Link Love: Can A Pen Be Gendered?

Link Love

First, Laura and I have spent the week discussing where to put the information for the upcoming Toronto Stationery Show. Should we add it to the Pen Show Calendar? Should it get its own post? In the end we decided since it was pen-adjacent, I would add it to Link Love but then it didn’t seem to fit in any category except “Other Interesting Thing”. As I didn’t want and Torontonians to miss the post, I decided it would go UP HERE in the intro. The event is Sunday, April 30th so if you are in the Toronto area, you have time to make arrangements to attend, if this sounds interesting. Overall, I suspect the event will be more paper, stationery and journal focused based on the vendor list but who knows? If anyone attends, please drop me a line and let me know how the event was.

Now, for the Link of the Week topic: Gendered Pens. The Pelikan’s Perch put together a post related specifically to Pelikan’s tendency to gender pens. And by gendering pens, we are specifically talking about pens that have been “pinked and shrinked” and often tagged with “Lady”. With the exception of the Sheaffer “Pen for Men” this gendering of pens is almost always targeting women and thereby suggesting that all other pens are “not for us”. There are many people who might prefer a smaller pen or a pen in any color, be in black, pink, gold or rainbow, they do not have to specifically be women. While the shameless gendering of pens in the 50s and 60s now seems quaint, the fact that Pelikan is STILL DOING THIS in the 2020s is a bit — tone deaf.

Hopefully, having these discussions and addressing the (pink) elephant in the room will help to break down the stereotypes. People like all sorts of pens for all sorts of reasons, let’s not unnecessary labels on pens anymore.

(I realize by saying this I may have just made all the Lady Sheaffer Skripserts in the world exponentially more expensive as the collectors market has alwyas undervalued these pens because they are small and “girly”.)

Link of the Week:



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Pen Shows:

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have comparatively small hands. I like to the point that it might be said that I collect small or “pocket” pens. I love Kawecos, Japanese pocket pens, and Majohn Wancai Minis. With vintage pens I’m not bothered by the “Lady” designation. Usually it is in fact a fair indicator of something that I might like. With modern pens I haven’t seen it, so I think that the manufacturers got your memo.

    1. Margot, I’m with you. I have baby-sized hands. I love the smaller pens. I also have a massive collection of Lady Sheaffers. I just hope that, going forward, companies will continue to make small pens but just call them “small” or “pocket” and words that describe its size.

    1. oh, Mary! I’m so sorry. That header was made several years ago and I don’t remember what ink I used to create it!

  2. The argument is that there should not have been products marketed specifically to women in the past? We shouldn’t fall into the Presentist trap of viewing what was done almost 90 years ago through the lens of today.

    1. Travis, you clearly didn’t read my comment to the Pelikan’s Perch post. I am not presentist-ing anything. Pelikan is still doing this.

      1. No, they are not. The M600 Pink was made 8 years ago and they’ve done nothing like it since. The original article even admitted you had to go back decades in their catalogs before there was another example.

      2. Pelikan might be a bit tone deaf, but their gendered pens do sell really well and it’s mostly because there are more women buying those than their regular ones. I can’t really fault them here, companies are doing this because it still sells and not because they’re stuck in 60s or want to push some political or social agenda.
        I also think there are plenty of pens and other products clearly marketed at males, it’s just that the respective wording and advertising approach is slightly different, but again that’s based on what sells and there are differences between the sexes when it comes to that.

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