Do these discounted sales really belittle women?

In the Sunday Times at the weekend, Ms Lydia Vasko expressed her outrage at how discounts offered on certain products on International Women's Day belittled women and reinforced gender stereotypes (Stop the stereotyping, celebrate and value women instead; March 26).

If this tenuous logic is followed, we can see how this makes sense.

Shops offer discounts on certain products like beauty products, frying pans, and high heels.

These products are associated with women. So, if women purchased these products, they would be supporting the sexist stereotypes of women being beauty objects to be admired.

In the same vein, if I, as a person, purchase a red shirt, then I must be a supporter of Donald Trump, because red is the colour associated with the Republican Party.

Certain actions, no doubt, carry significances beyond the act itself, that serve as implicit affirmation of a larger phenomenon. The magnitude of such an affirmation, achieved through the action, however, must not be something we do not consider.

To her credit, Ms Vasko did raise several pertinent issues that deserve serious reflection and discussion - the gender pay gap being one such example - but let us not conflate these issues with others that are plainly not as significant, taken severely out of the business contexts they are no doubt conceived in.

I guess it is unpleasant that on a day celebrating the importance of women everywhere, certain shops offer discounts only on certain items but for men, things are even worse - there isn't even an International Men's Day!

Fang Shuo