He Said, She Said: Pink Turntables on
Marc: Hey baby, I think I know what I want to get you for your birthday.
Colleen: Really? What, sweetie? A new stove?
Marc: I'll give you a hint. It's pink.
Colleen: That doesn't narrow it down much…
Marc: I know. You're Pink Girl. That's why I thought of you when I saw it.
Colleen: So what is it?
Marc: Here's a photo of it on the Internet. It's called the Scheu Analog Diamond. It's a pink turntable. The marketing copy says: "Pink, classy, seductive, simply ladylike... that is 'Diamond.' A turntable specially designed for the ladies."
Colleen: That is a great looking table in any color.
Marc: Yep. A black version is available for all those hairy, sweaty man-audiophiles.
Colleen: From the pic online this looks like a very user-friendly table, and not at all intimidating. I used to have an Audio Mecca Romance turntable, not pink of course, and I liked it because it sounded good and I wasn't afraid of damaging it. I would say it was approachable.
Marc: Well, coming from the girl who personally terminated all of the cables in my audio system, including the interconnects, I think you can probably "approach" most turntables with confidence.
Colleen: Thanks, sweetie. But I sometimes wonder if women are intimidated by the complexity of turntables, or they know that they are expensive and don't want to break them.
Marc: Funny you say that. I was just checking out some of the online audio forums and this pink turntable has certainly generated a bit of controversy. Here's one guy who says, "women just want four buttons on any piece of audio gear: turn everything on, turn everything off, turn volume up and turn volume down."
Colleen: Those four buttons would probably come in handy if I were married to that "online guy."
Marc: Is that why you're always pointing remotes at me?
Colleen: And mouthing the words, "Why won't this work?" Yes. Anyway, I helped my aunt set up her system and she made very careful notes for when I left her behind and she had to make it play music all by herself. Funny thing was that she thought she had to put the needle on the record the old school way by holding the handle on the head shell. Seeing she was uncomfortable, I showed her how to use the cueing lever and she was instantly more at ease playing a record. I think the key to women actively using and enjoying high end systems is letting them touch.
Marc: That reminds me of a really good article I once read by a high-end audio dealer. He taught his three-year-old how to properly use a Rega turntable because he didn't want him to start playing with it on his own--sort of like a father teaching his son how to use a rifle at an early age so he won't become the type of kid who accidentally shoots one of his buddies after school one day. Not that I want to equate women and three year olds, but the point of the story is that the dealer's son wound up having a lifelong love for music and became an accomplished bluegrass musician while he was still in his teens. It probably all started with that turntable.
Colleen: It makes you wonder if he would have done the same if he had a little girl.
Marc: Ouch, baby. Knowing that particular dealer, I'd say yes. But the average audiophile? Maybe not. Yet everyone in the audio world likes to comment on the fact that there are so few women audiophiles out there. Don't you think this is the key to getting them interested, making it all easy?
Marc: And does pink help or hurt the cause?
Colleen: I will admit that I am Pink Girl but some might say that this is pandering to a gender stereotype. That said, since we share a sound room how do you feel about having your manly system fronted with a pastel?
Marc: What do you mean? I already have a chartreuse Rega P3-24.
Colleen: Baby, chartreuse is not pastel.
Marc: Whatever. It's still far from manly. But it's a great 'table.
Colleen: It is.
Marc: But you're right when you say "some might say" that it's a stereotype to sell pink things to women. The problem is, "those" people who say that seem to have one thing in common—a penis. Check out another online gem from a male who thinks he has a handle on the female mystique: "Why do you assume that a woman would want a pink turntable? Not all women like pink... I know quite a few that bristle at that, so it might not always work. I think that's missing the boat because I know quite a few women who would be highly insulted if I even suggested that they should like something because it is pink or simple to operate... Never good to pre judge [sic] your audience. I know more women who prefer black to pink..."
Colleen: This just makes me giggle. There are a thousand black turntables out there, so those women have a product. Exactly how many high end turntables do you think have been sold to women? I say make assumptions. Assume they want to be involved, educated and welcomed. Design with women in mind. Okay, it doesn't have to be pink. But let's face it—this is about including women in every aspect of this industry or hobby. Why not "Women's Night" at a store, or a column in a magazine for women about continuing education in the hobby, such as defining the terms and language used in reviews?
Marc: I doubt any dealers would do this out of fear that no one would show up. But I know of at least one woman who owns a high-end audio store, so anything is possible. The idea of an article is intriguing, especially when you consider there are a handful of women audio reviewers out there.
Colleen: Face it--talking to a female audiophile who knows her shit is a turn on. I can tell you that many times I had customers call me over and over to ask the same questions, and I had the distinct feeling that this was some sort of "entertainment" for them.
Marc: "Wait, let me get my pants down around my ankles. Okay, now tell me about the cold forging processes you use to terminate your spade lugs. Slowly."
Colleen: I have had wives get on the phone to test me to make sure I was really talking about stereo gear...
Marc: I bet.
Colleen: But we have gotten off subject. This is about me and my birthday, right?
Colleen: Which begs the question: does getting a piece of stereo equipment have the same negative ring to it as getting a new vacuum, mop or large appliance? It kind of does. You wouldn't be sleeping on the couch on my birthday, but because of this lack of participation we have been talking about, I think many audiophile husbands might.
Marc: It's like Homer Simpson buying that bowling ball for Marge on her birthday—a ball that has "Homer" inscribed on it.
Marc: It's certainly helpful to hear this from an actual woman audiophile, not some guy arguing on the Internet on the behalf of women.
Colleen: One more thing about getting women interested. Although women are certainly welcomed at audiophile gatherings, there are very few that attend. Perhaps if there was a pink Cadillac offered to independent audio sales people, there would be as many in-home audio demonstrations done by women as there are offers to get a makeover, kitchen gadget, or a snappy lidded container collection.
Marc: That sounds sexist! I think that's a horrible thing to say! Oh wait, I sound like one of those online guys.
Colleen: Where's my remote?
Marc: Ha ha. So about that birthday gift…
Colleen: Yes, sweet pea?
Marc: How does a pink stove sound?
Marc Phillips & Colleen Cardas are partners in Colleen Cardas Imports.