Needlessly Gendered Products: Laxatives

Something I am fascinated by is the products we buy that are needlessly gendered (and for which women almost always pay more). So I am going to start a semi-regular, ongoing series examining the marketing and reasoning behind needlessly gendered products as I come across them in daily life.

Today’s entry is Duculax. I saw an ad that advertised Dulcolax and, now introducing, Dulcolax for Women with the always charming implication that regular (default, normal) Dulcolax is for men (who are, similarly, regular, default, normal) while us delicate flowers need our own Dulcolax. It even comes in a pink box!

product_image product_laxative_tablets_for_women_lg_new

                                                                         And I was so curious. What is it about our delicate constitutions that requires a specially formulated laxative? Is that our insides only like pink things? (That’s probably it.) So I did a very small amount of googling and found this informative blurb from the makers of Dulcolax:

Constipation affects women more often than men1. That’s why the makers of Dulcolax® have brought you Dulcolax® Pink Laxative Tablets for women.

Huh. Okay. So constipation affects more women than men. That’s in line with the overall greater preponderance of GI issues in women than in men. But is our constipation inherently different? Is that why we need a special formulation? So I looked at the ingredients lists. Huh. Same active ingredient, same amount. So I guess our constipation isn’t really that different. Wanting to know what they said about it, I looked at the FAQs and found this gem:

What is the difference between Dulcolax® Pink Laxative Tablets and Dulcolax® Laxative Tablets?

Dulcolax® Pink Laxative Tablets is formulated differently than Dulcolax® Laxative Tablets to the extent that their inactive ingredients are different. Dulcolax® Pink Laxative Tablets still contains the same efficacious, active ingredient bisacodyl, at the same strength as Dulcolax® Laxative Tablets.
Which made me laugh for about two straight minutes. Let’s break this down, Dulcolax Pink is formulated differently than Dulcolax–well, I’d hope so. Otherwise this is a weird, pandering, moneymaking scheme based in gender essentialist bullshit–to the extent that their inactive ingredients are different–oooh. Okay. So…this is a weird, pandering, moneymaking scheme based in gender essentialist bullshit. Because the active ingredient (bisacodyl) is the same. It’s the inactive ingredients, which account for bulk and colour, that are different. Basically, Dulcolax is gonna make you poop either way, but us sensitive ladies now have the option of pooping in style!
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