Bic for Her

Letter to the Editor

Have you ever been walking through the soda aisle of a grocery store and noticed the two highly similar yet slightly different versions of calorie-free Coke: Diet Coke and Coke Zero? If you look closely enough you’ll realize that conveniently, they are both the same soda, just geared towards different genders. Diet Coke is in a silver can with a cursive font. This soda is marketed to women. Men are supposed to drink Coke Zero, which is a black can that looks more masculine than Diet Coke. The same is apparent with Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max. Diet Pepsi is also in a silver can with cursive font, alluring to women, whereas Pepsi Max is in a black can, appealing to men. The use of the word “max” denotes a man’s desire for maximum taste, while the word “diet” convinces a woman the drink will enhance her weight loss. Ironically, both drinks are the same recipe, simply marketed to different audiences.

Consider ballpoint pens.  When I think of pens, I don’t usually think of a girl pen or a boy pen but instead just a writing utensil, black or blue. Recently I was walking through the school supplies aisle of Walmart, and I came across “Bic for Her”. This is a new pen that has come out intended solely for women. They have also created a mechanical pencil intended solely for women. They are pink and purple writing utensils specifically named for women. Even products as simple as pens have been marketed for a particular gender, even though the product itself doesn’t change at all, besides the color and title. All these products are simply duplicates, tweaked slightly to draw different gendered customers.

These marketing decisions made by large corporations are limiting to our society.  They put restrictions on what women versus men find socially acceptable to buy. This is a marketing technique, as families need to buy both the female version and male version of each products. Separation by gender has become a priority. It has forced people to act as either a girl or a boy, and it has taken away their originality and uniqueness.

We live in a society where we are defined by large corporations and not by our own individual identities. There is a strong movement  pushing towards gender equality and liberation from discrimination, but products still come out every day that are gender specific. The small differences in these products based on gender show a lot about corporations and what they have done to our society. Although the movement for gender equality is a huge societal issue today, there is and always will be a small hint of separation by gender, no matter how successful it becomes. Corporate America has forced upon the people the idea that they have to fit into the typical stereotype of either a girl or a boy. These products force upon people the need to succumb to their gender stereotypes and fulfill their gender roles in society.