Honda designs a car "for women," the Fit She's

At left, the new Honda Fit She's, a car available in predictable pink or what the maker calls "eyeliner brown." The vehicle is designed for the female market in Japan, and costs around $17.5K USD at current exchange rates. Official website here, in Japanese.

The Honda Fit She's features a “Plasmacluster” climate control system the maker claims can improve skin quality, a windshield that prevents wrinkles, a pink interior stitching, "tutti-frutti-hued chrome bezels," and an adorable heart instead of an apostrophe in “She’s.”

No word on whether it cures breast cancer. Video from NBC Today Show here.

Above right, screengrab of the Petticoat 5, the world's first computer "designed for women, by women," as featured in the "Computers" episode of Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper's BBC cult series, "Look Around You." It features a built-in emery board with which you can file your nails; a makeup mirror; and when you press the "S" key, the keyboard emits a puff of fragrance in mint or tomato.

So. Left, right. Guess which one's real.

(via MyLifeScoop)


  1. Is that emery board built into the spacebar? I work with abrasive stuff and I think if I had to type with an emery coated spacebar I would soon have some seriously painful fingertips and the inside edge of my thumbs would be bloody messes.. but my nails would be divine!

  2. You could get Honda Jazz (UK name for the Fit) in pink in the UK for ages. We had one as our family car and I described its colour as a “Chromatic Anti-Theft Device”, since I sexistly (but correctly) assumed most car thieves are male. Funny how the stereotype is for a new car men will ask “what make” and women will ask “what colour” and then some men say the colour doesn’t matter… unless its pink.

    1. …unless its pink.

      Never comes up. Men only know nine colors – red, green, blue, purple, orange, yellow, black, white and brown. There is no pink.

      1. Now, now.  The automotive spectrum is different.  There’s silver, black, silver, charcoal grey, silver, white, red, silver, beige (for minivans), and midnight blue.  Oh, and silver.

    2.  Gaaah, this reminds me of when I went to test drive a Camaro and the guy kept asking what color. “I don’t care, I just want to try the V-6.” “Yes, but what color?” “I dunno, does yellow make it go faster?” “I’ll make a note–” “I just want to TEST it, for god’s sake!” “We only have a black one.” “Black is fine.” “You said–” “Black is fine!”

      I did not buy a Camaro.

      1. Yeah, that’s one of the sleaze tricks they learn at car-sell school. The assumption is that a person will think about what color they want after they’ve made the decision to buy, so therefore forcing the person to think about what color they want will make them buy.

        Another sleaze-trick is having to go to the office for approval of every price negotiation. In reality, they go to the office and trade jokes, read a magazine, or check the latest sports score.

        1. Weird! All those little psychology tricks are kind of creepy, all these things we’re not really in control of and get fooled by. And funny, because I had picked colors for ALL the cars I looked at… and I’m still driving my ten-year-old car, because it is awesome. Also, orange. Beat that, new cars! 

          No seriously, is it just me or are there no good colors for new cars? My options are gray, gray, gray, beige, another beige, white, black, boring blue, and sedate red. The best options were for the Mini-Cooper line, but the color I wanted only came on the convertible, despite the mini being modular so why don’t they all get the same colors…?

    1. I’m pretty surprised.  I mean, Honda is a big enough car company to do all the market research any other major automaker would, and I don’t remember them offering any sales duds akin to the Ford Edsel or the Pontiac Aztek.  I guess they’re pretty sure they’ll sell enough of these to warrant making them.

      Is the Japanese market really so… well, pinkified?  I guess it must be.  I really don’t know nearly enough about modern Japanese culture to say whether or not their gender roles are any more or less screwed up than the USA’s, but this isn’t looking like a particularly reassuring case for them.

      I’ve been a little surprised lately how much the heavier-duty pickups are getting butched up here in the States.  Not so much in terms of whatever hyper-masculinity could be added to trucks like, I dunno, horsepower and leather and gun racks and smokestacks, though all that stuff is still there.  I mean that the Ford F-450 XL Super Duty looks even more than ever like a toddler’s Tonka toy writ large.  It’s cartoonishly brawny, like it’s designed expressly to be easily gripped by pudgy fingers and gnawed by teething gums.  Like now there’s a recursive loop: today’s Real Man’s Truck is designed to look like what that Real Man was told to play with as a small boy, rather than the boy’s toy being designed to evoke the grown-up’s vehicle.  All the commercials still show men wearing plaid flannel and helmets dropping a heap of telephone poles into the bed of this oversized toy, so you know who the intended audience is.

