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Billybob

    At least the statement suggests/infers that not all men are becoming gay. The label was printed abroad probably.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. nate-zi

    the company's name is madhouse... WHAT DID YOU EXPECT!?!?!?!?

    March 8, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
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