Bic For Her: Conclusion

It’s been a little while since the last Bic For Her Update. How’s it going?

I hate it. 

And, you know, I thought I would. But I think I hate it for reasons that I didn’t expect.

It’s not the pink and purple, it’s not the embellishment. It’s not what it says about marketing to women. 

It’s just a shitty pen. That’s it. It’s shittier than the normal Bic, shittier than the clear barrel Bic. It’s just a shit pen, nothing else to it. 

That’s why it’s been so hard to write anything about it. What’s there to say? The pen sucks balls. Or sucks ovaries or whatever. It’s garbage, a throwaway that’s totally unremarkable other than the fact that it’s such a marketing oddity. 

Writing about this pen, it’s like having a bag of diarrhea thrown in your face. It’s fun to talk about it right up to the moment when the bag of diarrhea is thrown at your face. When it’s almost at your face, there’s just not much to say about it other than, “Shit. This is gonna be bad.”

When you look at Bic For Her online, it’s funny and fun to talk about. But the actual product itself is so underwhelming. It arrives and there’s just nothing exciting or interesting about it. Hell, they could’ve at least given the little Bic mascot a bow and some lipstick, gone the Ms. Pac Man route and tarted the guy up a little bit.

So, I guess the only other thing to do is talk about the online reaction to the pen. Which I sort of loathe, but I guess what we need to do now is commit, wade in, and see what we find.


First, an article from Business Insider about the expense of Bic For Her, which is something I’d talked about before. Here are the comparisons from the article:

1. Bic Retractable Ball Pen, Medium Point, 1.0 mm, Assorted Ink Colors

BIC For Her Fashion Retractable Ball Pen: Pack of 2 Pens – $5.60 ($2.81 per pen)


BIC Velocity Retractable Colorful Inks Ball Pen: Pack of 4 Pens – $3.37 ($.84 per pen)

2. Bic Retractable Gel, Medium Point, .07 mm, Black Ink

BIC for Her Retractable Gel: Pack of 2 – $5.79 ($2.89 per pen)


BIC Triumph 537 Retractable Gel Medium Point Pen: Pack of 12 Pens – $10.68 ($.89 per pen)

3. Bic Cristal Ball Pen, 1.0 mm, Black

BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen: Pack of 16 – $7.61 ($.47 per pen)


BIC Cristal Stic Ball Pen: Pack of 12 – $4.11 ($.34 per pen)

This article came out in 2012, and I gotta say the numbers don’t ring true. Although I can’t say what the numbers were then, I can say that if I bought the most expensive listing of Bic for Her, mine would have been similar. But what I did is shop like I normally would and almost immediately discover that there is a cheaper listing. But let’s compare, then and now. 

What I found today? 

BIC For Her Fashion Retractable Ball Pen: Pack of 2 Pens – $4.34 ($2.17 per pen)

BIC Velocity Retractable Colorful Inks Ball Pen: Pack of 4 Pens – $9.75 ($2.44 per pen)

Now, the Velocity doesn’t seem to be something they’re pushing, and I don’t know that it’s still being manufactured. So I looked at a similar pen, something closer to the Bic for Her

BIC Atlantis (Fashion Colors): Pack of 3 Pens – $6.92 ($2.31 per pen)

These are interesting because the BIC Atlantis in “Fashion Colors” is clearly, like Bic For Her, marketed towards women. However, it’s not explicit. The pens that are marketed and designed with nearly the same aesthetic are slightly more expensive than Bic for her. Hmm…

2. Bic Retractable Gel, Medium Point, .07 mm, Black Ink

BIC for Her Retractable Gel: Pack of 2 – $4.59 ($2.30 per pen)


BIC Triumph 537 Retractable Gel Medium Point Pen: Pack of 2 Pens – $23.99 ($12.00 per pen), Pack of 12 Pens: $13.64 or $1.13 per pen. 

This one is interesting too. For starters, the original article compared a pack of 12 pens to a 2-pack. Anyone who has ever bought pens ever knows that the more you buy, the more you save. If you buy 12 537’s, you get them for about half the price of a For Her. But if you buy 2, you get them for FAR more. This is true of buying a 2-pack or a 12 of the exact same pen. The only Bic For Her I found in a 12-pack was listed for $50 bucks. 

