Monday, June 1, 2015


Women have struggled throughout history to be seen as equals. Even after gaining suffrage in the 1920s and after March 22, 1972, when the Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution-which proposed banning discrimination based on sex(The New York Times), there is still so much discrimination against women. An obvious sign is the unequal pay gap between women and men (which I've blogged about here), as women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes at the same job. This tells us that society literally values men more than women. Sadly, this isn't surprising to me. 

As young girls, women are taught by society that they're different and that ultimately it's okay that they deserve 33 cents less than men. This stems from the types of toys advertised to them and even the school supplies marketed to them in stores.

 To the right is a picture of the same exact pens, made by the same exact company. But what's different? The right pair of pens are "for Her." Notice how the pens are packaged and the actual pens themselves are purple and pink - with a fancy little cheetah print design. Why is it necessary to have a different design of pen for women? Why does the company believe these pens would actually sell? 

It's because society has taught women that the pink/purple girly combo should be aesthetically pleasing to them. Women should love pink and cheetah. Notice how there is nothing on the right package of pens about actually writing or using the pen - while on the left, clearly more masculine pens, has a huge,"Smooth Writing" stamped on the side. Women are not expected to write or have thoughts to add to society- they should just be pretty to look at (exactly like those pens). As little as these pens may seem, I think they play a huge role in society in assigning gender roles. Women are not just the only victim, but men are hurt from this too. What happens if a little boy likes the pens on the right, but sees the "for Her"? How do you think he feels? 

These types of restrictions on society is what leads to the discrimination and stereotypes revolving around what it means to be a girl and a boy.

Another example, is this globe. I think this globe is a great metaphor for how the world is literally different for girls. The pink hues of each country and the smiling little girl hugging the globe to the side of the package makes me, ultimately, sad - how can women expect to be paid the same as men, when their taught that their world, and their role in it, is entirely different. 


  1. Hey Haley,

    Interesting blog here. It seems that you are really passionate about this topic! I definitely agree that companies are appealing towards or trying to appeal towards girls with those products, but is that really a bad thing? I think appealing to girls is a somewhat reasonable marketing tactic. Although, I do think that this type of marketing reinforces certain gender stereotypes for girls that might alienate girls who like different things.
    At the end of your blog, you said that women are being taught that their role is "entirely different" from men's roles, so I was wondering, what do YOU consider a woman's role and a man's role (in modern society)? To what extent do you think traits of traditional gender roles are justified for each gender?


    1. Hi David!

      Although we have made progressive leaps in changing the facade of gender roles - I still think the shadow of traditional roles still haunts our society through the small things - like commercials. Notice how laundry detergent or cleaning supplies mainly feature women actresses. Who do you think the advertisers are targeting? What are they saying about society?

      I don't think traditional gender roles can necessarily be justified because I believe that anyone can play any part in society- we shouldn't be constrained to a single role. For example, stay at home Dads are just as good as stay at home Moms!

      I hope I answered your questions! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Nice back and forth here! Yams, I think your analysis of marketing tactics is incisive, but like David, I wonder what the ultimate effect is. The biggest issue I have with this post is the Biblical references at the onset: there's some unsubstantiated claims regarding what Americans believe is the role of women, solely based on religion.

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