Kleenex has announced that it is changing the name of its “Mansize” tissues to “Kleenex Extra Large” after the company received complaints about sexism from consumers. According to the Telegraph, the product, which was introduced 62 years ago in the United Kingdom, is cleaning up its image to be more inclusive.
Kleenex Mansize are the most popular tissue brand in the U.K., but many consumers felt that the name was outdated and promoted gender inequality. The brand’s parent company Kimberly-Clark, released a statement announcing the change.
“Thanks to recent feedback we are now rebranding our Mansize tissues to Kleenex Extra Large. Consumers may see the new name on our larger boxes in stores already,” the press release said.
The company was careful to state that they did not believe that the Mansize name endorsed gender inequality.
“Kimberly-Clark in no way suggests that being both soft and strong is an exclusively masculine trait, nor do we believe that the Mansize branding suggests or endorses gender inequality. Our Mansize tissues remain one of our most popular products, with 3.4 million people buying these tissues every year,” they said in the press release.
Still, consumers felt that the label was unnecessarily gendered. Some people took issue with the advertising, which called the tissue “confidently strong.” Kleenex Ultra Soft tissues, on the other hand, are advertised as “beautifully soft and silky.”
“Hi @Kleenex_UK. My 4yo son asked me what was written here. Then he asked, why are they called mansize? Can girls, boys & mummies use them? I said: I don’t know & yes of course. He suggests you should call them “very large tissues”. It is 2018,” said one Twitter user.
Hi @Kleenex_UK. My 4yo son asked me what was written here. Then he asked, why are they called mansize? Can girls, boys & mummies use them? I said: I don’t know & yes of course. He suggests you should call them “very large tissues”. It is 2018 pic.twitter.com/SeOg32RsDV— Lisa Hancox (@LisaMHancox) October 10, 2018
The large tissues were originally released in 1956 and pitched as an alternative to cotton handkerchiefs, which were popular at the time.
The shift comes during wider calls to do away with gendered products. Bic Pens for Her have been hilariously trolled for years, with reviewers thanking the company for finally addressing the plight of women with its pastel pen line. Ellen got in on the fun during a monologue on her show, saying “it’s about damn time” they made a pen for women.
Consumers have also called out gendered razors, clothing and food products, which are often similar to men’s products but carry a heftier price tag.
In the U.K., the Advertising Standards Authority has responded that it will ban advertising that encourages gender stereotypes. For instance, ads that show men failing to do housework and women doing all of the cleaning would be banned as “harmful” to gender stereotypes.