We just celebrated International Women's Day across the world. Even though the fight for equality should be done every day all around the world, we have one specific day when we all come together to highlight this advocacy so people all over the world can be heard and hear, as well, the overwhelming support radiating from all corners of the globe. T
his past year has been a step in the right direction with the help of the giant strides notable women have taken to further the cause. Despite this, there is still a long way to go and a good place to start is discontinuing unnecessarily gendered products still being sold in most stores worldwide.
Here are 15 of the worst offenders and why they need to be stopped.
15 Color allergy
One of the most common things companies are tone deaf about is sorting colors according to gender. It was some misguided sap from the early 20th century who decided blue was a boy’s color and pink was a girl’s color. For some absurd reason, this type of thinking took off and soon a lot of advertising started revolving around creating two different variants of the same thing and people are now made to buy either one according to their gender. Just like this post on Twitter by a woman who sarcastically thanked whoever labeled toothbrush covers to specifically be for men, as it wouldn’t harm her husband who they might believe to be allergic to colors. Just have people choose what they want, how bow dah?
14 Special brush
Men, like women, or all humans in general, have hair atop their heads. When hair grows out they need to be acquainted with a brush or a comb. This is to detangle and tame our manes of hair, so none of us leave the house looking like a homeless person. As far as we all know, men and women’s hair are composed of the same kind of substance, hence both can benefit from the same simple kind of brush, right? The company ConAir does not seem to think so, since they produced a hairbrush and comb set made specifically for men. Apart from the useless label on top saying it’s for men, it looks just like a regular hairbrush all women have owned at some point in their lives.
13 Tooth paste-gate
Much like the hairbrush and comb set made specifically for men, here we have toothpaste that is labeled the same way. This is as if to say that women and men have different compositions of teeth. Are men’s teeth made of a different kind of substance that cannot be cleaned by the ingredients found in toothpaste used by the opposite gender? You know what we mean—the thousands of different varieties of toothpaste that have been on the market since the inception of toothpaste, that men and all other genders could use with no problem until Colgate decided there was a need to mar their mostly good reputation by creating a variant of a product for the male clientele. Time for a callback, Colgate. Chop chop.
12 Knitters with attitude
The need to attach the word “manly” in order to sell a product, be it a grooming item or a manual of some kind, is uninformed and misguided. Like this book that promises to teach male readers about the manly art of knitting. Due to this type of dated thinking, arts and crafts are predominantly regarded as a more feminine pastime. Which is nonsense because everyone should be able to explore all angles of self-expression and be able to try different hats before truly saying that they enjoy this or that without the constraints of archaic gender-bound activities. All sexes should get to experience arts and crafts the same way all sexes should get to experience drag racing or carpentry. Do what you want to, boo.
A lot of men love aromatherapy because they love it when their house or apartment smells nice. It might be because they’re expecting company or maybe they just enjoy being enveloped in the intoxicating smells of wildflowers. What these companies tend to forget is that men also enjoy the same scents women do. As much as they prefer a muskier smelling aftershave, they prefer their bedroom to smell like a flower shop on Valentine’s Day. So this man candle business is a pointless foray into the literal unknown, because they have no idea what they’re doing. You can bet these candles have scents like sandalwood, bourbon cedar or some generic manly sounding words they put together. Little do they know five men just came in to get apple pie candles.
10 Pillow plight
Another one of the household products that you had no idea men and women used differently, here we have pillowcases labeled to be “easy care housewife pillowcases.” Which made this poster on Twitter to ask the question: “Who knew only housewives used pillowcases?” The company that produced this lives in their own imaginary world where women and men use different kinds of pillowcases. It’s as though if you pan the camera a little to the left you’ll find the husband pillowcases and they are probably made of burlap or itchy plaid. In this imaginary world, men like rough, hard-to-care-for pillowcases. The more uncomfortable the sleep the better and only women enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep atop cottony soft pillows and sheets. Sounds very accurate, right? NOT.
9 Man grenade bath blaster bombshell
In an effort to entice the masculine crowd into the lucrative business of luxury bathroom products, a company decided to insert as many manly words into the description of their grenade-shaped bath bombs so their male customers won’t be afraid to wander into that part of the store to procure some of their bath bombs. It’s almost like the word bomb all of a sudden garnered a certain type of reputation (read: feminine) so they had to look for another word that is somewhat close to it so they’ll get that elusive male customer demographic. As previously established, men love wonderful smells just as much as anyone else. They’d love to enjoy the sensations upon dropping that candy-colored bath bomb into the water and watch it fizz away into little bubbles.
