I don’t know whether to be intrigued or insulted by Honda’s new “She’s” car – a variation on the brand’s Fit model, with a windshield that prevents wrinkles by blocking 99% UV rays, heated seats and a “Plasmacluster” air conditioning system that pumps specially treated air into the ride to improve the driver’s skin quality.
Which are all good things, except that Honda does not seem to have caught on to the concept of men and women having the same reaction to the sun and (wonder of wonders!) the ability to use something like a car in the same way! So, a car specifically made “for women”… does it sound patronising only to me? Also, considering that there are no cars “for men”, the implication is that everything to this point has been made for men. Until now. Please feel free to take a sigh of relief at your convenience.
Sarcasm aside, super-UV-blocking windshields would be a terrific way to prevent skin cancer – for both women and men. So, why make a distinction? And even if you were to have a women-focussed marketing strategy, why not sell this feature as a health benefit? As Glamour put it most succinctly, “Do the folks at Honda think women are so dumb or frivolous that the best way to market automobiles to them is as a super-pricey form of skin care?” [And at $17,500 it’s quite a price – they could have at least made it cheaper considering that we little women usually earn less than men and all that!]
As for the flagship colour, it can’t be anything but baby pink… right? [*insert cheers and claps*] After all, isn’t that the favourite colour of anyone with a uterus? So, the car has a pink exterior and pink interior details, including pink on the steering wheel, dashboard and floor mats. Oh! And in case it still wasn’t clear enough that this car is aimed at women, the apostrophe on “She’s” has been replaced with a little pink heart. [*Heaves*]
You are a freak of nature and don’t like pink? No worries! A Honda executive assured the Yomuri Shinbun newspaper that for ladies who don’t love pink, there were several other shades – like ‘Eyeliner Brown’ – to “match their eyeshadow”. Seriously?
One would think that Honda might have taken a look at the past and saved itself the bother. After all, there is already a long and embarrassing history of automakers attempting to lure women with ladies-only models. In the early 1900s, they tried marketing electric cars to wives with the promise that a lack of hand-crank starting would avoid broken shoulders and/or death. Then in 1955 and 1956, Chrysler came up with the La Comtesse and La Femme respectively – cars fully packed with female accessories including a matching rain hat, purse and a lipstick storage space. The models went out of manufacture almost instantly in 1957.
But that wan’t the end of it: At the turn of this century, Ford showcased a concept Windstar minivan featuring a compact washer/dryer, microwave and vacuum in the rear hatch. Because, after all, why would “mommy” ever want to be parted from her appliances?
Honda’s She’s is currently exclusive to the Japanese market. So, if you want one, you will have to tug your hubby’s sleeves till he grants you permission to make the long and scary journey to Japan and then gives you a little money to indulge your sweet heart’s desire.
Sometimes, all I can do is shake my head.
PS: Patronising BS aside, would you be more interested in a car if it came with health features? What would you really want?