And the original article, I have to say, does a little cherrypicking this way. You’ll notice the only time that like quantities are compared is on the final test. 

3. Bic Cristal Ball Pen, 1.0 mm, Black

BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen: Pack of 16 – $7.61 ($.47 per pen)


BIC Cristal Stic Ball Pen: Pack of 12 – $4.11 ($.34 per pen)

I couldn’t find a listing for Bic Crystal For Her on Amazon. So this one remains an unsolved mystery, I suppose, although it’s the least impressive in price difference when we’re talking about 13-cents per pen. 

What’s the deal with price? Let’s put it to bed.

Here’s what I think happened.


A)The price of Bic For Her was a lot different at the outset, which is entirely possible, and then the price dropped because of the bad press or because it just wasn’t a good seller, but any way you slice it, 5 years later the price of Bic For Her is pretty comparable to other pens


B)Someone wanted to write an article, like I wanted to, and was a little disappointed, like I was, because the point of how expensive these pens were just wasn’t really there. Like I said, this is what happened to me, so I identify. But I can’t help but feel that examples were picked to prove the point, not because they were truly equivalent.

What happened with the price, however, is less important to me than the question about economics. What is a pen worth? 

Wasn’t charging more for the same bullshit the whole point of Bic For Her? Or, maybe put another way, if they thought they could get Bic For Men sales, do we really think they wouldn’t have? 

What is a Bic For Her worth? Whatever someone will pay for it. 

Will someone pay for it?


Did the Bic For Her sell?

Better question, IS the Bic For Her Selling.

The answer is yes.

Bic For Her is #181 in its category on Amazon (basically, “ballpoint pens”). Which isn’t awesome, but it’s not too bad either. The Uniball Jetstream, a much nicer, somewhat comparable pen, is #207. Now, this is complicated because different listings for the same pen will have different rankings. For example, the Uniball Jetstream 2-pack has a completely different listing from the box of 12. This makes it mostly impossible to tell which pen is most popular because the available information is which pen in which quantity. You have to take these numbers with some pink, sparkly grains of salt.

Plus, my favorite pen, Tombow Zoom, is fucking #418! 

And look what I found near the bottom of the Top 100:

While these pens don’t explicitly say they’re “For Her” damned if they don’t look like they are of the same line of thinking.

This one is #58:

It has PURPLE INK. And sells itself on comfort. And someone is buying it.

The Bic For Her HAS to be the most hated pen in recent history. Seriously, how many pens do people even have opinions on? Other than those fucking PaperMate pieces of shit that they use at cash registers so you will have NO DESIRE to steal them. Those are ranked #4, by the way, which proves that the world is a cesspit hellhole.

And yet, being the most hated pen, Bic For Her is performing decently. 

The only thing I can extrapolate from this is that either a BUNCH of people order these as gags, which is probable, or that there is a decent market for these things.

How do I feel about that? Let’s get to it later.


Speaking of marketing, let’s look at some of the campaign materials, shall we?

I’m glad to see that the Cheetah Girls have landed on their (be-wedged) feet.

This one’s kind of hard to read, so I’ll re-write the captions here.

Avionne: Bold, chunky jewelry adds a little pop to an outfit.

Rachel: Even your hand held accessiories can add flair to a chic but simple dress.

Juanette: Add a skinny belt to sophisticated pencil skirt to accessorize!

Cenya: Fun and flirty patterns go great with bold accent colors.

May I re-caption these? Just for funsies?

Avionne: Is my hand on Rachel’s butt? You’ll never know.

Rachel: Why is there a wind that’s only affecting me?

Juanette: This is how buddies lay their arms on each other, right?

Cenya: Betcha didn’t think the white girl would have the weirdest name!

A lot of the backlash I saw online regarding this pen had to do with the fact that Bic was selling something on the premise that it was, I don’t know, a pen women could finally use. I think the interpretation had a lot to do with “Oh, this pen is smooth so my woman brain can understand it!”

But the above ad seems to be selling the pen as a fashion accessory. I mean, it doesn’t SEEM to be. It totally is.

