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Bic issues apology for 'think like a man' Women's Day post

11 August 2015 - 14:53 By Sunday Times
BIC SA posted this image on their facebook page on Sunday, igniting a storm of criticism. The company has since apologised for the post.
BIC SA posted this image on their facebook page on Sunday, igniting a storm of criticism. The company has since apologised for the post.
Image: facebook.com/BicSA

Every year on August 9, several brands jump on the bandwagon with their "Happy Women's Day" messages.

Sunday was no different. Bic South Africa shared the above 'empowering post' on their Facebook page.

Needless to say it didn't go down too well with people on social media.

Commenter Jes Graham wrote on the brand's Facebook page: "Why am I expected to look like a child? Why am I expected to see the world through a masculine lens? Why am I expected to 'think like a man' but not expected to act "like a man" on my so-called manly thoughts? There are so many different ways Bic could've celebrated women that don't try and dictate how women must live their lives. I'm disappointed."

Another comment, by Densua Mumford, reads: "Look like a girl? Because the infantilisation of women and the sexualisation of children is exactly the kind of blurred line we need! Act like a lady? Because narrow, straitjacket social scripts about 'proper' ladylike behaviour is precisely what emancipation was all about. Think like a man? Because women's thoughts are not worth knowing. Work like a boss? Whatever the hell that means. Bic, you are literally ruining Women's Day."

Twitter was also not impressed with the pic.

Bic went on to issue an apology on its Facebook page:

"We would like to apologise to all our fans who took offense to our recent Women’s Day Post. We can assure you that we meant it in the most empowering way possible and in no way derogatory towards women. We took the quote from a 'Women in Business' blog site. The blog site explains the quote and what its intentions were when it was written. BIC believe in celebrating women and the powerful contribution women make to our society."

The blog post came from a website called Spicy Broccoli, where the author, Sarah Taylor, breaks down the meaning behind the words:

"Thinking like a man aids you to achieve a professional standard in the business world. This is because women who know how to position themselves are more successful. Sheer nerve and real guts will get your further than talent, which is sad because those with real talent go unnoticed; but let’s face it, it is the truth.

"If you dress like a lady, but think like a man it's safe to say that you will not be mistaken in your field, it will show you are confident and know what you are doing, which is fantastic in running a business."

Unfortunately the company, Bic's apology hasn't been well-received on facebook.

Commenter Ashley Tshabalala's response got right to the point: "There's nothing empowering about degrading women."

Danielle Kate writes: "We are sorry we offended but are not sorry for our ad because it came from another website which means it's not really our fault. We say we are for the empowerment of women but our product range and consistent messaging around products for women reveals the exact opposite."

Another commenter who's not buying the apology, Mamarumo Mononela, responded: "And somehow you did not notice that the blog itself is filled with misogyniostic rubbish [sic]? Your ability to reason doesn't absolve you from responsibility. Also you need to apologise for offending us, not us for us taking offense. "We meant it in the best possible way" - Benevolent misogyny doesn't make it better either."

This isn't the first time Bic has faced accusations of sexism. In 2012 they brought out a line of pens 'For Her', which were met with contempt and made fun of by everyone from product reviewers on Amazon.com to talk show host Ellen Degeneres.



In the wake of the continuing fury over the post, and the initial apology, BIC SA has since removed the offensive post from facebook and gave the following apology:

"Hi everyone. Let’s start out by saying we’re incredibly sorry for offending everybody - that was never our intention, but we completely understand where we’ve gone wrong. This post should never have gone out. The feedback you have given us will help us ensure that something like this will never happen again, and we appreciate that."