2009-10-14

Gender profiling... There's no way to do it right

So I signed up for a "Corporate Perks" program through the benefits provided by my employer. They said if I signed up today, I may win a Kindle.

Anyways, I went in there, and here's how they present the "Everyday Savings" screen. Some categories are highlighted in bold type, and some aren't. Just so you know, the non-bolded categories also contain special offers. I even selected one of those to take the screenshot for ya, peeps. You see anything funny about what categories got highlighted?

  • Beauty & Fragrance
  • Flowers & Gifts
  • Food & Wine
  • Health & Wellness.

Notice a pattern there?

No?

The pattern I notice is that stereotypically female "interests" are highlighted for me. I tried finding different reasons to explain this selection, but could not. So this is my story and I am sticking to it.

Oh, and just to be clear: I don't care for being profiled. Be it by my gender, age, nationality, race, or profession. It's never fun.

2 comments:

  1. At a guess, I'd say it's probably more profitable for a corporate to profile you based on your gender simply because of probability. From their point of view, out of 100 gir...er...'women', 90 of them probably are interested in that 'girly' stuff. Of the other 10, only 1 will actually notice or be annoyed by the profiling and therefore have a negative opinion of the company. The other 9 simply won't notice. The company still ends up with more sales than if they didn't profile.

    And from their point of view, the answer isn't to stop profiling, it's to get more individualized data. So Papa Google will tell them that Alex isn't into gir...'woman'ly things, she's into communist paraphernalia, and you'll get more effectively profiled, and be happy. :-)

    Not that Papa Google would do anything Evil like share the information it has about you with another company.

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  2. As I noted on FaceBook, when you first sign up, they let you use "Shopping Genie" to sort different brands into "Like" and "Don't like" baskets. I have put all the jewelry, makeup, and kitchen-related ones into "Don't like" category, before going to the page captured in the screen shot. Just so you know they COULD have intelligently highlighted categories such as electronics, apparel, and books with the data I provided to them for free.

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