In a marketing move ignored by the German press – but described in a blog post from feminist journalist and political scientist Antje Schrupp – the women’s sausages were made half the size of their masculine counterparts, and are significantly more expensive.
To further catch the eye of male and female sausage-lovers respectively, the packaging is also gender- if not particularly sausage- appropriate.
The male sausage features an alluringly-clad woman – in front of a flaming background – while lady shoppers are being drawn to part with their hard-earned cash by a topless gentleman with excellent muscle tone in front of a serene, cloudy background.
In her blog post, Schrupp quoted a long letter of complaint sent to the Edeka Group by journalist Susanne Enz, outraged by what she called “dull sexism.”
The sausages’ marketing, she said, implied that “men eat a lot and heartily, while women mainly want to be thin… Women are there to please, while men are allowed to enjoy.”
“Of course it’s not the end of the world, it’s just a sausage,” her letter continued.
“Of course you can react to it as if it’s just a joke, and presumably most sausage-buyers will do that. But your choice of name and accompanying advertising is still the expression and promotion of a – in the best case – thoughtless normative sexism, which gives each gender a ‘right’ role to play, with a built-in hierarchy.”
“And that affects the perceptions of people, even in small, seemingly trivial, playful contexts, and stands stubbornly in the way of gender equality.”
“I found the whole thing really quite unbearable, and I showed it to my partner, and she got really angry,” Enz told The Local in an email.
“So I said to myself, if these sausage-sexists make my partner so angry, I can’t just let it go! I wanted to at least tell them my opinion.”
“I think it’s important to talk about everyday sexism and its consequences in as level-headed a way as possible if you want to raise sensibilities to it in broader society,” she added.
“Otherwise the criticism isn’t taken seriously.”
“It’s a general problem,” Schrupp told The Local. “I’ve seen women’s and men’s mustard as well. Often for children, of course.”
Two different Edeka representatives responded to Enz’s letter, but refused to address her central point: one would only “what he understood of her letter,” – the question of why the ladies sausages were more expensive, (because they contain “particularly lean meat, high-quality vegetables” all packed in an “especially delicate skin”).
The other said the matter had been referred to “the responsible regional official.”