      But even so.  About 50 yards from my office door, outside one of the sound stages here on the Warner Bros lot, there is occasionally parked a big, lifted F-350 pickup with oversized tires, white paint, and hot pink wheels, upholstery, trim, and bed liner.  The license plate reads “5 FT FOX.”  I’ve never seen the driver, but I’m curious to see who he or (most likely) she is.  Someone spent a few bucks to outfit their ride with some gender-poking accessorization, maybe because they’re butch enough to want a big-ass truck but felt the urge to femme it up quite a bit, and maybe because… well, for the hell of it.  Could be they just really like the combination of hot pink and white, and there’s no message to be found beyond that.

      Anyway.  It does catch the eye.

      1. The 450 has it’s place in industrial/municiple settings exectly for the brawny stuff they show in the commercials.  Speculate all you want on why an office drone might purchase such a vehicle.  But a warning:  the path to snark, that is.

        1. Yeah, those plus-sized Super Duty trucks no doubt have their rough-n-ready industrial uses, though it still tickles me that they currently look more like toys than they used to.  But certainly they’re gonna earn some mirth when they’re parked outside the office park.
          The big pink & white monstrosity near my office isn’t your typical over-compensating Urban Assault Vehicle.  Might be a rigging grip or other laborer who owns it, since it’s parked right next to the stage.  But I don’t get the impression that this vehicle was purely a practical choice.  It’s essentially a junior varsity monster truck, and was probably chosen for fun rather than practicality.  Probably gets less than 15 mpg.

          1. I forgot that you’re in the entertainment industry.  That kinda makes the big truck thing a bit more hilarious.  At least it snows here.  A thin excuse, but depending how far into the sticks one lives, it’s a bit more plausible that you might need a powerful truck 10-15 days out of the year.  As for the miliage, if it’s got a gas engine and a heavy duty towing package (4x drive pretty much a given), 15 is extremely optimistic.

      2. Cute is very important in Asian cultures generally and Japan specifically. A Japanese student who lived with us fro three weeks had a pink mobile phone with different coloured LEDs under every key in the keypad, making it look like a Christmas tree.

    2. Yes, I am sure that the goal of the Japanese automaker was to offend everyone – including you! Yes you! And now that the dastardly Japanese have succeeded in their devious plans, they will no doubt go on to sell these cars! And! Unlike the noble auto makers of your country,… Attempt to turn … A PROFIT!!!! 

      Oh, for the love of pink! Will the women of the world never have this terrible yoke removed from their necks?!

  3. and here i thought the ignominy of Komen (and its secret agenda to kill planned parenthood and commit other cryptorepublican efforts) had all but destroyed the connection between women and ‘pink’

      1. It’s Japan, so look out for any anime or kawai’i pop culture themed car.  Maybe a purple Kusangi Motoko car or motorcycle.  

  4. I propose a Kickstarter project in which, every time there’s a new product For Women™, we buy one for a particularly outrageous drag queen, who will then make a series of viral videos extolling the feminine virtues of the product.

  5. The main problem with having such a car in the U.S. is that everyone will immediately assume that you’re a Mary Kay sales rep, and ask you why you didn’t get the Cadillac.

  6. Honda isn’t stupid. They wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t actually a market for it. From what I have heard of Japan (I’ll admit I’ve never been there), something like this will probably be a hit among younger women there. It definitely would not have a market pretty much anywhere else… :)

    1. You underestimate the re-genderization that’s occurred in the US over the last 20 years.  Have you wandered down the aisles of a toy store lately?

  7. Funny because there could theoretically be some sound changes to make in a car meant for women.

    In particular, if you take as given that the driver will be female, you can design the driver’s seat around the build of the average woman, not the average human – assume slightly shorter, wider hips, etc. – resulting in a car that’s more comfortable for most women to sit in.  There might be other design changes that would makes sense on the same basis – assuming a slightly shorter driver might affect where rearview mirrors are placed for best visibility, how the dashboard controls are laid out, and such.

      1. Sure, it would make the car less comfortable to sit in for some women, but it would make it more comfortable for others – with the goal being to make it more comfortable for more women.