Which I don’t really have a problem with. Seriously. I have a hard time seeing the issue there. Yes, there are issues with young women being inundated with fashion bullshit, but I don’t think I can blame Bic for hopping on that train without first implicating, I don’t know, the entire women’s clothing section at Target, or at least the parts with non-athletic clothing. The athletic part seems to be all about empowerment or something, or the version of empowerment that comes via Target purchases.

I guess, to me, the pen, as an object, is a little like the watch. It’s on the verge of being antiquated. I personally love having a pen and love having a watch, but I understand this isn’t the way things are moving. And so, the pen, which has been a utility item for a long time, has to become something else. You can’t use a fucking pen on your phone or computer, so the pen has to become something more than a useful tool, which is surely a metaphor for the modern world in some way, but I’m not going to figure it out. I’ve got pens to review!

The aforementioned watch has, for a long time, come in Men’s and Women’s. Women’s watches are generally smaller, more colorful, and more decorative. And yet, I don’t see a lot of complaints like, “Oh, finally a watch that allows me, a woman, to tell time. Thank goodness it’s lighter so I can lift my arm closer to my face while telling time.”

I mean, hello?

Read this in my outraged voice: So Bic for women is “silky touch” while Bic for men is “Sensitive?” What the fuck? You think I’m some kinda wuss that can’t handle having my face hairs ripped out by a crap razor?

…I think we may have missed the point. I mean, to my eyes, this portion of the campaign is not about saying girls have this and boys have that. It’s about turning something plain into something personal. You know, like we do with phone cases, keychains, bumper stickers, purses, wallets, basically everything. Do I want a pink phone case with jewels on it? No. Do I care if someone else wants it? Not really. Does someone else wanting it push the cause of feminism back a decade? Eh, probably not.

I’m not personally a fan of BUYING something to express your personality. But I do it, and so do you.

I didn’t stop my search for honesty in advertising there. I found more:

This ad, I suppose you could argue that the “all-day comfort” is a bit tampon-y. But I’m just not sure that the comfort grip is something specific to women. It’s all over all kinds of pens. Hell, one pen is called “Dr. Grip,” which sounds like a masturbatory aid, not a pen.

I had to dig hard to find this one:

Which at least says, “…adapted to women hands for maximise writing comfort and control.” But, again, when I look at the Facebook info, it appears that this ad is for Singapore. I have to be honest, that don’t impress me much. “For maximise writing comfort and control” isn’t exactly correct either, and for reasons that MS Word would pick up on. Do you think Word will ever build in a squiggly line that highlights errors of inequality and social justice? And if so, what color could they possibly use?

Finally, the commercial


This is pretty horrifying. Let’s just…guh.

The premise, girl walks into a school, doesn’t have a pen, a bunch of boys rush forward and offer their pens (somehow this sounds much dirtier when explained via words), but the only one she’s interested in is a Bic for Her proffered by the ballpoint head guy. Mr. Bic? Bichead?

If I’m in a nitpicky mood, sure. Couldn’t a young LADY have offered a pen? Couldn’t this young lady have been like a skateboard punk or something that likes pink stuff too? Couldn’t someone have been in a wheelchair? 

But I’m just a little over the ads for this stuff. Besides, I found this:

I think it really highlights the point here, which is that marketing is more stupid than it is evil.

Honestly, marketing, as a profession, is more like George W. Bush than it is Satan. I don’t think W. was wholesale evil incarnate. I think he was in WAY over his head. That’s what the W stood for.

I just don’t see how something like this could be produced without ANYONE saying “This seems like a bad idea,” so the only options are that they wanted to drum up controversy on purpose (kinda doubt it) or that they are just so goddamn dumb that they don’t know what they’re doing most of the time.

And the thing that really bothers me about it?

Yeah, so Stabilo writes THIS tweet, and we’re all supposed to be like, “Ah, Stabilo! Heroes of gender equality!” When the reality is “Ah, Stabilo! Willing to stab Bic with their own pink pens in order to make a buck off of Women’s Day.” Seriously, anyone who is making money off of Women’s Day is kind of an asshole. Anyone who is using a cause like women’s rights to SELL you something is not someone you should trust.

I mean, c’mon

Buying a Black Lives Matter shirt from some random company is bad enough. But that’s really your first choice of model? For a Black Lives Matter t-shirt? And what kind of asshole is selling these, really? “I understand there’s a movement afoot. How can we make a buck?”

