This rant thread is hilarious.
I'm not exactly sure what the grip is anymore. I think it's about small pockets and sales and colors and cuts and fabrics. Are the colors "too boring" or "too bright?" And even though women have twice as many options as men, there is still discontent. And, to top it all off, this is the product of discrimination against women... with a big D.
This issue is important to me, because eleven (Dicey Jane, Gumbi, Fern, Mega, Banshee, Z, Belcher, Softball, Red, Party Time, and Biz) out of twelve (Mad Max being the only guy) of my hiking and backpacking partners are women. I don't want to see them going out into the wilderness unprepared! Also, in addition to backpacking with all of these ladies, I've gone shopping for gear with all but two of them. So, I believe I have a pretty good sense of what's available for women.
The issue isn't discrimination. It's that men wear somewhat baggy clothing is sizes S, M, L, and maybe XL, which come in three colors: black, grey and "color." While, women seem to come in an almost endless assortment of body-types and with an infinite array of opinions on what constitutes "cute." For example, hikinggranny, you were wrong about the fit of the rain shell. My GF is taller than me, with a lean, muscular, yoga instructors body (which she is employed to teach) and long arms and legs. The shell jacket I bought for her has a tight cut, and is long in her torso and short on her arms. The rest of these ladies range in height and weight and dimension (edit: well, I won't share all those numbers, but I know them). None of these women are short on outdoor clothing options when we backpack.
Finally, with regard to sales. All the sales I see are things like 20% ALL clothing or 15% student discount or whatever. Perhaps we just have more equitable stores where we live, but I doubt that's the case.
Overall, I guess this rant just makes me laugh, because with all the household spending power that women control, particularly around clothing, I'd be shocked if these companies weren't carefully testing and marketing toward women.