Things That Don’t Need to Be Pink or Floral
The “Pink Flocked Skull for Girls” is one of my favorite items in the Archie McPhee catalog, a sly wink and nod to the world of marketing to women. It’s amazing to me that in the 21st century there’s a demand for making random gender-neutral or “manly” household items as pink and blandly inoffensive as possible in order to theoretically appeal to the estrogen set, and/or raise money for breast cancer. (This phenomenon was also chronicled in David Wahl’s piece “The Least Successful Toy in the World.”) This sort of thing fills me with cognitive dissonance, as I’m in some ways a girly girl who loves the color pink and my ridiculous Hello Kitty toaster, but I’m also a tough broad who knows how to kick butt and get things done, and I don’t need to be coddled and condescended to with tiny floral power tools.
I recently noticed this trend how out-of-hand this trend had become when a friend tipped me off to Rose Guardian, an entire line of self-defense gear especially for women. Their offerings include the “Think Pink” breast cancer awareness line, including the rosy-hued “Curve” stun gun and “Pandora’s Box” taser, for which they’ll donate money to breast cancer research every time you use it to incapacitate a would-be attacker. Instead of brass knuckles, they sell an adorable jabbing implement that is worn over the knuckles and is shaped like a cute puppy dog or kitty cat. It comes in a rainbow of colors, so you can be properly accessorized and color coordinated when stabbing a mugger in the eye!
My personal favorite of Rose Guardian’s wares is the “Lipstick Surprise” which coyly hides a sharp, serrated knife. It’s cute, and it does inspire some “La Femme Nikita” meets Lisbeth Salander revenge fantasies — but the truth is if I needed to go digging through my purse looking for it in the midst of attack, it would probably be too late by the time I found it. Not like that stopped me from ordering one anyway.
Hardware stores are notorious for alienating their female clientele. On every trip to Home Depot I am invariably greeted by a paunchy middle aged man who calls me “little lady” and asks me if I know how to operate *insert name of power tool* with a tone of concern. Okay, to be fair, I suck at operating most power tools, but you know what I do know how to use? A claw hammer. So there is really no need to make miniature hammers adorned with colorful floral patterns for my dainty little feminine hands. Or a pink impact drill and pink 13-piece drill bit set! I mean, if you’re really such a helpless dame that you refuse to wield a regular hammer, you might as well just use your feminine wiles to trick a brawny man into doing your dirty work so you can spend your days sipping cosmopolitans while wearing a fluffy pink negligee.
But maybe you’re a classy lady who enjoys single malt scotch and a Cuban cigar over appletinis and Virginia Slims? Don’t worry, there are three separate websites that cater to your special feminine needs for polluting your pretty pink lungs: Cigars For Women, Cigar Woman, and the inventively-named Cigars 4 Women. Romeo and Julieta even created a special cigar for women called the Julieta — smaller and more feminine, with a pink wrapper. (Just kidding! Well, about the last bit anyway.) And you can wash down your Cigar for Women with Whiskey for Women, featuring tips to “educating the female drinker” and “approaching the female palate.” I thought the whole appeal of smoking cigars as a woman is the fact that it feels vaguely masculine and therefore transgressive and naughty, so where’s the point in dumbing it down and making it cutesy?
I can’t wait until they start marketing traditionally feminine objects like cake mixers and feather dusters to men, in masculine colors and patterns like navy and tweed, perhaps customizable with the logo of one’s favorite football team — so one’s masculinity isn’t threatened by purchasing it.
And speaking of, don’t even get me started on the biggest travesty of all: lingerie football.