Time for me to talk about the Bic “for her” pens. I don’t think it’s really necessary to be a controversy, but at the same time, come on. You can call it being sensitive, but I think this year, women should be sensitive, and we should be immediately defensive anytime we hear any female pronoun.
If there is controversy, it’s based on the fact that they’re explicitly labeled “for her,” thereby implying that all of the other pens, no matter how pretty you might think they are, are not for her, but for him. Especially the whole, “specially designed for women’s hands” thing. Really? What if I had man hands? Are guys with feminine hands allowed to use these? Are our hands really that different that we need to use different writing tools?
Pink, purple, and even sparkly pens have been around for decades without having to be labeled as girl-specific. You remember the plain ones, they’re that hexagonal-shaped cylinder, clear? I pissed my teachers off frequently in grade school with the aqua-blue, pink, purple, and lime-green versions of that. Some of the pens that they’re hawking now are exactly these pens (just in different shades). Later, I would have pink and purple sparkly versions of the other “classic” Bic pen (the white ones).
The pens in the photo above just made me sad… The pens on the right are really for girls simply because the buttons are purple and pink? That brings me to the flip side… Are you saying that a boy can’t use these?
Let’s take it a step further than pens. A friend of mine reminded me of how many classic children’s toys are now in shades of pink and purple. She mentioned the stackable rings. You remember. You all had Fisher Price stackable rings. And poppers. If you have kids, your kids have/had them. You know these toys. In recent years there have been a few changes to the rings, the red ring becoming clear on one side and containing small colorful balls; and to the popper, getting some geometric design to to the handle. All the better to visually stimulate a baby and teach primary colors – which is one of the main points of this toy.
Then… they made ‘girl’ versions. And while they are adorable and I’m sure little girls love them (even though I’m sure they love the regular ones just as much), you have completely lost the exposure to the educational purpose of the toy. Your kid may know four different shades of pink, but she won’t know the basic colors of the light spectrum.
And then there are the pink versions of sports team jerseys. I can’t explain to you how much I despise these. If you like a team, support them by wearing the jersey in their team colors. The pink jerseys say to me, “I don’t want anything to do with sports unless there’s some pink because I’m a girl!” I just hate them.
But to bring it all back to where I started… these pens. I love sarcastic Amazon reviews for any product, but these take the cake. The fact that even men felt the need to step in is so vindicating.
What I’m saying is that it’s not like we never had access to cute pens before. I have drawers full of them. Basically, since they’ve been making cutesy pens for as long as I can remember, all they had to do was keep making them. Just put them in the store the way you have been since DAy One of business. Watch girls who like cute pens buy them. Count your profits. Done.
If you want to buy these, I’m not stopping you. As long as you’re buying them because you like the way they look, not because you think they’re really specially made for you. Particularly since they look like every pen they’ve made for the last… who knows how long.
There was just no need for a huge marketing campaign for pens for girls, especially at a time when women are being treated like second class citizens and morons incapable of making their own choices. Now we’re being told what pens to use… What’s next?
Edit to add: A month and a half later, Ellen has jumped on the wavelength with me on this: