I wrote a post a while back about a couple who had raised their Son as gender neutral. It caused a lot of controversy in the local community where they live, however recent developments in the news makes me think that they are quite modern in their thinking!
The story that grabbed me, believe it or not, was about a simple biro pen. Bic have decided to bring out a range of pens “for women”, ‘What’s the difference?’ I hear you cry, are they able to do 2 things at once? Do they have a tracking device that allows us to find our keys? Do they make you thin? Nope. None of the above, they are simply pink.
At first I decided I was outraged at this blatant stereotyping of genders, not all girls like pink! My favourite colour was orange as a child. However if I look at the list I made above I realised I may also have just put all women in the same box myself. Today the line is quite blurred, you are not allowed to stereotype, you are supposed to encourage individuality and creativity etc. However at the same time when the girls and I get together we talk about similar things, we have similar interests and we fit into a lot of the stereotypes. We speak about weight, beauty, food and how useless our blokes our … even cleaning!
This is where advertising agencies have a major problem! Its true most women have certain things in common, but not all of us love being strapped to the hoover/mop all day! It seems advertising has decided to fall into 3 categories the blatantly sexist, the slightly sexist and not so sexist.
A few examples I’m sure you’ve all seen:
Yorkie- ‘Not for girls’
Diet Coke- ‘lighter option’ advert features hunky builder
Flash- cleaning product for mums throughout the ages
Just a few from an array of cleaning product commercials and dieting adverts there..
Having initially clambered onto my high horse with the Bic pens (which I still think are ridiculous) I’ve decided to jump out of the saddle and be honest. Yes this is still an issue, why don’t ‘stay at home dads’ ever feature in any of the cleaning adverts? Why can’t a woman have a Yorkie bar? The answer is because it’s not that company’s target market! For a business to work you need to find out who uses the product and target them. I can honestly say I drink diet coke I clean my house with flash and I don’t buy Yorkie bars (but mainly because the chocolate tastes horrible, and there’s no way I’m wasting my once a week treat on that!) so they must be doing something right.
If we buy into that product who are we to disagree with its advertising strategy?