Target: Societe Generale bank in France
Goal: End the issuing of “Pour Elle” bank cards, targeted at women, which insure against lost handbags and provide for calls to handymen
French bank Societe Generale has recently started issuing a series of pink and gold “Pour Elle” bank cards, targeted at women, as part of a red-hot summer deal. This much is not unusual: however, the exact details of what the card offers have many French women bristling. The “Pour Elle” card promises to “simplify” women’s lives by providing up to $250 of handbag insurance and a dedicated hotline for up to two outbound handyman calls per year. The partnering of these two offers seems to many women to be extremely patronizing and sexist. It singles women out as being particularly forgetful, hapless, and helpless, moreso than men.
Societe Generale has responded to these criticisms by describing them as ridiculous, given how well the promotion is doing. In the same response, a spokeswoman for the bank stated that they found nothing about the cards discriminatory and insisted that “[The women] who choose these cards are those who wish to adhere to their femininity.” She also added that about 5% of cardholders are men, apparently as evidence that there is nothing sexist or discriminatory about the cards.
Tell Societe Generale that the number of women purchasing these cards is no true indication of their sexism or lack thereof, and the cards should cease being issued. The inference that women are typically more airheaded and incapable of doing their own home repair than men is more important than the success of a marketing deal.
Dear Societe Generale bank,
I have recently learned of the summer promotion you are running which includes an offer of a pink “Pour Elle”/”For Her” bank card for female customers. The card insures for up to $250 of lost handbags and up to 2 calls to professional handymen per year. The fact that this card is targeted at women has extremely patronizing and sexist implications; however, your bank has so far responded to criticism only by insisting that how well the deal is going negates any accusations of sexism, and stating that women who choose to hold “Pour Elle” cards are those willing to embrace and “adhere to” their femininity.
Regardless of the card’s success, the sexist implications (that women are more airheaded, helpless, and prone to losing things) of what it offers should outweigh the potential of commercial success. Please acknowledge this and either change what is covered by the “Pour Elle” card to more accurately reflect the needs of French women or cease issuing the cards altogether.
[Your Name Here]
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