Colgate is being ridiculed for selling toothpaste especially for men.
The corporation has labelled its Colgate Max White toothpaste as “powerful stain removal for whiter teeth - for men”.
Twitter has been having fun with it. "LADIES do NOT buy this!" wrote one Twitter user. "This is for MEN. The peppermint is TOO powerful for our fragile feminine teeth & lady mouths."
But there is a serious point here. Corporations target everything from chocolate and scissors to pens and ear plugs by gender. They’re doing it to sell more products -- but, at the same time, they’re reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes that benefit nobody. Will you tell Colgate to think again?
Come on, Colgate, stop being ridiculous. Stop selling toothpaste “for men”.
Teeth don’t differ significantly across gender. The only reason to target toothpaste specifically at men is to sell more toothpaste. Colgate wants to raise the question in male shoppers’ minds: is normal toothpaste is too feminine for me?
And by doing that, Colgate has joined the swathes of corporations exploiting gender stereotypes as a marketing ploy to boost their own profits.
Stereotypical ideas about masculinity, femininity and binary gender roles are damaging to everybody. They put huge pressure on all of us to conform to roles defined by somebody else. And increasingly, it’s corporations that are defining those roles -- from telling us which toys we’re allowed to play with as children to telling us which toothpastes we should be using as adults.
So on the one hand, yes, it’s only toothpaste! But on the other, it’s part of a much wider problem with the way corporations are trying to define who we’re allowed to be. Let’s tell Colgate we’re not buying it. Let’s tell Colgate to stop exploiting gender stereotypes for profit.
Colgate: Scrap the unnecessarily gendered products.