Fuck off.


The next thing, I got curious. What about other pen companies? Surely this isn’t the first time a pen has been marketed to women.

Exhibit A:

Here’s the nib:

Now, it’s kinda hard to say whether this pen is for men or women, if I’m being honest. But what I will say is that I think the quote above about beauty is probably on the level of Bic For Her marketing if not worse. Not only is it demeaning, but it’s a load of shit. 

For the busy lady on her Macbook, opening her Etsy store. Cartier to the rescue! 

How about this one, the Cross Sentiment:

Gag me. Also, how fucking annoying would it be to write with that little charm banging around all the time? At least BFH is functional-ish. This pen is only used to sign over your daughter for marriage in exchange for 4 stout goats.

Sheaffer did a series based on gods. Hmm. See if you can guess which one is Aphrodite…

Here’s a couple PaperMate ads that appeared IN PLAYBOY!

I didn’t even GET the chinchilla thing until I realized that was a coat and that you could make a coat out of chinchillas. I suppose the fur is soft, but what the fuck, wouldn’t you have to slay like a thousand chinchillas to make a coat? That’s like making a coat out of hamsters. Or dalmations when they’re TINY. 

How about popular pen maker Swarovski?

How about another?

And then there’s the Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen

This pen is designed to double as a self-defense item that you can use to jab in someone’s neck or eye or whatever. Whatever you can reach to jab, I suppose. Aaaaand it’s purple as fuck. There are other colors, but those are presumably for men. Ladies, stay away. If you had a black tactical pen, an attacker would immediately recognize it for what it is. They’d say, “Why isn’t that lady’s pen pink!? Ah, it’s one of them tactical pens!” Then you’ve lost your element of surprise, and you’ll have to settle for jamming it into the attacker’s thigh instead of through his temple and into his brain.

Oh, and what list would be complete without

Yes. That’s not only a Barbie pen, it’s a refillable fountain pen. With Barbie on it. 

The only real difference I see here is that nobody seems to be saying that these pens are “for her” explicitly. Oh, and Ellen didn’t make fun of these on the television, so there’s not fun cause to jump on. 


Bic For Her is a shitty pen. No more shitty than other pens in terms of function. But it’s definitely the prime example of lipstick on a pig if I can be excused for using such a gender-charged analogy.

I guess I’ve landed on a few truths here, in the end.

  1. ALL marketing is doing this same thing. Any way to separate you from your money will be tried. Seriously. And marketers are like trolls. You just have to ignore them, don’t feed them anything, and move on. Because the story of Bic For Her spread the word about the pen WAY further than it would have gone otherwise. I don’t know how you address something without also promoting it, but let’s work on that one.
  2. In the brave new world where things aren’t gendered, people aren’t gendered unless they choose to be, and everything’s a spectrum, there is a place for Bic For Her. Maybe it shouldn’t be CALLED Bic For Her, but I do think there’s a place for a pink embellished pen. And I think that place is in the hands of anyone who wants it, and we shouldn’t be shaming people, women or not, who desire to use a pen we would call “girly.”
  3. We need a new word for things that we formerly called “girly.” What do we call this stuff? Because, like I said, I think it has every right to exist. Saying that it doesn’t means that a young boy who prefers a pink, fancy-looking pen will be in the exact same boat he was before, being told that he’s wrong to like what he likes. So, how do we continue giving people those “girly” options while divorcing the association? 

There you go. 

Tune in next time when we’ll be talking about the ubiquitous PaperMate shit pen.

One of my pet peeves is a truly crappy pen. You go to a restaurant, you have to sign a receipt, and you’ve got a cup full of shitty Papermates. Maybe, on the third one you pull from the cup, you’ll find a pen that actually does what it’s supposed to and leaves an ink line on paper. Novel concept for a pen.

There is only one purpose for pens like these: I need to have pens at a desk, and I don’t want them to walk away. If I make them shitty enough, nobody will want to take them.

This is why you go places and they’ve got fucking spoons taped to their pens, or they make them look like flowers in a flower pot. It’s not so I can sign with a huge flourish and rub a flower in my dumb face. It’s so I don’t accidentally pocket the pen. It’s like a new, different approach to that bank classic, the pen with the little chain attached to it.