Most ads for products are cheesy, ridiculous, or insulting as it is. But products specifically targeting women are often uniquely terrible, and this may ring true, in part, because those products are often designed or marketed entirely by men. But how can that still be the case?
In a piece at HuffPo that looks at the prevalence of all-male teams helming companies that make products for women, we learn that until recently, all-male teams marketed products at Kimberly-Clark, who own Kotex, Huggies and Kleenex brands (P.S.: A woman, Marion Donovan, invented the disposable diaper). That is why we have been privy to a lifetime of blue liquid, precious feels, and monochrome white to show how awesome and inspiring it is to have a period ever month. Kimberly-Clark CEO Tom Falk recalls realizing that it just wasn't going to cut it to not have women involved in the process:
"If you've got a group of all men, and women are half of the population and are buying all of the products, how can you say we have the very best team?" Falk told The Huffington Post recently.
Yes, women can invent hilariously bad products for women, too (Cuchina, Booty Pop). And so the world turns. But we wondered what sort of products might exist (and not exist) if female-targeted product makers such as Kimberly-Clark, Avon, Target, Sears, and others had greater parity in terms of female involvement in the design or marketing of their products. At the very least, marketing ads might be less likely to condescend or outright offend. At the very most, we would have a lot better things.
Would Not Exist
Standard non-rounded cardboard tampon applicator (ow)
Scented feminine products that make your vagina smell like period + baby powder
The scent Freesia
Pink women's tools
Pink women's razors
Commercial featuring a woman serving dinner or doing laundry for at least the next 10 years, unless woman's role is a clear subversion of traditional approach.
The ePad Femme (tablet for wimmin)
Tampon ads (minus Hello Flo)
Other pointlessly gendered products, like Kleenex for men.
NO MORE INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGES ON PRODUCTS FOR LADIES. Nice try, but our tampons do not need to say "Keep your eye on the ball."
Throw pillows covered in beads
Washable kid's clothing
THROW PILLOWS MUST BE WASHABLE
Easier to dispense kid's medicine that could be measured, dispensed in the dark, without dyes that stain when kid inevitably spits them out (As my friend says, "Let's dye the Tylenol red because kids will think it tastes better!" — a man)
Standardized clothing sizes for women
Makeup that does not explode while on airplane
Free FAA-approved travel size of every beauty product over 1 oz. automatically included in purchase
Better mammograms (There would be something to test for abnormalities that did not require flattening your boob into a pancake.)
Better vaginal exams (Would happen less often and without using freezing cold metal shoe horn.)
Better lactation devices (less torturous, easier to haul, quieter)
Standardized bra sizes. Bras should be sold like the way Carmax sells cars, OK? No pressure, maximum information, and ridiculously friendly. Companies would make bras easier to identify by size and desired function rather than how it currently works, which is you basically go to a store and pick which kind of sexy you want to be — sporty sexy, baby sexy, spicy sexy, Will Give Hand Job, etc. — then try on four thousand bras because who the hell knows what size fits you in this brand.
Fewer ridiculously sexist ads, some of which obviously thought they were being useful.
And finally, perhaps most importantly:
The ability to still order any discontinued beauty product (eyeshadow, lipstick) for a year post-production, with adequate notice, and guidance toward choosing a replacement item.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby.