Pop-Culture | Posted by Becka W on 08/29/2012

Bic for Her Pens: A Pointless Gender Stereotype

So, Bic has come out with a pen specifically suited to our needs as ladies. It writes smoother, has a gel grip – you know, for our delicate lady hands – and, I’m assuming, massages my shoulders after a long day of putting on makeup and popping out babies.

I’m sure you’ve heard about this by now, since there’s loads of hilarious posts with snarky reviews of the pen all over the internet and this ridiculous TV ad:

(Is it just me, or is this chick RIDICULOUSLY picky? If you’re screaming in the middle of the hallway that you need a pen, you probably just realized you have a HUGE test in World Civ next period, and you can’t ask the girl who sits behind you for a writing utensil because you have seen her pick her nose with that thing and no thank you. You’ll take whatever pen you can get. Also, is nobody concerned about how this mysterious Bic man got into the school? Those are underage kids, for christ’s sakes. Is this a teacher just giggling around the school, handing out pens for girls and getting kisses on the cheek?)

Seriously, WHAT even is the point of this crap? Do we have to gender EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT that comes out on the market? Is it really necessary to slap pink or blue on everything?

But gender stereotyping is one thing — actually charging more for these pens is another. That’s right: these pens cost more than regular Bic pens. WHY WOULD ANYBODY BUY THIS?

Bic clearly thinks that there’s a market here for this. And maybe there is, among middle schoolers insecure about gender and wanting to adhere to societal gender norms to the highest degree – from their head to their toes to every last one of their school supplies. I can’t decide what’s sadder – the fact that young girls will look at this as something they further need to outfit their backpacks, or the fact that a major corporation thought this was a great idea. It seriously bums me out that girls have to worry about whether or not their school supplies are girly enough for the first day back at school instead of thinking about their classes or learning or books they may need. Sigh.

What do you guys think? Where is the line for gendering products? Does this cross it?

Becka also writes for her own blog, Becka Tells All and is the creator of Couch Potatoes with a Cause

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  • NovelBee @ at 4:29 pm, August 29th, 2012

    “For HER.” Because, you know, everything without a gendered label is male by default. I loath the gendering of products, period, but this campaign is a new level of egregious.

    And then there’s the official name attached to many of the commercials: “BIC boy.” I… think that’s supposed to be a dick joke, and I’m not even going to comment on that.

    (One quibble: Using “guys” and “you guys” to address a general audience assumes a male default as well. Something to think about.)

  • Talia bat Pessi @ at 7:26 pm, August 29th, 2012

    I don’t know if this crosses a line, I just think it’s beyond idiotic. Pens “for her.” The only inanimate objects that should be gendered are undergarments.

  • Juliana Britto @ at 2:54 am, August 30th, 2012

    Oh my god. This ad makes me want to vomit. Pink, sparkly and gelly? This girl doesn’t even look young enough to pass that off as cool!

  • Ariella @ at 9:00 am, August 30th, 2012

    IMHO, yes. SO MUCH.

  • New post up at the F Bomb! « Becka Tells All @ at 11:19 am, August 30th, 2012

    [...] the whole Bic Pen for Her debacle – Check it out here. Rate this:Share this:FacebookTwitterStumbleUponPrintEmailMoreRedditLinkedInDiggLike this:LikeBe [...]

  • Feministka » Przeczytane gdzie indziej @ at 2:12 am, August 31st, 2012

    [...] robi d?ugopisy specjalnie dla Pa? (o nie potrafimy obs?ugiwa? “m?skich” [...]

  • Becka W @ at 8:59 am, September 1st, 2012

    @NovelBee – Thanks for the thought! I’ve actually had the inner debate whether or not to use “you guys” often, trust me, but what my decision to use it boils down to is that it’s entered into the public vernacular as a casual way to address a bunch of people at once – and who’s to say only women or only guys are reading this post? :)

  • T @ at 11:32 pm, September 1st, 2012

    EXACTLY.
    this is completely ridiculous.

  • Emma E @ at 9:07 am, September 8th, 2012

    I’m on the verge of tearing my hair out because I DO NOT GET IT. Like, why? I get the idea of sparkly gel pens, but advertizing them as only for women, who are, I assume, not supposed to buy their other pens, is stupid. And charging more for it? That makes me rage. WTF.

    Ironically, I’m the type of person who probably would’ve bought sparkly gel pens if it hadn’t had ‘for her’ written on i.

  • Tatiana B @ at 9:35 pm, September 8th, 2012

    Wow, because I really like sparkly pink pens like I just LOVE unicorns, rainbows and puppies :/ this really urks me, not because it is just sexist, but because its just so damn ridiculous. Just because it has ‘For Her’ written on it doesn’t mean I will like it or like the other pens less.

  • Gme @ at 4:43 pm, September 11th, 2012

    I hate it when companies decide they need to gender their previously gender-neutral products. This recently happened in Germany with the introduction of the Pink Ü-Ei (chocolate egg with a little toy inside it). Instead of having a normal egg, you can now have one in pink- but ONLY for girls. Really unnecessary. It is also dumb that the “normal” egg is now considered to be the one for boys, further enforcing the message that normal=male, pink=female. At least the public doesn’t seem to react to positively to these eggs so maybe the company will stop when they realize it wasn’t such a great idea. A similar fail was the attempt to create lilac PSPs especially for girls… -_-

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