This is 2021. It is past time we stop labeling items for women and others for men. That anachronistic way of thinking should have passed from our collective consciousness a long time ago. Women and men engage in 99% of the same activities in exactly the same way. Our bodies are mostly the same with a few notable differences. We have the same desires, emotions, disappointments, failures, and drive to start all over and try again. We are of a kind. When the going gets tough, we either lead, follow or get out of the way.
Many items on the market are branded as being for men or women for no better reason than to play on our socially normative myths. Why are women’s products pink? Moreover, why are they more expensive than similar products marketed to men? This phenomenon is called the pink tax. The demographic split between men and women is statistically dead even. So it has nothing to do with economies of scale. There are many items that would be better as unisex products. But for social pressure, the following items would be marketed to everyone and not just women:
Every man you have ever seen on TV and in the movies was wearing as much makeup as the leading lady. If you ever see them in public, they are still wearing makeup. Men have as many facial blemishes they wish to hide as women. Don’t even get me started on eyebrows. We have all seen men who could use a good eyebrow gel. Men and women have the same eyes, lashes, brows, and vanity. What men often lack is the self-awareness that their eyebrows could use a little work.
It is not just their eyebrows. Too many men are walking around with noses that could use powdering. That is no more a feminine thing than the need to whiten one’s teeth. Your smile says a lot about you. And there is no reason why women should care more about their smiles than their male counterparts. There is also no reason for the packaging of these products to only show women using them, or for the packaging to come in pink hues. It is only perpetuating a social narrative that makes no sense in the modern world. Men should be demanding cosmetics marketed to them. If that ever happens, just know that regardless of the color of the packaging, it would be the exact same makeup used by women. And it would probably be cheaper. Thanks, pink tax.
Why is a handbag with handles called a purse when a woman carries it and it is called something else when a man carries it? While there might be some superficial differences, it is still the same thing. It is a bag intended to carry the same kinds of things to the same kinds of places. The reason women are more likely to carry them is that their clothes don’t tend to have kangaroo pouch-sized pockets. Where the heck are we supposed to put our keys?
A man purse (murse) is an absolute necessity for many men. Open that bag and you will find lotion, shaving supplies, and extra shirts in case things get a little sweaty, deodorant, and possibly a sewing kit if they bothered to learn how to attach a button. Wrapping all that stuff in a slightly different piece of luggage does not change the nature of it. What is interesting is that women’s purses tend to be a lot more expensive and have somewhat less utility than men’s carries. Here we go again with the pink tax.
Here is something that is already unisex. As it happens, sandals are good for everyone. Sandals for men tend to be less pink and a lot uglier. But they are more or less the same. At least this gives us a glimpse into a world where artificial gender lines are erased. Oh, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a pink tax for sandals. If anything, men’s flip-flops are a little more expensive. I guess that’s progress.
There are definitely some important differences between men and women. No one is asking for a men’s version of sanitary napkins. But when it comes to cosmetics, bags, and sandals, more unisex options would be a welcome change. No need to make them pink.