The Truth Behind 'Men's Body Wash' And 'Women's Body Wash' Will Make You Feel Dirty

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Growing up, it was always blue toys for boys and pink toys for girls. Never mind that some girls like blue and there's no reason a boy shouldn't wear pink ... but I digress. Thankfully, after middle school, "boy stuff" and "girl stuff" isn't such a big deal, right? Ummm that's a big nope. I can't decide what's worse: that brands are making money off these tired gender stereotypes or that we keep buying into them.

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Esther: The world isn't black and white.

Both: It's pink and blue!

Zoey: And available at Australian Geographic.

Esther: From the moment we're born, it's frills for girls.

FeMale: Barbie flower floating fairy [music].

Zoey: And force for boys.

Male:G.I. Joe headquarters with electronic sounds, rapid fire gun, and blast action targets.

Esther: It's called market segmentation. The theory goes that dividing consumers up into smaller groups up is good for business and what easier way to divide humanity than by the junk between our legs?

Zoey: Esther don't confuse sex with gender.

Esther: And what easier to divide humanity than by the totally valid personal self identification as Male: or feMale:?

Zoey: It's actually gender spectrum.

Esther: And all things in between.

Zoey: But we actually don't want to get into all that.

Esther: We just want to know who's really paying for gender marketing?

Zoey: Is it me? It's me, isn't it?

Esther: You know, it hasn't always been this way. In fact, it used to be the other way around.

Male:: Pink, being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, was prettier for the girl.

Esther: By the early 1970's the split between boys toys and girls toys seemed to be eroding.

Zoey: Today, that's all changed.

Child: The companies try to trick the girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff that boy want to buy, right?

Esther: That's right, cute YouTube kid. They worked out that by segmenting the market into narrow, demographic groups they can sell more versions of the same toys.

Zoey: That why Lego ads used to look like this.

Narrator Build hotels, animals, people, boats, skyscrapers and more.

Zoey: But now look like this.

Narrator New Lego Friends. I just finished decorating my house. Time to chill with the girls. At the beauty shop, Emma is styled and ready to go.

Zoey: That move tripled the number of girls using Lego and scored the company a 25% increase in global revenue.

Esther: But market segmentation isn't just for kids.

Zoey: By making two versions of otherwise identical products, Celebrityslim can sell many more slim shakes and hairdressers formula can sell more hair pills and Gillette can sell more razors. And Cuddles can sell more Cuddle and fail.

Esther: And its not just trying to sell more. It's about trying to charge more too.

Zoey: Take this Bodyglide anti-chafe bar.

Esther: Triathlon lube. It's a thing.

Zoey: And its great for feet, thighs, and upper bodies.

Esther: But Zoey, we're ladies. We don't have upper bodies. We have feet, thighs and bras, which is why we need Bodyglide for her.

Zoey: Wait. Aren't our bras on our upper bodies?

Esther: Zoey, thats why our version costs nearly 60% more per gram than the original because according to Bodyglide, we ladies need a petite size product for carry along convenience.

Zoey: Because there's no way a woman could carry a normal Bodyglide?

Esther: And you don't have to be a lube using triathlete to feel the rube of gender marketing.

Zoey: It comes with everything from shaving cream and depilatory cream, to styling powder to eye gel and we might not even realize what's happening, because we only look at our section of the store and ignore anything that's not obviously for us.

Esther: And it's not just color. Companies also use...

Narrator: Shape, texture, packaging, logos, verbiage, graphics, sounds and names to find the gender of a brand.

Esther: Lighter colors, smoother edges, floral motifs, softer lines, they're for ladies.

Zoey: Whereas darker colors, harder lines, square shapes, and sciency type pictures are for men.

Esther: That's why this pastel pack of Tena incontinence pads for women features a pretty little flower made of wee drops.

Zoey: Whereas the men's pack has a grid and arrows on it and very specific measurements.

Male:: Ah, guy in the seven mil I see. Nice.

Esther: Now, market segmentation can backfire.

Zoey: Gender contamination is where a product is so strongly associated with one gender, the other gender refuses to buy it.

Esther: Why don't they just call it the cooties effect?

Zoey: Because we're grown ups.

Esther: Anyway, it's much easier to get women to buy men's stuff than it is to get men to buy women's stuff.

Zoey: Take Dove, when they entered the Male: skincare market they realized...

Male:: The name Dove lacked macho mystique, especially when rendered in slender italics and accentuated with a stylized bird logo.

Esther: Stylized birds are totally for pussies.

Zoey: So they're compensated by...

Male: Printing men plus care in stand up capitals and by the use of a battleship gray background.

Zoey: They even squared off the curves of the iconic Dove soap bar to give it a more manly appearance.

Esther: Surely dudes are too smart to fall for girly goop in drag.

Zoey: Nope, in one year they gained millions of customers in 30 countries with $150 million in sales, just by reminding men that...

Male: You're a man. A man!

Zoey: And Dove aren't the only ones.

Male:: For men! For men! For him! Men!

Esther: You'll also see products with really stupid men names to help encourage men to splash their men head.

Male:: Brotox, Brotox, Brotox! Guy liner! You can't buy candles, you need mandles! Meat and potato, gun powder, campfire smell and stripper's mouth.

Esther: But don't worry guys, you're not the only ones being patronized. A couple of years ago Fujitsu launched a computer for women. The floral kiss laptop for users with long fingernails came with scrapbooking and horoscope software, zirconium adornments and a floral motif. And for women who couldn't use a computer...

FeMale::Does anybody have a pen?

Esther: Bic brought out pens for her and today, we have Burgen bread for women's well being.

Zoey: Burgen call it this because they claim it may help maintain breast health. They don't mention men's well being despite also claiming that it may help maintain prostrate health.

Esther: Yeah, but no one wants to think about prostates when they're having a sandwich.

Zoey: Can't we just stop all this dividing people? Unilever found a way to bring the genders together and shaft them both.

Esther: To unileverage [SP] us. Their french brand Signal White Now toothpaste started out for the whole family, but then they launched a glittery gold version for women and followed up with a manish version for men because they said...

Male: It will contribute to driving the market up.

Esther: And it did, although slightly more for women. So that's all kinda depressing.

Zoey: But it's hard to be sad in this playpen.

Esther: Don't worry if you don't live in a playpen though. There are some other things you can do. Ask yourself, "Am I buying this just because it says it's for my gender?" It might be worth checking out the other half of the range.

Zoey: If you're willing to put up with gray packaging and straight lines.

Esther: And don't need a shampoo bottle to reassure you that...

Male: You're a man. A man!

Zoey: You could save a fortune.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

This video is from "The Checkout" which is an Australian TV show all about consumer affairs. If you don't live down under, you can check out their videos on YouTube and even send them a video complaint, which might inspire their next episode! Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.

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