Trade Me’s Gift Finder feature has come under fire with accusations that it is sexist.
A petition on change.org has described the search tool as being sexist for its gender stereotypes.
Trade Me’s current Gift Finder categories, which have been specially designed for Christmas, are different for each gender. “So while you can select a gift for a ‘girly’ little girl, you can't choose a gift for a girl who likes building things (Trade Me doesn’t think they exist). Boys can also like wheels – but not girls, apparently,” Louise Wickham, from Auckland, says in the petition.
The tool allows users to narrow their search for items on the site by selecting a price range, the person's gender, and then a gender-related descriptor of the person. Descriptions, the petitions finds, to be narrowly defined gender roles.
“We all know it's a sexist world out there but we expected better from Trade Me,” Wickham says.
“And it’s not just the kids – you can't be a woman who loves gadgets or a ‘crafty’ teen boy (or a ‘crafty’ man for that matter). A ‘hard to buy for’ woman returns 349 items with makeup at the top of the list. A ‘hard to buy for’ man returns 509 items with a Space Trek Galaxy Quadcopter at the top of the list (I know which one I'd prefer and it's not makeup).”
Wickham says she tried complaining to Trade Me, and after “bland attempts to fob of us off they've agreed it isn't ideal but they're not sure if/when they'll get around to doing anything about it.”
“This is a pretty small change and we’re sure they could do it - if they had the will,” she says.
The petition concludes “please sign this petition to send Trade Me the message that the only place for narrowly defined gender roles is in the museum.”
So far more than 250 people have signed the petition online.