        Really, if it’s just the seat, and not the whole dashboard layout, pedal placement, and mirror positions, that are in question, that should be an option at purchase time – have maybe three or so standard seats geometries instead of just one – one for shorter and smaller people, one for about average, and one for taller and bigger.  Just as you choose the colour of the car and which stereo to install, you choose which of the three seats to get in the driver’s side.

        1. you know, I’m constantly amazed that color matters so much to people. When I did buy my car that’s the first thing the salesguy asked. I just kind of stared at him. I don’t care what color it is. I want it to drive well and not hurt my back if I sit in it for an hour.

          1.  I have seen people refuse to buy a particular TV because despite the picture quality, size price and features being what they want, they didn’t like the appearance of the remote control.

          2. See, that’s actually really fascinating to me. While I don’t like that being attributed to my entire sex, I can’t help but be curious as to what makes an aesthetic distinction like that so important to others. FWIW I ended up with a white  car, because it met my key criteria and I rationalized that white paint was, in fact, a plus because it shows minor scuffing and sun damage less readily for resale.

        2. Yeah, but the thing is how much of the demographic is it going to be more comfortable for? I could see this working where most women are petite and want a car that accommodates that. In Japan that might capture enough of the market, but in the US for instance, considering that a part of the same demographic wants a BIG automobile, I don’t know that something like this would get off the ground well. The situation you describe is kind of ideal. Frankly, if I prioritized a car over other things and didn’t fit into the “golden zone” where my height pretty much aligned with whatever standard automobile makers use, I might find it completely persuasive. What, though, should very short men do?

    1. In the early 20th century, electric cars were marketed specifically towards women, as they didn’t need to be hand-cranked to start them.

    2.  I wonder how far we are from either bespoke seat designs that fit a specific driver (and can be easily replaced should the car be sold to a different shaped driver) and/or highly adjustable seats that can shift into any shape a person might bring to a car.

      Both options would be very appealing – spoken as a 6’4″ male with wide shoulders.  Many car seats expect me to tilt my head forward, then crane my neck upwards.  Alternately, I find the width of many seats leaves the center of my back unsupported as I am basically leaning back against the forward side edges of the seat.

    3.  It affects a lot more than dash and mirrors: people who are 5’2 or shorter stand a good chance of being killed by airbags or strangling on the seatbelt, because the airbag deploys for someone sitting further away from the wheel and the seatbelts never come down low enough, no matter how “adjustable” they claim to be.

      1.  Good point that.

        Similarly, the back seats are designed for adults, when > 50% of the time it’s children in the back seat.  So we end up with booster seats to get close to the level of safety a properly designed seat would provide – except that’s only if they’re properly installed, which they very often aren’t.

        If the back seats were just designed to accomodate children in the first place (mostly just giving the seatbelts a sufficient amount of adjustment range), then kids could be safer on the whole than they are now, and wihout all the fussing with booster seats (if you’re catching a cab later you have to decide whether to haul one around all day, give a few adults a ride home and you have to stow it in the trunk – no wonder they’re often hastily and improperly installed)

  8. Meanwhile, a Honda PR representative announced that the official dog of the “Fit She’s” was the Shih Tzu.

  9. Wonder when they will start marketing that all home lavatories should have a men’s commode and a women’s. 

  10. If they made actual changes – such as seat-belts designed for 3-D chests and safety built around women rather than men (didn’t I just read that they never crash test a car with a female dummy in the driver’s seat?) I’d seriously consider it. In pink, even. The UV glass should be standard in all autos – both windshield and front windows at least, but isn’t enough to make me want a car packed with bullshit cosmeceutical claims and in an ugly color (that pink is hideous. go big or go home).

    1. Damn.  I’d totally drive the hell out of that, with or without the dainty rain boots.

      EDIT: Well, at least somebody in Marketing didn’t hold back.

      Marketing brochures stated that the car was made “By Special Appointment to Her Majesty… the American Woman.”

      1. Dodge la Femme. Wow…I like it – it most definitely has style. Want one. Just a smidge of tweaking – or better yet, a tear-down and performance rebuild would be great.

        Needless to say, the ‘la Femme’, stock, is far, far, more butch than the crap pouring from the arse of the U.S. and European auto manfufacs nowadays. ‘Aggressive Styling’ is fcuking ugly and already dated. Yes, they have a lot of horsepower, BFD, it’s easy now – nothing inspired.  

