Condoms are useful, but they're associated less with convenience and more with bros in bars, bodegas and college basement giveaway boxes. Women who carry them often face bullshit pushback. Several companies are attempting to make the old French letter friendlier to the ladies, but the question is whether it'll ever catch on.
Take this DNAInfo story about Brooklyn's Janice Chan, who spotted an opportunity and created the Plan A Case, a line of discreet, stylish containers for your condoms that're still small enough for a purse:
"Here's a product that addresses the fact that there are educated young women who like to meet people and sometimes hook up with them, but also like to have options and maintain control," said Chan, 28, a former employee benefits and compensation lawyer.
"It says, 'Many of us have a fear of having condoms fall out of our purses or pockets. Why should we feel this way?'" Chen said.
There's nothing wrong with the idea, exactly, and even the most sex-positive gal probably doesn't want a bunch of condoms spilling out of her bag every time she goes to get Chapstick. The stigma is real, and who wants to deal with that crap? Not to mention carrying condoms has been known to get you pegged a sex worker by the NYPD. (There's also the simple fact that those foil packets take a beating in the bottom of your purse.) There's certainly some demand, as Chen was able to raise $12,577 for the project on Kickstarter and is currently taking preorders.
But the wallets are just a tad reminiscent of those tampon holders everyone thought were necessary in middle school. A few years of everyone menstruating and forget that, who needs one more piece of crap to carry in her bag? And at $28, the Plan A Case is not cheap.
It's not the only attempt to make condoms cooler for the ladies, though. There's Lovability Condoms, which are packaged more like luxury cosmetics; the plan is to sell them in channels like lingerie and department stores. L. Condoms goes all-natural and sends condoms to a developing country for every purchase. Their marketing push included this video, all about how dudes should be more thoughtful in their condom buying:
Clearly, several people see a market niche that isn't being exploited. And why shouldn't condoms be friendlier to women? It's lower commitment than the pill, and God knows it's nice to have a no-hormone alternative. But condoms have been around forever, and no one's managed to make the HEY LADIES pitch work. Clearly, these companies have a hell of a cultural hill to climb.
Photo via Plan A Case.