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Muba breaks down gender stereotypes

Published on 2/24/2016 by
MCH Group, Schweizer Mustermesse, Männer und Waschmaschine

Men like televisions and hi-fi systems, while women like sewing machines and shoes. Outdated gender stereotypes of this kind were commonplace many years ago, including at the Swiss Sample Fair.

In 1966, the year that marked the Fair's 50th anniversary, something then happened which one newspaper considered to be completely inappropriate: Men began to show a greater interest in items which, in the perceived gender roles of the time, were primarily the preserve of women: household appliances. How unmanly, reported Lucerne's newspaper, the "Luzerner Nachrichten" and included an impertinent commentary on the subject. "It's becoming increasingly clear: men's equality in the household is gaining ground", the paper reported sullenly. "They kneel down on the floor, mop, dust, scrub and cook."

In addition to presenting technical progress, exhibitions always reflect social developments and changes too – in this case the blurring of gender roles that dated back centuries. With the introduction of "Women's Day" in 1975, those responsible at the Swiss Sample Fair played an active role in changing these gender roles. Since then, women have been addressed as independent market participants, instead of primarily as housekeepers, mothers and wives.

Photo: Staatsarchiv Basel Stadt/Privatarchiv MCH Group

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