Changing the name of Kleenex tissues is not a groundbreaking achievement for feminists
Gender equality is more than Kleenex
Kleenex are changing the name of their "Man Size" tissues to "Extra Large". After hearing this, I breathed a sigh of dismay.
Why, in the world of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and transphobia, are we so worried about the name of tissues?
This seems like an incredibly menial step in solving some of the larger problems we face today.
Lisa Hancox tweeted back in October, calling out Kleenex for their "Man Size" tissues branding, explaining that her son had asked whether "girls, boys and mummies" could use them. Whilst this four-year-old's critical analysis of gender-based biases in consumerism is a fair point, there are more important things we should be worrying about.
It's not like the tissues are really conforming to masculine ideals. Soft and strong? That sounds like a bog-standard tissue to me. Unlike razors, shampoo and other essentials, they're not comparing the "man-sized" tissues to anything, there is no pink, flowery, and smaller "woman-sized" tissues. So, what's the big deal?
Hi @Kleenex_UK. My 4yo son asked me what was written here. Then he asked, why are they called mansize? Can girls, boys & mummies use them? I said: I don’t know & yes of course. He suggests you should call them “very large tissues”. It is 2018 pic.twitter.com/SeOg32RsDV
— Lisa Hancox (@LisaMHancox) October 10, 2018
Honestly, the whole argument felt like a joke to me, especially the fact that a tweet with only 1K retweets could change a whole branding of a multi-million dollar corporation. But okay, it's an easy way for a company to show that they're striving for gender equality.
Corporations will do the very least to show they care, and changing the name is the most inexpensive way to present a front of gender equality, using it as basically a fashion statement to get more people buying Kleenex.
In terms of gender equality, there are more important battles to be fought. For instance, the shocking reality that only one in 14 rapes are reported, with 42 per cent ending in conviction. On top of this, people are still putting up transphobic stickers around Edinburgh, and across other cities in the UK.
If we lobbied companies and governments to sort these out, then maybe we would make more substantial breakthroughs for feminism. Kleenex are doing the very least, if anything, for gender inequality, and shouldn't be giving themselves a pat on the back, when their branding was poor taste from the start.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the change in perceptions of "feminine" and "masculine" products, and I'm also annoyed that some men refuse to use "girly soap" or "girly shampoo" in fear of being "too feminine". And, obviously I'm annoyed that I still get paid less simply due to my gender, but these issues are totally separate than simply the name of one product.
If we're really going to fight against the patriarchy, then we're better off talking to our friends, educating people, and lobbying the government. But please, don't get preoccupied with something as trivial as the name of Kleenex tissues.