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Posted at 01:16 PM ET, 08/29/2012

Bic “lady” pens unleash Amazon snarkfest

Sixty years ago, you might have read a glowing review of the Bic For Her ballpoint pens in the Washington Post women’s section. But now since those lady pages have gone the way of the dodo, you can read those glowing (or is that “flaming”?) reviews on Amazon instead:
(Amazon screenshot)

Sign your name across my heart: “This is the best. pen. ever. I’ve only used it so far to write my first name alongside my boyfriend’s surname over and over and over and over... “ — Joanne

And:

Revolutionary article - must buy!: “My mother, a hard-working woman who raised twelve kids single-handedly whilst doing all the ironing (as nature intended), was furtively abashed by her illiteracy. Long would she gaze upon her husband and sons’ scrawlings and would dedicate five minutes a day (which she really should have spent making sandwiches) to pray that one day she would be granted the ability to create such scribbles of her own. She’s still a little slow on the uptake, but this product has definitely helped start the ball rolling. We tried to give her men’s pens but she used to rip the cartridges out and drink the ink. Typical woman.
Anyway, it’s good that BIC are finally doing something to aid the plight of women. Hopefully a range of ‘for her’ paperclips is on the horizon - my wife has an awful time keeping her recipes together.” — Jonny

Yep, Bic is being trolled hard by fake Amazon reviews, and it’s brought them that unique combination of shame and free publicity that only an Internet prank can achieve. Customers began reviewing the lady pens for delicate lady hands about two weeks ago, and hundreds of people have piled on with hilarious reviews ever since. This incident follows the pink Lego debacle of April, which was not addressed with nearly as much humor.

Bic’s real mistake wasn’t making pink and other pastel pens, it was explicitly labeling them “for women.” There are plenty of products that don’t raise anyone’s hackles because we’ve grown accustomed to the gendered colors, for better or for worse, since birth. Pink video game controllers. Pink sports jerseys. Pink guns. These products get women’s blogs riled up, but for most people, they slide under the radar. Only when the obvious is stated, as Bic did — this pink stuff is for girls! — are people annoyed enough to bombard a page with snarky fake reviews. Unlabeled pink pens? No one would have noticed.

But we’re glad they did, because otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten the chance to read some of the funniest Amazon reviews of all time. Like this one:

No good for man hands: “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.” — daveyclayton

By  |  01:16 PM ET, 08/29/2012

 
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