8 Man vs. fruit
In what seems to be another insult to the enjoyment of the finer things in life by most men, and again the fact they too want to smell fragrant and fruity the moment they step out of the shower, we have another example of misguided marketing—this time in the world of shampoo. Once again we are transported into a world where men hate smelling like springtime and fruit orchards or flowery meadows. In this world men are given a single choice of shampoo smell. It doesn’t even have a proper flavor name; it literally just says “for men.” Men should not be bound to this one generic smell they must share. They should choose for themselves, whether they feel like smelling like flowers or not.
7 Tissue troubles
It is widely known that whenever a product that was previously never gendered in any way suddenly comes out with a “for men” variant, even though that very established product has been around for the past century. There is also a huge possibility that this “for men” product is going to be more expensive than the “for women” version of the product. Men’s clothes are usually more expensive than women’s and these companies probably took note of this and decided to apply that to everything that they can possibly slap a label on that says it’s for men. Like these tissues that indicate that they are man-size, as if women can’t appreciate a large tissue. Just call them extra-large tissues. It’s not that difficult.
6 Just desserts
Even restaurants are no exception when it comes to creating products—this time, food—that are unnecessarily gendered. It’s one thing to label an item of clothing to be for women because it’s pink and it has a picture of a puppy and flowers on it, but it’s another thing to give food that nourishes our bodies restrictions as to who is allowed to eat them. It is not right and we should not be having any of it. This restaurant is serving a four-course meal and everything was going well until they decided to create two different desserts and label one of them “for the lady” and the other one “for the gentleman.” Why not just let people pick their dessert regardless of their gender?
5 Bathroom boo-boo
Some establishments can sometimes get carried away in their quest to create witty signs for the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Especially nowadays where someone with a large social media following can easily take a snap of a creative bathroom sign and post it for all his or her 20 million followers to see. When this does happen, people get curious about the restaurant and so the restaurant will have an increase in customers. One not-so-successful attempt at this is this establishment that put a normal man silhouette to indicate the men’s bathroom but used a shoe silhouette for the women’s bathroom instead of a normal woman silhouette. Because clearly, women only have shoes in their minds and so shoes are now synonymous with the word woman.
4 Bronut in my mouth!
In what is possibly one of the most unfortunate names for a food fad ever, we have the bronut. It’s a play on the food fad from years ago that took the world by storm like the cronut, which is one-half croissant, one-half donut. People waited for hours outside the bakery just to get a taste of this new inclusion into the Seven Wonders of the World. This bakery pictured here is riding the coattails of the cronut and decided to make their own version of it but advertise it towards the dude or bro crowd, because they are the kind of people that will get intricate pastry even though the same amount of money can get them a bag of Doritos and a bottle of soda.
3 Chip challenge
Man-size seems to be a popular term amongst these companies who are creating all of these unnecessary “for men” products. It’s like they’re implying women wouldn’t like or benefit from a larger version of a product. Like these chips, for example. Who are they to say women cannot handle a bag of chips that size? Is this some kind of challenge these advertisers are starting to see if women are up to finishing this measly bag of chips? Sorry to rain on your parade because every single woman on earth can devour that bag of chips with no problem. As previously established it’s not that hard to just put “extra-large” on that bag of chips and it’d mean the exact same thing and your company wouldn’t look stupid.
2 Hang it up
Just like what was mentioned above, blue being a masculine color and pink being a feminine color were probably thought up by some random advertising person who wanted this propaganda to take off. Other businesses decided to join in and that persisted for decades and is obviously still present in our world today. It’s fine to have different colors of your products—that way people can just choose what they want when they see all those choices on display. We don’t need condescending labels as if we’re supposed to follow your strict rules about color-coding ourselves based on our gender. Like these clothes hangers that are labeled to be for boys. Like it’s set in stone that women are going to get thrown into prison if they buy it.
1 Segregate your trash
In what may be the most pointless of all gendered products, we’re presented with three trashcans lined up against a wall. These cans are labeled plastics and cans, men and women. In what universe is garbage supposed to be separated by gender like it’s a recycling plant where paper is separated from plastic and biodegradable waste? What kind of outcome are they anticipating by requiring the people passing by these cans to distribute their trash according to gender? Does this help in our fight against global warming? Are the glaciers the polar bears live on going to magically appear out of thin air if we put our trash in those weirdly labeled cans? No. That’s why this is confusing and stupid and should clearly be taken down.