Monday, December 3, 2012

Gender Obsessed Junk Mail

I get a lot of bulk/junk mail, probably just like you do, and I find it interesting how I get addressed in it.  Most of the time just my name is used on the envelope and my first name on the letter salutation, which is fine.  It's nice to know that I'm "dear" to a  car dealership and that we're on a firstname basis though we've never met; it makes me feel very egalitarian and fuzzy, though I still don't visit the dealership and I just recycle the mailing approximately five seconds after I open it up.

Some organizations, however, must think that's a bit too informal, so they slap a "Mr." on their address labels and salutations that use my surname.  Women, I assume, get a "Ms." or "Mrs."

Now, we're fairly well-conditioned in American society to view things through the prism of gender, but I still find it a bit strange.  Perhaps it's helpful for marketers to know my gender, but why bother to waste ink using it on the mail materials?  Do they think that helps the mail carrier know who to deliver it to ("Look for the one with the penis")?  Is it a vestige from more formal days?  Why do they really care what gender they're selling a product to?  Just focus on selling the product, folks.

I feel bad for those with gender neutral names who occasionally get the wrong gendered salutation (not to mention transgendered folks who get the wrong gendered address label), but mainly my objection to it is that it just seems like a waste of energy and resources.  Imagine all that ink being used to print millions of misters and whatnot.

Oh, wait, it's junk mail.  It's all a waste of ink.  Never mind.  

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