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[LISTEN] Why 'gendered' products might not be as ridiculous as they seem

25 September 2019 5:30 PM

A new study claims using products which are overtly masculine or feminine increases your desirability to the opposite sex.

When BiC released its line of 'For Her' ballpoint pens, comedian Ellen DeGeneres didn't waste any time highlighting just how ridiculous this particular branding strategy was.

Really? Pink and purple pens, just for women? It's madness, right?

Well, apparently not. According to a new scientific study, using products which are overtly masculine or feminine actually does increase your desirability to the opposite sex.

The piece was published in the Journal of Business Research.

After a series of tests, conducted on about 400 men and women, researchers came to this conclusion:

“Gendered products act as flashy signals towards the opposite sex, exaggerating signals of femininity or masculinity and influencing the way the opposite sex perceives the physical appearance of their owners”.

In other words, by surrounding themselves with gendered products, men and women send stronger signals of femininity or masculinity to the opposite sex.

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler took a closer look at the study.

Both men and women who owned gender-typical products were imagined to have nicer bodies than their gender-atypical competition, the researchers concluded.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

These findings suggest that consumers may strategically purchase gendered products to increase their physical attractiveness and overall desirability.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Drinking out of an obviously feminine mug acted as a supernormal stimulus in much the same way as breast implants, make-up and high heels, they argued - “they signal exaggerated femininity to increase the physical attractiveness of their owners, and to increase desirability.”

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Knowler says that research on whether this applies outside of heteronormativity is sparse.

Listen to the full conversation below:


25 September 2019 5:30 PM

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