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If American capitalism has taught us anything, it’s that women in their natural state are gross, dirty, and masculine, and in need of some good old feminization (buy our silky, pearly, pink shit!). And so, even products that are used in exactly the same way by both men and women—-like deodorant and razors—-must be marketed directly to the womenfolk, and products that only women can use—-like tampons and birth control—-must be made even more feminine. Below: the frilliest tampons, the girliest birth control pills, and the most lavendery razors that money can buy.
I shave my legs, but I just picked up a new razor that may almost encourage me to unlearn that particular expression of femininity. The razor is called “Soleil Twilight,” it’s made by Bic, and it features a triple-blade and, as I discovered after I had already hit the check-out line, “lavender scented handles.” Because, you see, men also use razors, which means that razors may be perceived as overly masculine, a misconception that can be cleared up with just a touch of feminine aroma making some skin contact with your hand area. The lavender business makes about as much sense as the name, which from my understanding literally means something like “Sun Growing Darkness.” It removes hair.
Listen, there’s nothing more naturally feminine than popping a birth control pill—-so far, only women are allowed to perform this particular function. Still, contraception manufacturers have labored to market the medication in the most feminine way possible. Yaz, arguably the most feminized form of birth control, has claimed to alleviate moodiness, reduce bloating, clean up acne, and even help women lose weight in addition to, you know, stoppin’ babies. Accordingly, Yaz commercials feature a bunch of Sex and the City types hanging out at a swanky lounge talking about how Yaz has cured their emotional problems, allowing them to continue to hang out at swanky lounges. In case a bunch of women talking frankly about PMS was getting a bit too masculine for you, the ad goes on to explain that Token Woman Who Knows Too Much About Birth Control knows so much because she is a medical doctor, an admission that causes her friends to laugh and dismiss her as a “show off.” Tee-hee! Because any woman who could speak intelligently about what birth control actually does has got some ‘splainin to do.
Last week, Heartless Doll’s Andrea Grimes wrote a screed about frilly tampons, in which she admitted, “I’ve never been able to tell much of a difference between something like a Tampax Pearl and a Duane Reade Just Shove It Up There, It’ll Be Fine.” Grimes points to the frilliest tampon of them all, the Tampax Pearl, which features a string of ladylike pearls on its packaging in order to emphasize the product’s enhanced feminine quality. What’s pearly about this product, exactly? The applicator is made of fucking plastic instead of cardboard, and you can’t get anything more girly than that.
Everyone knows that Secret is “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.” What I still can’t wrap my head around is how this company can simultaneously market deodorant as a product through which femininity must be performed, while insisting that this performance be kept “Secret.” As one branding expert explains, “That chant has made the Secret® deodorant brand spectacularly successful, especially with females 12-24, because it reaffirms gender identity to a particularly vulnerable, insecure audience. For a small investment, you get to go from girl to woman and feel good about it.” Now women are expected to feminize our armpits for ourselves, because no one else will ever notice. Thanks Secret!
OK, so yogurt isn’t a specifically feminine product, but you wouldn’t know that if you’ve ever seen any yogurt commercial ever. Take, for example, this Yoplait commercial, which manages to incorporate commentary on cute men, short men, bridesmaids dresses, high heels, ladies room lines, and bouquet catching within the span of 30 seconds. Men eat yogurt too. Get the people behind the Dockers ad on this one!