Stop Marketing Pink Things to Women

While it seems like we're all living in a man's world, thankfully there are earplugs designed for the "unique contours" of the female ear. Research has found that the female ear canal is on average 2mm shorter than a man's. This isn't all that surprising, since on average men are taller than women, so it makes sense that their body proportions would scale accordingly. The average ear canal is 2.5 cm in length, so the difference between men and women on average is 8%. Ladies, raise your hand if you're measuring an 8% difference in foam ear plugs as you insert them? That's what I thought, no hands. Looks like those "unique contours" are just made up.

What doesn't make sense is the stores like Walgreens, Amazon, and Cabela's, sell pink ear plugs "just for women". Maybe these ear plugs were designed to account for that 2 mm difference, but it's doubtful that a factory churning out cheap pieces of plastic has that level of quality control. And it's also doubtful that consumers are checking their ear plugs proper installation down to the 2mm increment. But what if men accidentally wore these ear plugs? The only warning on the Walgreens package is "Keep away from infants". Men are not infants, so in theory these ear plugs can protect their ears too.

Could it be these enticing pink pieces are all a marketing trick? To go along with the sensitive emotions of women, they may not want to hear things, like their snoring partners. This is just another way for corporate America to tell women that they are the problem. The marketing message is if women don't like listening to their partner snore, it's not the partner's fault, it's theirs. Therefore, women should fix their aversion to a sound that keeps them awake during the night with the Sleep Pretty in Pink earplugs.

I wish I made up the name, but the Sleep Pretty in Pink earplugs do exist, and the product description starts with "Cute, pink ear plugs ..." Really, the first word of your sales pitch is "cute"? Is her snoring partner judging her on the color of ear plugs as she sleeps? No wait, if the partner is snoring, he or she is totally asleep and it's just the women with ear plugs left to whip out a mirror and ensure her cuteness is maximized. That's right ladies, you don't even get to rest on the beauty standard, even when it's time to sleep. I bet the same beauty standards hold true for your partner, oh wait, you mean the snoring machine next to you? Guess your partner gets a pass.

The good news is that women aren't falling for this type of marketing in other products. You can't just dye rubber foam pink and label it with "ladies you need this." A few years ago I went to a technical presentation at the Society of Women Engineers conference where Gillette presented on how their women's razors were designed and tested. It all came down to the differences in the mission of the razor. Women's razors are designed to care for shaving surfaces up to 18 times larger than men's razors. Also the hair tends to be different when it grows in different areas of the body. What stood out to me about Gillette's presentation is that they took what was once a razor just painted pink and purple and made solid engineering design choices to make it fit the task better.

Ear plugs for men and women can vary a measly 8%. Razors have a 1,800% larger mission area, and have specific design features that are different for women. Until specialists can prove to us that women have anatomically different ears, and therefore need different ear plugs, we are faced with the shame that corporations who design and sell these pink foam lies consider women foolish enough to fall for their tricks. #PinkDoesntMakeMeBuyIt