Finally…Pens Women Can Use

Vaseline lotion bottle with "MEN" written across it.

By Paola Diaz ’19

Since I’ve begun using these pens, men have found me more attractive and approachable” is just part of one of the hundreds of reviews for the Bic pens “for her.”

Have you ever gone to the store and came across many containers of everyday utilities but then as you take a closer look at the container, you see that it’s only labeled for men or only labeled for women?

Not only do companies label their products by gender, but they also assume that their customers are women or men by making their packaging more “feminine” or more “masculine.”

54% of their workers being men, BiC, the big company that makes most of the writing utensils that students use, created pens in 2012 and designed them with pinks and purples while also labeling them with “BiC for her.” The launch of this new product made thousands of women furious. When showing  senior student, Cristian Crespo, the image of the controversial pens, he explains, “Well, my thoughts when I see this picture is ‘how are pens made for a “her”?’ Pens can generally be used by anyone.” Crespo also believes that companies like BiC try to get females’ attention by simply adding “her” on their product covers. Although BiC removed this product, they still continue to sell “Miss Soleil,” razors specifically to women. Men, on the other hand, have their stronger, dark-colored razors with the slogan, “tough on the beard, gentle on the skin.” Why should women and men even have to even use different razor types?

Similarly, Head & Shoulders and many other companies also separate their products by gender. One can visit the store, go down the skincare products, and find oneself coming across a Vaseline product with “men” written over its label. Or even coming across all the women product bottles decorated with flowers and light colors. One can even see this by visiting the companies’ websites. The women and men products will be in their own separate tabs.

Overall, senior Julian Maya also explains how he believes that this type of labeling is a strategy to try to get certain people’s attention, but that it is a strategy that should not be used by companies. He explains, “because people now are not really defining themselves a certain gender and putting “men” and “women” on a product seems to me very ostracizing. “

Although the big companies like BiC have women in their board of directors and leadership team, products like these still continue to be launched by Bic and many other companies today.