BIC 'for Her' pens bombarded with sarcastic reviews
It's just the pen for someone who's looked at her Paper Mate and knew she would be more comfortable writing with a Paper Ma'am.
The Amazon.com pages for a new line of ballpoint pens for women have been bombarded by sarcastic reviews from women and men alike, aiming to undermine what some have called a sexist marketing endeavour.
The "BIC for Her" line of pens feature pink and purple colours, small diamond etchings and "a thin barrel designed to fit a women's hand," according to the description on Amazon.com.
The pen's product page on BIC's website dubs it "the pen essentially for women!" (The clear-barrelled Cristal for Her model must be the standard version's more assertive older sister, with the tagline "reserved for women.") Some models come in the 'manly' colours of blue and black, while other models come with "fashion ink" in different colours.
The BIC for Her 16-pack page on Amazon has attracted more than 150 reviews, most of them satirical and very similar to reviews on the pages for ironically popular items like the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. Similar collections of reviews adorn almost every BIC for Her product listing.
Some of the pens include diamond-shaped etchings. (BIC/Amazon.com)Users came up with fanciful tales of the pens spreading cooties and turning boys into unicorns. A successful CEO found her life's true inspiration in the pens' "soft, delicately feminine lines," leaving the corporate world to become a farmer's wife with four "strapping" sons.
The top-rated reviewer praises the pens for granting her the Valkyrie's spear of writing implements:
Rather than piling on either five-star or one-star reviews, the BIC for Her also attracted dire warnings for anyone too manly to hold the pens deemed "essentially for women."
- "Finally! For years I've had to rely on pencils, or at worst, a twig and some drops of my feminine blood to write down recipes (the only thing a lady should be writing ever). I had despaired of ever being able to write down said recipes in a permanent matter, though my men-folk assured me that I "shouldn't worry yer pretty little head". But, AT LAST! Bic, the great liberator, has released a womanly pen that my gentle baby hands can use without fear of unlady-like calluses and bruises. Thank you, Bic!" - Breemeup
- "The normal black pen casings are just so hard on the eyes. It was like a breath of fresh air to see lady colored pens. For once, I don't have to grip a giant, man-sized pen just to sign receipts at Saks. And the ink just hits the paper so smoothly, not at all like the rough, gritty man ink in Bic's normal pens. My only complaint is that they are a bit finicky. When I was copying down recipes from my neighbour, it worked just fine, but as soon as I sat down with the bills, nothing. It wouldn't work! But that's okay, my woman brain gets all muddled trying to figure out finances anyway." - Virginia
Rachel had a desperate warning for any guys in the room:
- "These pens are really dangerous to non-girls, they turned my brother into a unicorn and I've been hearing similar stories from others. I thought it was strange/sort of sexist that they felt the need to put "for her" on the product, since, like, it's a pen, are boys really not allowed to like pretty pens? But now I realize that the real problem is they didn't make the warning explicit enough."
A user who signed with the name Bobby "Butch" Bronson warned:
The line proved "no good for man hands," wrote another:
- My name is Bobby. I am five-and-a-half years old. I accidentally used one of your Cristal For Her pens that my little sister Tyffani had left on the kitchen table. UGH!! Now I've got GIRL GERMS and I'm gonna need a "GIRL COOTIES" SHOT! Do you sell them? If you don't, YOU SHOULD!!! YUCK!!!
The tongue-in-cheek commentary spilled over into other blogs and news websites, including Jezebel's comments section.
- "I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree-felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks."
What do you think of the BIC for Her pen line? Is it sexist marketing, or just another label for some fancifully coloured barrels? Are sarcastic Amazon reviews the best way to draw attention to the subject matter, or is it giving the company too much publicity?
- "I was hoping it would be less phallic," wrote Erin Gloria Ryan.
- "Would have been cool if it came in 50 shades of gray," said the ink-critical la_gitana14.
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