The Latest In Vacuums

After the holiday decorations are put away, many revelers find themselves left with a big mess of pine needles and tinsel embedded in their carpets. With such a tough cleanup job, this might be the perfect time for a new vacu ugg um. Real Simple magazine’s Kris Connell visited The Saturday Early Show to help in picking the right one.

Many of us have had the same vacuum for years. But, if you find yourself frustrated with your old vacuum cleaner ugg because the retractable cord keeps getting stuck or the suction’s not strong enough then it might be time for a new one, says Connell.

The vacuums featured are in two categories: canisters and uprights. The canister is very portable, easy to carry up and down stairs, great for hard to reach places. The upright i ugg s more a traditional vacuum, a bit more convenient to store and easier to maneuver.

Under each category each vacuum is rated as good, better or best. The dust bags seal themselves automatically when removed. The streamlined design and bright colors make the machine feel more like a sports car than an appliance. A switch on the floor nozzle retracts the brush, changing from bare floors to carpet mode. Retractable 21 foot cord.

Cons: The bags need to be replaced, at a cost of $13.50 for five bags.

Warranty: One year for parts; five years for motor. This model has equal suction strength on bare floors and carpets. An indicator light alerts you when the bag is full. The switch for surface selection is located on the handle. A variable speed control lets you clean different materials. The retractable cord, controlled by a foot pedal, is 25 feet long.

Cons: When you’re not cleaning carpeting, the bare floor attachment must be used. The WindTunnel is heaver and larger than most canisters tested. Quiet and lightweight, it’s ideal for carrying up stairs. Attractive design. Retractable 17 foot cord. HEPA filter. (A HEPA filter is a high efficiency particulate air filter that screens the ugg air the vacuum expels. A HEPA filter can remove most allergens. HEPA filters cost from $20 to $80 and most HEPA vacuums require at least an annual replacement. They are said to be helpful for people who have asthma or are allergic to dust.)

Cons: Dust bags ($12 for five) must be replaces and the HEPA filter ($40) must be changed annually. Suction control is manually adjusted with a dial on the canister, which involves bending down.

The latest in nonsensical product gendering

Gender equality advanced just a little bit further this week, with the discovery of a yogurt marketed specifically to men. The website for Powerful Yogurt nicknamed ugg “brogurt” by Grub Street and the Atlantic Wire exhorts aspiring bodybuilders to “find your inner abs.”

Those of you who haven spent much time reflecting on the sexual politics of fermented milk might not have realized that men needed their own yogurt brand. But as the aspiring Susan Bro Anthonys at Powerful Yogurt explain in a helpful infographic, normal yogurt is apparently just for women.

“Your wife and sister aren the only ones who can take yogurt to work with them,” according to the infographic. “Protein packed Powerful Yogurt can help fuel you through your workday or even that pick up game with the guys.”

“Brogurt” seems unlikely to revolutionize yogurt consumption, but it is part of a broader trend that sociologist Gwen Sharp has been valiantly tracking at the blog Sociological Images: The proliferation of products that arbitrarily reinforce gender stereotypes, or try create new ones. For example, marketers have inexplicably determined that normal scented candles and tea bags are too effeminate fo ugg r real men so instead they created candles scented “with a splash of motor oil” and a “T Baggin Tea Bag” shaped like a pair o ugg f testes. Ear plug manufacturers have also decided that women and men each need ear plugs suited to their specific needs which basically just means one set of pink ear plugs and one called “skull screws”. Even Barnes and Noble is selling book sets of “classics for boys” and “classics for girls,” because girls have no reason to readThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and boys should evidently steer clear ofThe Wind in the Willows.

Both market skeptics and market proponents will sometimes argue that the market has a way of dissolving old social bonds and prejudices that all which is solid melts into air when exposed to rational market distribution. ugg But the way these products reinforce gender essentialism suggests that the truth is actually a little more complicated than that.

While the market ceaseless drive towards novelty sometimes erodes old social conventions (such as when the public relations genius Edward Bernays marketed cigarettes to women by linking smoking to the burgeoning suffragette movement), it can also reinforce them. Powerful Yogurt is a good example: Instead of trying to diminish whatever insecurity and ingrained biases keep some men away from “normal” Greek yogurt, the company instead capitalizes on it.