Vaping Women: Something’s Gotta Give

Women are no strangers to double-standards and inequality. Though many vapers experience scrutiny and prejudice, women receive harsher judgment than men. Perhaps this has to do with cultural perceptions from smoking stereotypes, lingering like the stench and ash of a stubbed cigarette. Maybe it has to do with the way vaping is marketed. In the petri-dish of a new market, many gender issues are exposed, and if the vaping community fails to reform, vaping may be a permanent boy’s club.

From pay inequality to lifestyle choice to cleanliness, women have had it rough. Women couldn’t even vote until 1920. Barbaric medical practices targeted “female hysteria” for hundreds of years; symptoms including anxiety, faintness, loss of appetite, and “tendency to cause trouble” were prescribed wildly unscientific treatments, including forced hysterectomy and admission to insane asylums. Though womens’ rights have advanced since the early 1900’s, stigma and injustice continue to haunt more than half the world’s population.

The vaping world is a cartoonish burlesque of sexism. While the number of female vapers is rising sharply (women are more likely to switch to vaping than men), most vapor marketing continues to appeal to men, and ludicrously so. Scantily-clad, near-pornographic images of vaping women sprawled over sports cars flood the internet. Labeling commonly features masculine imagery and innuendo. 10 percent of the US adult population vapes, and roughly 25 percent of that population are women. That means that around eight million women are misrepresented and are vaping in a prohibitively manly environment. With the increasingly rapid rate of smoker-to-vaper conversion in women, why are we still marketing this way?

Culture is key. Stale gender philosophies dominate much of the world; many cultures and religions restrict the behavior of women. Even developed countries have staunch, retrogressive laws and attitudes towards women. Vaping itself has a culture, and its representation is screwed towards men. Flip through a vape culture magazine, and you’ll see what I mean. Since the culture of vaping is so young and malleable, there is still time to correct this misrepresentation, before vaping will forever be a machismo-laden circus of testosterone.

Smoke in the face
It doesn’t have to be this way.

What can we do to make women feel more welcome in the vaping community? Well, for starters, vaping companies should steer away from overtly demeaning/chauvinistic advertising. This would create a friendlier atmosphere for female vapers, and improve the image of vaping as a whole (in my humble opinion). Secondly, I’d warn against the opposite extreme: condescending flowery and/or hot pink vape products. Vaping is meant for all of the adult population, and we shouldn’t favor one gender over the other. Lastly, on an individual level, I would be supportive of a woman’s right to vape. If you know any vaping women, be encouraging, but never patronizing.

It’s not too much to ask for the vaping community to treat women with respect. It would increase vaping’s popularity, improve our image, and diversify society’s idea of vaping. Eleanor Roosevelt, a pioneer in gender equality, once said, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Let us cast away the darkness with a ponderous flame.

 

Something to think about:

What steps can we take to make the vaping community more accessible to women?

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

13 thoughts on “Vaping Women: Something’s Gotta Give

  1. Let me start by saying thank you for “Battery Safety: Will You Marry Me?” and all the other informative articles you have written. Please stop with the liberal agenda that women’s rights or image is some how under attack, it’s getting VERY old. Do not follow what some of the other writers are bloviating about. YOU are a better writer than that.(well I think so) Could you or would you use your influence to talk about more important things on vaping…. like the FDA reworking regulations and how that will impact us all. (FYI – MBV too as a business) Thank you I’m off my soap box now.

    1. Hey there, Rita. I’m glad you like my work! The civil debate on how women should be treated in society tends to be a hot-button issue. Being in marketing, I see a lot of vape advertising that portrays women in a troubling light. Most people probably don’t see the volume of these ads as I do, given my career, but there is a lot of this out there.

      I’ve written about the FDA, the MSA, the USA, and all sorts of acronyms, but this time I tried to spread my wings and write about something that’s bothering me.

      I appreciate your input, and I hope you continue to be active within our blogging community!

      Thanks, Rita.

  2. You are so spot on in this article, Tim. I am sick of going to vape conventions with nothing but tits & ass marketing vape juice and gear. I refuse to buy from vendors using those tactics; I don’t care how good their prices and juice are, they can talk to the hand. Pink mod for this woman…NOT. Vaping magazines put that same crap in them with near naked women hawking products that they don’t even use themselves. Men may go for that because so many think with the other brain. I think with my wallet and buy accordingly.

    1. Thanks for the support! I think that this is a symptom of a young industry. This market is sort of uncharted territory, and people are aping the marketing tactics they see in other industries. There is value to appealing to the lowest common denominator, but it has ramifications. I’m looking forward to an era of more innovative advertising in the vaping world. Thanks for your insights!

  3. It’s a shame the way vaping is perceived not just by women but men too people need to just go about their business and leave well enough alone

    1. That is ridiculous. In fact it’s ridiculous that anyone would get a dirty look for vaping. We’re sorry you’ve experienced this and we really hope things get better in the future.

  4. I really appreciate this article and share it constantly! We are under enough attack….they want to say flavors and cartoon labels attract kids and teens to vaping? What about SEX ? Teen boys and that needy kid thinking I vape I look cool and that girl will like me?? I am so appalled at what saved my life is becoming a nightmare! My 22 yr old son can’t follow me on instagram where I get sponsored to take vape photography of juice and mods not even of myself cause he gets these models in his news feed ?

  5. I was told by a vape photographer …very recognized actually…you are not the selling mod ….they want the juice…so I reshot the picture 🙂 just a few days later he was shooting horrible shots of a woman and I couldn’t see the juice cause it was in her hand not pushed towards the camera or anything and everything hanging out…I called him out…it’s not the woman the juice right? He unfollowed me ?

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