Monday, September 10, 2012

Also, Pink Floyd Should Totally Play More Chick Music

It's an immutable law of nature: Women like dainty, pink things.

Well, I like piglets, anyway. And actually, it's the immutable law of marketing, not nature, which dictates that women should have consumer products marketed especially to them. There are two main ways to accomplish this: either by underscoring some special need we maybe even didn't realize we as women had, or by making shit pink.

It's a pretty pink pussy. WELL IT IS.
Recently the freaking geniuses at Bic put out a line of "Bic for Her" ballpoint pens, and the response from the online community has been gratifyingly hilarious. If you haven't read the reviews for these pens, you're in for a treat. I really prefer to think someone at Bic knew perfectly well that the insane idea of gender-specific ballpoint pens would be a publicity bonanza. Because the notion that someone felt the need to label a line of pastel-colored pens as being "for women" makes me want to cry and stab someone in the eye with a manly sharp pencil.

Be that as it may, if you Google terms like "stupid/crazy/worthless products for women," you'll find all kinds of articles about such items as pink tool sets and razors that are identical to men's except the handles are prettier (and they usually cost more). A lot of those articles repeat the same products over and over, in accordance with the Internet logic that imitation is the laziest form of flattery.

Can I help it if everyone else who has the same brilliant
idea as me lives in an earlier time zone?
But today I saw a "for her" product I hadn't seen before. Check this out.

If you listen to Ozzy through these,
no one will ever want to marry you.
Yes, women's headphones. See, they're "petite" and have "jewel-like detailing." And they make Sarah McLachlan sound fabulous. I love Altec Lansing - I have a pair of their speakers that came with a computer I bought 15 years ago, and I've thrown away the speakers that came with every computer I've bought since then because they sound so damn good. But really? Last time I checked (let me check again...ooooh, yep), I was a woman, and my ear-holes aren't particularly diminutive, and I don't care if these come in pink, I like BASS. So I'll stick with my big over-the-ear headphones that sound great and hope onlookers find some other way to identify me as female. Like, I don't know, my tits or something.

So then of course I had to find other products ridiculously marketed to women to make fun of. And, I'll be damned, it just wasn't that difficult. Like this:

It must work. I'm stunned.

Now this product hits the trifecta of shameless pandering to the stereotypical woman consumer: making us feel unsafe, promising to fight breast cancer, and being pink. And let's not forget looking like a vibrator. We chicks dig anything we can use as a vibrator. HOLY SHIT WHO WOULD MAKE A 2.5 MILLION VOLT STUN GUN THAT LOOKS LIKE A VIBRATOR??? Whether you're being attacked by a would-be rapist or relaxing in the privacy of your boudoir, you do NOT want to pull out the wrong device at the critical moment.

Let me be clear: I make a point of not buying anything because it donates "a portion of the proceeds to fight Breast Cancer." I can give my money directly to the American Cancer Society, and it's tax-deductible. I don't gravitate to products that are pink, either. Now, that "6 inches long and 1 inch thick" feature...that's a different story.

Speaking of cancer. I have never had to deal with a diagnosis of cancer, and I have no idea how shattering to self-esteem and morale it can be to lose your hair to chemo. So I'm totally not going to mock products that allow women to feel prettier or more whole when that happens. Except this one.

Also for monks who want a more stylish tonsure.
See, you can wear hats or scarves. You can wear wigs. Or you can buy a wig that consists only of the part of a hairstyle that sticks out underneath your hat or scarf. So that if the wind blows your hat off, you appear to have the world's most feminine combover. And never mind that the women (and men) I've known who have had chemo have suffered numbing exhaustion associated with the treatments. Like the kind of exhaustion where on a good day you might mess with a hat OR a wig, but certainly not both. This just smacks of a item designed to make other people feel better about how you look, instead of making you feel more confident about living with a terrible illness. Awesome message to send to women. If I should ever have cancer myself (God forbid), my message to the world is going to be be "Screw you and your fussy little hairpieces."

Now check out this item, found in the "Women's Gifts" section of a shopping website.

Bitches love overpriced butterfly-catching contraptions.

See, butterflies like minerals. I guess. So if you want to attract them to your garden, you should evaporate salt water outside - like putting out a salt lick for deer. I guess. But only a complete asshole would let salt water evaporate on a convenient rock or an old saucer. What are you, some kind of oversexed male oppressor? Ladies buy a $40 piece of recyled stone to pour goddamn water on. Butterflies know when they've been offered mineral salts on a quality piece of feminine giftware and when they haven't. And you know what they say about (ahem) women who don't employ a proper butterfly puddler.

Kill me. Please. Now.

I found this next one on an inventors' website, so in fairness it may not even be in production. I don't care, it's still hilarious/horrifying.

Put a battery in it, and we'll buy anything.
It's a battery-powered emery board. You know, to end the drudgery of moving one back and forth across your nails all by yourself. As the description says, it's "ideal for working women." Amen! I know when I come home at the end of a long day, all I want to do is put my feet up and order my family to cater to my every whim. But when I do, I get a look at those feet, and I realize OMG, my big toenails are hideous! But who has the time or energy to lovingly shape them with a ten-cent emery board? I realize I could tell my child to do it, but she lacks the skills required and also refuses to touch my feet. If only I had an overpriced, battery-powered device that might save me upwards of 30 seconds per foot over doing it by hand! The inventor of this product truly understands the needs of modern women. Is it any coincidence that this thing is also a cylinder approximately six inches long? know, scratchy. Ow.

Here's a product that I've seen featured in other dumbass-products-for-women stories. But I saw it kicked up a notch at Target. It's called the GoGirl, and it's a portable urinal for women. Because the world needs that.

I say, if you have enough privacy to pee into one of these things,
you have enough privacy to just squat and go. Amiright?
Yes, this is a totally dumb product. But I give the manufacturer huge props for making it available not just in girly lavender, but in stylish, preppy khaki. I would love to see the market research that led to khaki being picked as the second-best color for a portable women's urinal. I just...really really would love to see that. Wow. Oh, but look, there's more! There's a GoGirl Gift Pack, consisting of a three-pack of portable women's urinals and a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of the product! The shirt makes a statement. And that statement is "I suffer from light to moderate bladder control and am carrying a pocket bedpan and also I kind of enjoy drawing attention to it."

Rejected T-shirt design (by a narrow margin).
And finally, for the girl who knows she's most attractive after getting it on:

On the other hand, I do NOT want to know the marketing research that led to this.
You win. I'll buy the damn pink screwdriver. Just promise me I don't ever have to match my makeup pallette to a post-coital flush. Especially when these days I'm more likely to wear a shade called "Hot Flash."

That was a joke. If such a product exists, please please please please don't tell me about it.

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