Because they're worn by men, condoms have traditionally been marketed to men. But increasingly, women have been buying condoms since, for heterosexual couples, birth control is seen as a responsibility shared between men and women. And the stats are that (like cars) more condoms are bought by women than men—though you'd never know that from the way they are advertised or displayed in store, what with all the silly imagery, over-the-top names, and crazy color schemes in the drug-store aisle.
"Most condom purchases are made by women and they are being ignored in the condom aisle," Tania Frenkel, a former photojournalist-turned-condom-maker told ABC News. "Sex looks like an act of war. It doesn't resonate with modern men or women."
Two companies, both headed by women, are aiming to change that.
Frenkel's L Condoms (slogan: "Love naturally") are, according to the brand's site, "made with sustainably tapped high grade natural latex"; they are also vegan, packaged in a recyclable paper wrapper, and include glycerin- and paraben-free lubricants. The company's aim is to get condoms to high-impact areas in Africa where condoms are hard to get or prohibitively expensive via female social enterprise—training women as health workers and salespeople for condoms in their communities. (See L Condoms' video ad below—may be NSFW.)
Sustain condoms (which should be available starting in May) are made from natural latex at a fair-trade rubber plantation in India and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Meika Hollender, the founder of the brand (and NYU Stern School of Business grad) also pledges to use 10% of the company's profits to women's reproductive health and family planning services via a nonprofit, 10%4Women, which Hollender is going to run with her mother. (Hollender's father—and business partner—is Jeffrey Hollender, the CEO of Seventh Generation, the cleaning products company.)
"We don't want to just donate products," Meika Hollender told ABC News. "There's an educational gap if we just hand out condoms. We want to complete the whole circle providing education and the product."
With these two companies run by women—producing condoms that are marketed to women as being greener and healthier, the Trojans of the world have some catching up to do.
Related on MNN:
- Men offered $1300 to test male birth control pill
- Free birth control causes US abortion rates to plummet
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