Culture Jam Assignment

Original Advertisement:

         Throughout history, women have been told that they belong in the kitchen, are delicate and weak, and inferior to men. These remarks are outdated and our society is beginning to acknowledge this. However, BIC has reinforced these stereotypes in their controversial pen set called “BIC For Her,” which is marketed towards western upper-class women, promoting sexism intersected with classism. Firstly, BIC’s pen set implies that up until the launch of this product, women did not use pens. This sends the message that every other pen designed in the past was created for men. This is extremely problematic as pens symbolize intellect, and these pens suggest that women had nothing significant to write about in the past. Also, the “BIC For Her” pens are 70% more expensive than regular BIC pens (BusinessInsider). The high price indicates that “BIC For Her” pens are marketed towards upper-class women who can afford to pay extra for “stylish” pens. Therefore, this implies that lower-class women do not need pens, and therefore do not have intelligent thoughts. Furthermore, in western culture, pink and purple have been socially constructed as female colours. These colours are seen as dainty and delicate in society and these pens further categorize women with this colour. Colours should not be gendered and these pens suggest that if you identify as a woman, than you love pink and purple. Moreover, the pens are marketed as “stylish” and “elegant” with little information about the function of the pens, indicating that BIC believes females are more concerned with appearance than function. This further encourages outdated female stereotypes that females value appearances over anything else. Further, it is problematic that the lead is only “1.0 mm,” suggesting that women need smaller lead because they have less to write about than men. Lastly, the fact that the pens have a “grip” meant “for all day comfort” indicates that regular pens are too rough for women and they need “soft” pens to manage, which further reinstates old misconceptions that women are delicate and weak.

Jammed Advertisement:

         In my “jammed” version of the “BIC For Her” advertisement, I wanted to showcase the apparent sexism and classism in the pen set. I wrote the phrase “to write her grocery list,” added a picture of a stereotypical woman in the 1950s and wrote “only women with lots of money can write.” Firstly, I chose to input the phrase “to write her grocery list” along with the picture of the woman from the 1950s, because I believe they encompass just how ridiculous the message behind this pen set is. Throughout history, women have been told they belong in the kitchen. They were told this because it was believed that a woman’s sole purpose in life was to care for her husband by cooking and cleaning. This concept is outdated and our society has made much progress over the years. Therefore, my alteration should invoke the fact that just like the concept that women belong in the kitchen is outdated, so is the concept behind this pen set. The phrase “to write her grocery list” is in line with their pen sets message that women have nothing significant to write about, which is suggested in their marketing as the pen is described as “elegant,” “soft,” “stylish,” and only “1.0 mm” lead size. These descriptions merely indicate that the pens are visually appealing and can write with small font. Therefore, the phrase and image that I added highlight the fact that BIC believes that when women are in the market for pens, they are not looking for high functioning pens to write down intelligent thoughts, but are looking for visually appealing pens to write down mindless ideas such as their “grocery list.” Further, I replaced the phrase “more for your money…always” with “only women with lots of money can write,” to highlight the absurdity of the high costs of these pens. This phrase essentially mocks the fact that if BIC believes they have created the first pen for women, then their high prices indicate that only upper-class women can write, meaning lower-class women cannot write. 

Work Cited:

“BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct (MSLP16-Blk) › Customer Reviews.”

         Amazon, Amazon,

Felix, Samantha. “PROOF THAT PENS ARE SEXIST: Bic Charges More For Ballpoints

Targeted At Women.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 28 Aug. 2012,

“‘Only a Housewife.’” Sentenced to Everyday Life : Feminism and the Housewife,