What the Gender Ya: Nonsensically ‘Men’ And ‘Women’ Products

Q: What’s the difference between men’s toothpaste & women’s toothpaste? A: Zilch. But try telling that to companies.

Published
Gender
4 min read
A prowomen lip lightener for women, separate shot glasses for men and women, and a shampoo only for men. 
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What’s the difference between men’s toothpaste and women’s toothpaste? Er, nothing.

Despite their branding suggesting that they are ‘high performance’, it’s not as though the toothpaste for men would more ‘aggressively’ remove bacteria or that the toothpaste for women would be ‘gentler’ on the germs. In that case, women wouldn’t buy that s***, and all that extra pink too wouldn’t be able to make up for its poor quality.

So what is the similarity between the two? Both are essentially two versions of the same product, and are sold to their respective gender markets to make greater profits.

Despite the conversation around gender getting prominence in our daily discourse, we are, time and again, seeing stupid ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ versions of ubiquitous items. After all, any reasonable person would assume that toothpaste is for everyone.

But turns out there are some toothpastes only for him.

‘High Performance’ Toothpaste for Men

Closeup White Attraction Men Deep Cool Whitening Gel Toothpaste  
Closeup White Attraction Men Deep Cool Whitening Gel Toothpaste  
(Photo Courtesy: Nykaa)

First of all, what even is a high performance toothpaste? Do the other tubes of toothpaste that Closeup sells without this tagline, promise low performance? And second of all, what makes the people at Closeup assume that only men want ‘white attraction’ for their teeth?

Will someone tell them that happy, shiny, white teeth are for everyone?

In practice, using words like ‘tough’, ‘high performance’, and using black and blue packaging are old tricks to make a product appear more masculine. And what can be more ‘manly’ than a black shampoo with the words, MAN in CAPS!

Anti-hairfall shampoo by The Real Man
Anti-hairfall shampoo by The Real Man
(Photo Courtesy: Amazon)

It isn’t just toothpaste and shampoo though (sigh). Take a look at other rather similar products bifurcated along gendered lines:

Separate Lip Lighteners for Male and Female Smokers?

  • PROMEN Lip Lightener For Smokers  
  • PROWOMEN Lip Lightener For Smokers  

It makes no sense to have different ‘men’ and ‘women’ versions of a product that literally just does lip service.

Not only is the products’ existence funny, it’s also worth noting that the lip lightener for women is priced slightly higher than that of men (Rs 319 as opposed to the men’s version which is priced at Rs 299). This, while the quantity of the two is the same (7g each) as is the SPF (SPF 15).

Dear advertisers, we don’t need words like soft and gentle. We need the same prices as men!

Him and Her Milkshakes, Really?

A screengrab of a couple milkshake from Keventers, available on Swiggy.
A screengrab of a couple milkshake from Keventers, available on Swiggy.
(Photo Courtesy: Swiggy/Keventers)

Do men and women drink milkshakes differently? Do they perhaps add separate elements in either? Without that knowledge, gendered shakes are a pretty clichéd way of shaking up some sales.

‘Cute’ Tattoos Only for Women?

While many of the temporary tattoos available on Flipkart are gender-neutral, these ones stand out for their specificity to gender.

No prizes for guessing, that this angel is for ‘girls’, while the ‘Alpha Man’ arm-warmer tattoo is for men.

Removeable Temp Body Tattoo - Angel Style. Don’t miss the ideal gender!
Removeable Temp Body Tattoo - Angel Style. Don’t miss the ideal gender!
(Photo Courtesy: Flipkart)
Alpha tattoos for the alpha man? 
Alpha tattoos for the alpha man? 
(Photo Courtesy: Flipkart)

Cliched Couple Tees?

Fix it Broke it ‘Couple’ Tees
Fix it Broke it ‘Couple’ Tees
(Photo Courtesy: Uptown18)

Maybe what needs to be ‘fixed’ here is the stereotypical mentality that still assumes the man in the relationship to be the ‘fixer’ of things, and the woman to be the ‘damsel-in-distress’. Argggh!

Sex on the Beach

While it’s true that women need more representation, suggestive bottle openers aren’t the kind we were thinking. Especially when they are shaped like a woman’s leg, exhibiting the recipe of a cocktail called ‘Sex on the Beach’. And the clincher? It’s called a ‘Barmaid Opener’.

‘Barmaid Opener’.
‘Barmaid Opener’.
(Photo Courtesy: Happily Unmarried)

There are few things that unite men and women the way cheeky humour, cheap beer and tasty milkshakes do. But how are we going to tell the next generation that we careened towards a gender war by offensively gendering inanimate objects?!

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