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April 12, 2022

“A girl-size hand needs a girl-size pen.” – Parker Ad, 1965

A product designed for women that’s functionally as good and costs the same? Despite the language of the advert, that’s pretty impressive. “A girl size hand needs a girl-size pen” was the pitch for this Parker pen advertisement.

The big bosses of Parker Pen Company were probably giving each other pats on the back, thinking they just created an amazing product with the Compact Jotter, a dainty luxury pen that was supplied with the same amount of ink as their regular pen and can write up to 80,000 words without refilling.

Perhaps the new product was fine—considerate even. Until they kept comparing girls’ girl-sized hands with their man-size Jotter. They just implied that women are smaller and weaker and should be given a miniature version of a man’s pen because they cannot handle the standard man-size Jotter. This ad did nothing to help promote gender equality.

Moreover, it’s just a pen. It’s already a small thing, to begin with. The women had handled bigger and heavier tools when they helped win World War II.

“That’s little enough for a pen…” also sounds awfully patronizing.


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