The Safety Keychain- Bedazzled or Not?


Ilona Harutyunyan

The “ Safety Keychain Full Set for Women” being sold on Amazon.

In an era where personal safety is paramount, individuals are seeking innovative ways to protect themselves in various situations. Enter the safety keychain—a compact yet powerful accessory designed to provide a sense of security and peace of mind.

A safety keychain is a multifunctional device that combines essential tools to keep people safe in their day-to-day lives. The key components include a loud personal alarm, a compact pepper spray bottle, emergency whistle, bottle opener, and a sturdy keyring attachment.

Each element serves a specific purpose, enhancing personal safety and offering practicality in various scenarios. The loud personal alarm acts as a deterrent by emitting a high-pitched sound, attracting attention during emergencies. The pepper spray canister provides a non-lethal self-defense option which is legal in the state of California. The keyring attachment keeps all these components accessible at all times. Not all safety keychains contain these items and they vary by the seller. 

Safety keychains offer more than just a set of practical tools. They represent a symbol of authority and power. In a society where individuals often experience safety issues, these keychains provide a legitimate source of security and a sense of control over one’s own safety. By owning one of these devices, the user can move through public places with increased assurance, knowing that they have a dependable tool at their disposal.

While the safety keychains support personal security, they also reflect the influence of capitalism in the realm of people’s safety. In this capitalist society, the market responds to demands and seeks profit by any means possible. While meeting specific consumer demands is straightforward, the advertising’s tactics are more strategic. These safety weapons are being advertised to women with the use of pink pom-poms and lipstick holders.

By making the product seem more appealing than it is, these companies gain maximum profit.  “I would call this keychain a romanticized version of a weapon,” junior Lilit Karapetyan said. “ It gets the job done while looking pretty in pink.” While a small percentage of customers are satisfied with the product, others are discontented. 

“Whenever I was online shopping for a safety keychain, I noticed that most of them are colorful and feminine,” junior Agustin Tahmasian said, “I wanted to purchase one for my younger brother but he said it’s too ‘girly’ and refused it.” This product is a prime example of a gendered product. 

Gendered marketing is a persuasive trend. According to the ScienceDirect, “…gender-typical products can act as the extended phenotype of human sexual dimorphism, broadcasting a cultural equivalent to the signals issued by biological, secondary sexual characteristics.” Companies advertise specific products and target them toward an intended audience.

However, this marketing tactic alienates other potential buyers. Younger children, the elderly, and those who want a simplistic product are distanced from the color choice and additional features. This marketing strategy can lead to the internalization of gender roles from a young age, as children learn to associate certain products and behaviors with their gender. The harmful stereotype that people, aside from women, do not need to protect themselves is damaging and untrue. 

Gendered product marketing plays a significant role in shaping individual identity. By labeling products as “for boys” or “for girls,” companies contribute to the creation of societal norms and expectations. This may hinder personal growth, creativity, and self-expression, forcing individuals into predefined molds that may not align with their true identities. One solution is creating gender-neutral keychains which are effective and inclusive.

By embracing gender-neutral approaches and challenging traditional norms, we can move on from gendered products, allowing individuals to define themselves based on their interests and aspirations, rather than societal expectations. Everyone should have the freedom to express themselves while comfortably protecting themselves with the use of the safety keychain.