21/09/2012 14:45 BST | Updated 21/11/2012 05:12 GMT

Just (Not) for Women

Don't worry your pretty little head, because I'm typing this on Dell's Della computer that is delicately pink to suit women's tastes, and I'm in a room decorated in a paint "for girls" ("but boys can use it too", which is really generous of the Annie Sloan paint company to say). If I weren't typing this, I'd be sure to use the Bic for Her ballpoint pen, which is "designed to fit comfortably in a womans hand" (sic) and comes in pink or purple, which, you know, are the only colours women like. And I'm definitely wearing a pair of Dickies Verona Boots, which "gives protection, whilst still maintaining femininity, with it's pink trim detailing" (sic, again), because of course if you're a woman wearing steel-toed safety boots, there's nothing that upsets you more than not maintaining your femininity!

All right. I lied. I'm using a black computer and I'm in a cream-painted room and I'm barefoot. Sorry. I guess I'm not a real woman after all. So much for maintaining my femininity.

This proliferation of items "just for women" is a bizarre development. Cars, drinks, office supplies, mobile phone holders, and much, much more - women's tastes are being assumed by company after company. Except that for most of these companies, the only ideas they seem to have about women are that they want smaller sizes and they like pastel colours. I guess doing actual market research is a step many of them aren't willing to spend the time or money on.

I opened a food magazine recently to find an article about men versus women in regard to wine. You know that tired old stereotype - men like a hearty red wine to slurp down with their big steaks, while women opt for a gentle rosé to go with their salads and naked chicken breasts (no carbs or fatty sauces, please). Last I checked, men and women's taste buds are not any different. If there's a difference in terms of how men and women purchase wine, it's social, in that women are implicitly taught that one type of alcohol is lower in calories and more appropriate for females than another type. That might have made an interesting article, rather than the "battle of the sexes" piece the editor chose to inflict on his readers. At least he didn't promote Treasury Wine Estates' "Be", a line of wines aimed at "millennial women", who are "flirty, fresh, bright, and radiant".

How about companies do something novel and treat customers as individuals? Surely there are "flirty, fresh, bright, and radiant" men who want light wines, pink shoes, smaller pens, and/or pastel computers. Surely there are women who won't go near pink (my own wardrobe is in shades of black, thank you very much). And surely we're all more interested in the quality of products rather than their colour, or whether they help maintain our femininity, masculinity, or any other gender identity.

Now if only I could learn to ride a motorcycle so I could buy pink leather motorcycle gear, "for the woman motorcyclist who is not afraid to sport her true colors". I wonder if my Dickies Verona Boots would look good on a motorcycle...