Female stationery: the new fashion?
Bic biros accused of sexism for their exclusive ‘For Her’ range created last year
The Bic biro has been a mainstay of the stationery world since the 1950s. While fountain pens passed as a school time trend and gel pen competitors were chastised for their tendency to leak and blob on the page, the Bic biro has remained the reliable pen of choice for school goers and business men alike.
But, in an attempt to reach out to a new market last year Bic developed a more feminine range of stationery. Forget a nice colour palette of pale, spring-like hues that could be directed at both sexes and all age ranges, the French-based firm launched a range of disposable Bic Cristal Point biros exclusively ‘For Her.’ Marketed directly at women, the pens come in girly pastel coloured casings and are thinner than standard biros, in order ‘to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand.’
And while the range may have been launched in 2011 it has taken a year or so to receive full recognition from avid stationery consumers. Moreover, the reaction to the feminine pen collection is perhaps not what Bic expected.
One Amazon customer wrote an innovative review comparing the feminine pens to another exclusively female range of products: the tampon. Continuing this vein of sexist sarcasm a more masculine customer wrote, ‘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.’
Another tongue-in-cheek reviewer unleashed her comments in sarcastic droves, noting that ‘Since I’ve begun using these pens, men have found me more attractive and approachable… My drawings of kittens and ponies have improved, and now that I’m writing my last name hyphenated with the Robert Pattinson’s last name, I really believe he may someday marry me! I’m positively giddy.’
While the French brand may have done some market research before creating the pen collection, it’s a fair assumption that the company weren’t expecting the backlash of ironic feminism that was thrown back at the pretty pens.
Whether the brand have got a masculine stationery counterpart in the pipe line is unknown. Fingers crossed British companies won’t start ordering the feminine biros in the office stationery order or there might be a new bout of sexism in the workplace to argue about.
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