The Hot Lady Rose is the worst atrocity since the Granny Smith Apple. When will the madness stop?

valentinesdayAs I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Bloomex Canada, a flower supplier, featured a beautiful rose on its website for Valentine’s Day with the nefarious and terrifying name “Hot Lady Rose”.

I know. This is awful and challenging and very upsetting to read.

I’ll give you a minute.

Now that you’re done seething in barely controlled rage, you won’t be surprised to learn that a Hero for the People has taken Bloomex Canada to task about this atrocity on twitter, with the scathing retort “Really? ‘HOT LADY ROSES’?” Because, as you of course already know, “Hot Lady Rose” is a terrible and evil sexist name for a rose and must have been used intentionally to hurt all women in order for Bloomex — paragon of faceless corporate big bank money executives living large off the little people — to profit just a little bit more. Because… well, because…

Because Hot Lady Roses could only be for Hot Ladies! As if all ladies have to be hot! And that’s wrong! It’s terrible for a person to buy roses for their beloved while thinking that she is sexually attractive! And what about the men who receive roses!? Are we implying that they have to be Hot Ladies? Certainly there is something wrong with that, too! No one is hot! No one should ever be thought of as hot! Heat in general should never be mentioned! IT’S THE PATRIARCHY, PEOPLE!!!

Bloomex, which I imagine in this exchange as a bumbling, sweating, middle aged man who has just had his small, damp office invaded by angry people who are better dressed than him, meekly explained in a twitter response that they didn’t name the rose, it’s a standard variety, it was named in Ecuador, and it’s really very nice.

IF YOU CAN IMAGINE.

Thankfully our brave twitter hero saw right through this duplicitous scheme. What, do they think she’s stupid?! That this was just a coincidence, that they are selling a rose that is called Hot Lady? That they are just coincidentally selling a rose with the most insulting name imaginable? As if! She coolly typed, smirking in a sophisticated manner: “…I am well aware of the name of the species, but it’s SUPER evident what you’re doing.” (some of her other twitter retorts include telling a nurse she is awful and should be reported and banned from nursing because said nurse feels fetal alcohol syndrome is awful (this is somehow related to women’s rights in that it was loosely relevant to a conversation in which women who wish to become pregnant were encouraged not to drink, raising the ire of said twitter hero because this could imply unnecessary policing of non-pregnant women’s bodies, someday, if taken to an extreme not logical plausible given the original argument.))

At this point, against my better judgment, I had to say something. This simply couldn’t stand. This isn’t some free-for-all cacophony in which people are allowed — nay, encouraged — to brutally rip into the personal integrity of anyone who disagrees with them even slightly. No, this is twitter.

So I said “It is possible that this is a Hot house rose, of the bright colour Rose varietal that is named Lady? There are conventions with naming roses and some are named by non-English speakers who simply aren’t aware of the implications in American English.”

Because I am a bad ass.

As you can imagine, this new and enlightening information — that this wasn’t an evil scheme, simply a naming convention followed by an Ecuadorian and copy-pasted by Henry, the name I have given to our over-worked Bloomex marketing employee sweating away in his little damp office, with no sexist implication at all! — caused our twitter hero to immediately changed her mind, lay down her weapons, lay off the offense and apologized to poor Henry.

Haha! No. Of course not.

Instead, she responded to me, snarlingly: “Kathryn, I am well aware of the etymology of this flower. It’s the company’s marketing that I find sexist.”

Fair enough! I mean, Bloomex didn’t just use a name for a hot house rose with the colour normally associated with the naming convention ‘lady’ (a charming and romantic hot pink, that, as Henry pointed out in his desperate twitter replies, is really quite nice). They also put THIS on their website, which our Twitter Hero had attached as an image to her angry tweets:

hot lady
Vulgar, I know. I mean, I know we are all used to women being objectified and used to sell things… but THIS?!

Seriously though, they do have this on their website:

hot lady bad
Wherein they cheekily state that this particular beautiful and exotic rose flown in from Ecuador and sold with bears and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates is “…for that special “Hot Lady” in your life.”

Now, to clarify: that is a pun. That does not mean that the rose was named for that reason. That does not mean that the only reason this rose is being sold is because of the name. As far as I can tell, this was Henry after a lot of coffee and maybe a bit of gin, trying to be sassy and funny and maybe finally get that raise his idiot 28 year old MBA boss keeps telling him is just one more weekend of overtime away. Other such quips on the site include “Don’t miss our Valentine’s Specials! … Send a little lovin’ for less with Bloomex”… indicating that they are just trying to be funny and went for the obvious pun.

The problem here is that it implies that men are going to buy roses for women, with it perhaps implied that these women must be hot in order to deserve the roses. That men are therefore only worthy romantically as partners if they have enough money to shell out for some peptobismal on steroids flower that has been flown halfway around the world. Indeed, that men have to shell out for flowers, or dinner, or whatever else. And, that women are worthy romantically as partners only if they’re hot enough to deserve the flowers. Basically, the problem is that it supports outdated gender roles which come with a lot of psychological baggage about men not being worthy of love if they can’t provide financially and women not being worthy of love if they can’t provide sexually, which is hurtful to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

That said, if you’re going to buy flowers for a female person for Valentine’s Day, it’s like that you think they’re hot. This is just a flower, with a name, and someone made a silly pun that implies we are living in a world where the men buy flowers and the women like hot pink. No humans were objectified in the making of that web page, and while it may not be what every twitter user sees as the utopian ideal for human civilization, the fact is that there are a lot of people who are going to want to buy beautiful flowers for their loved one this Valentine’s Day, as a token of their love and admiration and adoration, as a token that the recipient is lovely and wonderful and loveable and yes, hot as well. And that’s pretty beautiful, if you ask me.

If you ask me, attacking strangers on twitter about a name that may or may not be punnily associated with gender roles probably doesn’t actually do anything to improve the lives of women, let alone men, let alone the person you’re attacking. It doesn’t seem to be building goodwill between the genders or healing the wounds of gender roles or anything else. It’s not going to improve anyone’s life, it’s not going to empower women who feel they have nothing to offer but their looks, nor men who feel they are worthless without their money.

It’s not going to address any of the myriad problems actually facing both genders today.

It’s just, well, mean. Needlessly.

Or maybe I’m wrong. And maybe, we need to ban ALL the Lady roses. The Lady Helen Vincent (what: all women have to be named Helen now?! WE ARE HUMANS DAMNIT), the Lady Gardener (we all have to garden!?) and of course, the worst of the lot, don’t even get me started on the Lady Gay.

This is 2016 after all.

 

**This is a tongue-in-cheek article meant to poke fun at the fanaticism that some people associated with different belief systems bring to modern gender discourse; a passion that is well-intentioned, but can sometimes justify rudeness or outright meanness in the name of a better world. If we want a better world, I believe it starts with empathy and kindness. Even for roses with crazy names, and the overworked marketing executives who love them. All that to say, If we shadows have offended…