        My WWII veteran friend and I visited a new auto-dealership, Martin said ‘That’s no Charger’…

        …Actually, Martin didn’t exactly say that, he was more verbose, and after the test drive, fairly technical. But, having been an owner of a bonefide Charger back in the day,  this was his point.

        Martin eventually bought a Lexus, I forget which one, it was a sedan. I also test drove the Charger, and the Lexus — and myself having owned a 60’s era Charger for, like three minutes as a teen, the brand new Charger didn’t do it for me, especially for the price, and the douchy feeling when driving it. The Lexus was great, drove like a Mercedes. (I am a pre-1994/95 Mercedes enthusiast, they’re my yardstick. Plus I know how to fix them for cheap which is a big deal to me now.) 

        This Honda car for women? I’m not sure, but I know it is only for the domestic Japanese market. This car makes sense to me in the campy, light-hearted, Japanese, cosplay sort of way. 

        I like this Honda car, if I was flush with disposable income and it was available in the US, maybe I would buy it. If I was a woman, I probably wouldn’t, but maybe I would. I just don’t know ’cause I’m not a woman. 

        If this car was done up in camouflage and marketed to men, with a free gun and gun-rack, I don’t know, I think I’d want it. Either way, the idea of this Neuterey Honda Fit being fitted with female or male drag really is a hoot.

        Because it is such a hoot, I believe Honda would sell even more of these if they present the pretty-in-pink Fit and the puppy-dog-tails camouflage Fit as some sort of his and hers deal. This might really work. 

        Not calling owners of the revived Charger douches! I am so not.

    2.  Even lesser known was the other vehicle in the line, the La Butch, which was a diesel-powered pickup with a built-in cuspidor.

  11. If you want to design a car for women, talk to Autoweek’s Denise McCluggage.  She was racing Ferraris 50+ years ago.  And as for pink, my teen daughter hates it, as do a lot of other women.  The last thing most gals want is to be driving around in a Mark Kay car.

  12. Honda Detractors: If you lived in Japan, and watched more than one youTube commercial per year, you would see that there are plenty of products that cater to a variety of women in a variety of styles and colors; one of these styles is, yes, “cute.”This product, a car, is designed by Japanese consumption for Japanese consumption…Naturally viewed through the oblong lens of the Occident it appears strange and foreign. Many of them will likely sell here and I have the pleasure of seeing more pink on my city streets.Sorry, but trying to cast shade on “cute” and “pink” just makes an ugly brownish/mauve.

    1. I wrote a comment trying to say this b4 I read your comment. 

      You make this point better than me. I haven’t lived in Japan like you, but I’ve been exposed to Japanese culture  and house-mates – not tons but enuf –  to find this obvious.  

  13. From wikipedia: ‘Honda originally intended to name the car “Fitta”, but shortened the name in some markets, and renamed it completely in others, upon discovering that in several Nordic languages, fitta is a popular and vulgar slang word for female genitalia.’

  14.  From what I’m reading they’re offering a custom job out of the factory, and not creating a whole new car design. It would be cheaper for a car company to do this then a third party, as they have infrastructure to do the job already. Paint, body, emblems, upholstery, tint.

    Most custom shops just do the build, and source the parts. The lack of lateral infrastructure, means you’re paying overhead for each component, if your having it done by a third party custom shop.

    So they’re not really risking a failed car, so much as they’re risking limited custom parts. Which would be easy enough to sell off (for profit), at the end of their run, so long as the market isn’t saturated. This normal practice with all car options. If generally customers aren’t willing to pay, they wont customize as many at the factory. Then keeping the market free from over-saturation, they can maintain their profit margin, just over a longer period of time.

  15.  marketing in asia is very different than in the west (i lived and worked in asia, working in a marketing and creative capacity).  i’m fairly certain that honda knows exactly to whom they are marketing this vehicle.  it may not resonate with female american drivers, but if you are fortunate enough (and usually wealthy enough) to own a nice, new vehicle in asia, this would probably be the envy of every young, female driver…

  16. If you are only allowed one stereotyped characterization of this product, then it’s far more accurate to say “Honda introduces a new car designed especially for Japanese.”  

    (About 51% of all Japanese are women. Fewer than 2% of all women are Japanese.)

  17. I was afraid my grey Fit wasn’t manly — imagine my relief to find I got the Boy version. I was going to write Honda to inform them of my relief, but all I could find were these Bic for Her pens.

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