As the holiday season picks up speed and consumerism drives people to the shopping malls and the department stores looking for presents for loved ones, I think it might be appropriate to bring up the issue of “for her” products.
“So what are ‘for her’ products?” you may ask.
“For her” products are essentially products that have been “redesigned” in such a way as to become more “feminine”. In many cases, this involves a more slender design (because apparently women’s hands are much too small to handle the “big boy” toys like a power drill), and often features a large palette consisting solely of shades of pink and purple. The above image of Bic For Her pens is a prime example on how this works — a product which is inherently unisex is “remade” with more “feminine” features in order to appeal to female consumers.
Some other examples of “for her” products:
You get the idea.
“Now what’s the problem with pink products, Alice? Wouldn’t some people really want to have a pink product?”
And to that, I say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with “for her” products on its own. Having a product that happens to be colored pink or purple or whatever is the issue here.
No, the issue isn’t the fact that there are pink products. The real issue is that these products are pink, and are solely intended to be marketed for women to purchase. And that’s problematic, for a few reasons:
- it implies that the regular product is inherently masculine and for men. This enforces a gender binary and establishes gender characteristics for products that are otherwise unisex. This is extremely problematic when you see what products are made “for women”: guns, tool sets, pens, laptop computers, etc. — products that are used in “masculine” careers such as police officer, mechanic, computer scientist, etc.
- It implies that women are otherwise uninterested in doing certain things (learning how to shoot, using a computer, writing, etc.) unless it’s been “feminized”. This further enforces said gender binary.
- It’s insulting. What is the difference between a Bic For Her pen and a Dr. Grip pen (which I use on a near daily basis), or a Bic For Her pen and one of their many other pen products that they sell? Nothing. The fact that apparently I won’t know that I could use a pen (or how to use one) unless it’s specifically made for me insults my intelligence and mocks women for being so “inferior” that they need special products for themselves.
So people. If you’re going to buy a present for your lady friends, unless your friend really, really, really loves pink, can you just buy us the regular products? We’ll know that those presents are intended for us, and we can figure out how to use it, thanks.