Man Down: Man-Size Tissues No More

What is in a name?

For the past 60 years, when faced with a sneeze or perhaps a manly “eye-water,” gents in the U.K. could reach for a Kleenex “Mansize” facial tissue.

Alas, no more.

Kimberly-Clark, which owns Kleenex, is rebranding Mansize tissues as “Extra Large” after some customers complained the product’s name was sexist. A company spokesman said that the tissue seller does not believe the name Mansize “suggests or endorses gender inequality” but that Kimberly-Clark would change the name anyway.

The spokesman said the company received negative feedback about both the product’s name and tagline. Each package described the larger-sized tissues as “confidently strong, confidently soft with a touch of silk.”

“Kimberly-Clark in no way suggests that being both soft and strong is an exclusively masculine trait,” the spokesman said. Apparently, the company received no complaints about gender-stereotyping the phrase “touch of silk.”

In 1956, the larger tissues were launched as a disposable alternative to pocket handkerchiefs with the tagline “For Men,” according to The Daily Telegraph. Now the company is clarifying that no tissues, regardless of size, are strictly masculine or feminine.

Not the first time

Kimberly-Clark is just the latest company to announce it will remove gender-related tags from its products.  Last week, a British supermarket chain announced it will be renaming the “Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll” after receiving complaints. Several years ago, Target disposed of girl and boy labeling in its toy section.

No waving the white flag/tissue

While Kimberly-Clark has committed to rebranding its allegedly sexist tissues, debate over the move rages. iNews produced a story lionizing Kimberly-Clark’s decision while The Sun published one characterizing the decision as an attack on men.

Thankfully, for flustered combatants on either side of the debate, Kleenex still sells large-sized facial tissues, regardless of the name.

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