"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pink Gun Oil

NOTE: Pretty much every link in this post is NSFW.

If you're not reading Erika Moen's new sex-toy review comic, Oh Joy, Sex Toy, you're missing out. (And, of course, if you haven't read her original memoir comic, DAR, you're doubly missing out.)  She recently reviewed her favorite lube, Pink Lube. Lube is a tricky, personal thing, and it was interesting to read about how much she likes this particular one.  One of Moen's strengths as a writer, especially as a person who writes about sex, is that she is fairly inclusive of various sexualities, genders, races, and body types, and she doesn't disappoint in her new comic about Pink lube.  But I'm not here to talk about how rad Erika Moen is--that would take up too much time.

I'm simply fascinated by the gendered marketing involved.  I went to the Pink site that she linked to (hey look, the comic WORKS, advertisers!), looked around a bit, and discovered that Pink is owned by Empowered Products, which also has a line of products marketed as Gun Oil.  Pink = for women, Gun Oil = for men.  Got it?  

Comparing the sites is a fascinating exercise in gendered advertising.

The logos:

The "Company Story":
Founded in 2001, Pink was created by Empowered Products Inc, an international sexual health and wellness company. Using the feedback and life experience of women, Pink was designed to offer a unique line of intimate lubricants that could be used safely and effectively by women who desired added lubrication for intercourse, toys and foreplay, and also to provide products women could feel confident and eager to use to increase intimacy with their partners or for their own personal pleasure. From intimate lubricants to arousal enhancers, Pink provides a selection of differing weights and uses of lubricants, so each woman can find the one that best meets the needs of her body. All Pink product packaging is presented in stylish feminine bottles that complement the bedroom and invite use by both partners.
Following a return from Kuwait, U.S. Marine platoon leader and founder of GUN OIL recalled soldiers using CLP liquid, that keeps firearms and other weapons clean and firing accurately, as a perfect personal lubricant when relief, better known as masturbation, was necessary to relieve stress. Knowing of CLP's long lasting properties, the founder greatly improved on this concept by changing the ingredients to a hypoallergenic, topically safe, user-friendly formula, ideally suited for heightening sexual pleasure when used for intercourse or personal use.
Working closely with scientists to come up with precisely the right look and feel, this team formulated a selection of unsurpassed GUN OIL products that always deliver a highly satisfying experience and elevate the vital expression of masculine fulfillment.
 I love that the "story" of the company for Gun Oil is about ONE MAN creating a company, and the story about Pink is that it was created FOR women, using "feedback and life experience from women".  At least the company story explains (kinda?) how lube for sex = GUNS. The sexualized-military stuff isn't hot for me, though I understand that I may not be their intended audience--it should be noted that Gun Oil is often marketed toward gay men (though this isn't really the case on their site).

 Also, apparently women want "education"...

While men want "Tecnical FAQs":

I'm not really bagging on Empowered Products --sounds like they make some awesome lube, and are marketing it toward men and women in the way that they think will make them the most money. I'm certain there are women who buy lube from the Gun Oil site (the silicone lube, which seems to be the same product, is available in greater quantities on the Gun Oil site, vs. the Pink site), and it's a positive step in a lot of ways to have lube marketed toward women; used to be lube was something you could mostly buy in a poorly-lit sex store, and now here is a site focused on selling products to women for their own pleasure. Can't complain there.  Also, I'll probably try the Pink lube because I like the packaging better than a big, penis-shaped fake bullet.  But still, I can't help but feel the the company is missing out on a bunch of us who would rather just buy lube.  Smitten Kitten does a good job of this--lube as lube for any gender.  And they sell Gun Oil and Pink lube!  Wouldn't it be cool if we lived in a world where the marketing of this stuff was more often as inclusive as Moen's wonderful comics? 

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