Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finally, a car just for women!

There are a lot of products on the market "just for women." Some of them are necessary such as, you know, tampons. Some of them are kind of necessary like just for women back packs that have a narrower strap so they don't pinch your side boob when you're hiking. The rest of "just for women" products are basically useless and exist to grab cash from women, who will apparently pay extra for something stamped with a flower or something that smells like a tropical rain forest under their armpits.

Some of my least favorite products for women include anti-perspirant (because you actually can't buy deodorant for women) which I wrote about here : "Because nobody wants to be with a girl who is careless about her underarm odor." The ad campaign for this particular product (which is a "motion sensor underarm anti perspirant) wanted to remind women how much they move by making them wear jingle bells on their wrists all day. Shudder.

There's also the new Bic for Women! A pen designed specifically for a woman. I haven't written about that at all, partly because I was away and partly because I was just like fuck that, I'm not writing about a pen for women.

Another product I can't stand are razors for women. In "Gillette: the choice of women, girls, and pedophiles everywhere" I looked at how this craze for women's products is starting younger and younger and how women's products mainly just capitalize on sexist fears around women's bodies. Hey, 12 year old girl, better shave those legs unless you want someone to think you re DISGUSTING. Right?

There are trillions of products for women that are pink. Pink computers, pink phones, pink headphones. You  name it, there's a pink one for the ladies. Superfluous, unnecessary, transparent, and sexist are basically all of the words that come to mind when I see any "for women" product and today I came across a new one: The new Honda She's, a car for women.


The website is in Japanese, so you'll have to use the translate function but here's the general gist of it: this is a car just for ladies. Ladies who don't work. Ladies who use their cars to jet off to the coast and buy flowers in their pink skirt. Ladies who want "adult-cute".

What are the special "women only" functions of the new Honda She's? Well She's' trim is all pink, pink stitching, it has a pink interior, but it can also be bought in 'eyeliner brown'.The really annoying thing about this car is that the windshield blocks 99% of UV rays and they've created a new AC system that is meant to improve air quality within the vehicle. Why would that possibly be annoying?  Air quality and UV rays in a car are serious issues but the Honda She's isn't interested in anything serious (how could She? She's a lady after all) and these new features are sold as being "anti-aging." Anti. Aging. Car. Apparently women don't care if the UV blocking windshield protects their skin or eyes, they'll buy it because they're told it will guard against premature wrinkling. And the new AC system isn't touted for its allergen decreasing, pollution halting filters but rather for "improving" your lovely porcelain skin.

If you want a pink car, that's great. Go buy yourself a car and get it in pink. Spend the extra cash and even get some pink trims if you feel like it. Cars are just like any other personal product and people want (and should be able to) customize them however they want. This isn't about pink. It's about how companies target women using sexist stereotypes about what women want. As a woman who drives a lot I don't want a car that everyone is going to stare at. When I used to have to drive in Northern Ontario on lonely isolated highways, surrounded by big trucks, I wouldn't have wanted to have a pink fucking car that looked like a blown up toy because that just seems unsafe to me.  I don't want a car with a sassy trim. I want a car that has a seat belt that doesn't cut my arm because I'm petite. I want a car that has an airbag that isn't going to cut my head off because I weigh under 120lbs. I would love a car that had an AC system that increased air quality and I would love a car that had UV protection in the windows, because those are things that everyone would want. Driving is serious. Being a driver is serious. Have a nice car, add some personality to it, but this ad campaign makes it seem like women drivers don't need safety features and also that they don't exist in the world of actual driving.

I have read pretty  much every review of the She's that's been written so far and not ONE of them mentions a single safety feature. Normally when a new car is released the reviews focus on the exciting aesthetic features, the comfort, the luxury but I have never read a car review that didn't mention a safety feature at all. This is why I don't like products for women. When you buy a car you should know everything about it. You should like how it looks, how it feels, and you should understand how it works and how it's going to keep you safe. Different cars are safe for different terrains. Some cars aren't good for certain areas. Some cars are designed for cities, some for country. If all of the reviews of this car (and the website) ignore the features of a car that would normally be selling points what it's saying is that women who are going to buy this car ONLY care what it looks like and in the world of cars that should never be encouraged. Buy this pink car because you're a lady and ladies love pink! All you need to know is that it's soooo cute!! Who cares about anything else? Caring about safety will give you wrinkles! Is the seatbelt actually just a silk ribbon that you can tie into a pretty bow? Maybe the airbag could just be a gigantic powder puff. Perfect!

Women are not children. A pink car for women, whatever. But a pink car for women that only publishes anti-aging features and trim colour infantilize women and sets a dangerous precedent not only for acceptable ways that companies can sell cars to women but the kinds of cars they can sell to women. 

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