In a day and age in which gender equality is becoming more of a reality every day, it's just a little bit surprising that some outdated practices are still relevant. Take fragile masculinity, for example. Some guys are becoming makeup artists, wearing dresses, and all-around embracing their femininity, and while we don't expect all guys to be comfortable with overt femininity, the fact that outrageously amped-up displays of masculinity are still alive and well is kind of hard to swallow. Don't believe it? Well, feast your eyes on the "just for men" products that have all been introduced to the world within the past few years. The hyper-masculine male has moved from spitting in jars to assert his dominance (for the most part, at least) to eating manly yogurt or using manly home-cleaning products to suit his strictly male needs.
Men, have you ever been eating a cup of Activia or Chobani and suddenly felt a rumbling low in your stomach? Well, my friends, that would be because these brands of yogurt, often marketed to females for some odd reason, are making you grow ovaries. That's right, the power of Jamie Lee Curtis daintily spooning Activia into her inexcusably feminine mouth is so powerful that a man can't even think about eating 'girl yogurt' without having his man card revoked. However, there's no need to fear, because there's a new yogurt in town. Powerful Yogurt, nicknamed 'brogurt' to avoid any confusion over who it is being marketed to, features ad campaigns featuring men's bare torsos and manly black packaging for all your fragile masculinity needs. If the taste alone isn't enough to make you comfortable with eating yogurt, Powerful Yogurt also boast an ability to help you "find your inner abs." Except, Activia has already been using a similar marketing strategy for years, advertising the probiotic benefits of yogurt in relation to anyone's health...funny how that works.
This service provided in Massachusetts, the home to many a hyper-masculine dude, tries to save face with a specific sentence they feature on all of their ads, "geared for guys, open for all." The 'broga' practice claims it is geared towards men because of its focus on strength training rather than flexibility or whatever other girlier focuses regular yoga offers. Honestly, I think it's great that new types of yoga are being introduced, but the fact it is called Broga pretty much immediately counteracts its wannabe inclusive call to arms. The "bro" in the name, typically associated with being male, essentially says, "yeah, you can come to our party if you're a girl, but you're gonna be referred to as a chick and sent to the back corner."
Going hand in hand with Broga is a brand called Brogamats, which is a brand that sells, you guessed it, "yoga mats for dudes. And women too." Yeah, that's a direct quote from their website. So what makes these mats so geared towards men? Special grips for the male foot? Special weights inside that make it too a part of strength training? Nope, they only get the name from being designed to look like 'masculine' items such as the almighty burrito. If they were for 'chicks,' they'd look like lipstick, duh.
Okay, this one has bothered me for years. There are so many facets to makeup, even skin makeup, being seen as un-masculine, including "guyliner" being a common descriptor for even the most complex male makeup looks, but I'll stick to the basics for now. There are multiple brands that cater to the insecure guys of the world who still want to cover up their imperfections, as seen in the above picture through Tom Ford's "For Men" line. In all fairness, who can really blame these men for feeling uncomfortable about wearing makeup, "For Men" or not, when they have grown up in a time where wearing makeup is seen as gay and being gay is seen as a bad thing? Change is a scary thing, and even makeup geared towards men, which makes sure it includes razor nicks in its description of things men might need to cover up, may make too much of a ripple in the social norm and lead to whoever was having a bad skin day becoming an outcast.
Isn't it the worst having to grab a glass of red and a glass of white, then going to the bathroom to discretely mix them together when you're craving the refreshing taste of a glass of rose? No? You're not another 'bro' with fragile masculinity? What a pity becasue BROSE exists. It's written in all caps, the logo is a fist, and it even sounds like you're saying "bros" if you don't pronounce the accent aigu at the end (why yes, I did take a French class in high school, why do you ask).
It's bad enough that men are already supposed to like beer instead of wine, but now the introduction of BROSE implies that if you're a dude and you're drinking regular rose instead of this product you might as well chop your balls off. For crying out loud people, it's alcohol! I thought alcohol was supposed to be manly! Guys, if you really want to justify your wine drinking habits, just say the vikings and kings of old drank it. Who knows, maybe King Henry the Umpteenth really liked rose.
11 Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer: for men, because doing anything but shaking it off and rubbing some dirt on it after going to the bathroom or anywhere else with germs is for GIRLS. There are so many ridiculous things about a damn hand sanitizer marketed toward men, but the real kicker is the specific hand sanitizer pictured. There are so many things wrong this picture, for starters, the name is absolutely ludicrous. What is "Mr. Mom" supposed to even mean? That being even a little feminine by societal standards is only excusable if you're a single dad (if that even is what Mr. Mom is supposed to mean). I guess it would be a little better if it was just called, ya know, "Dad," but then there's the problem of the scent itself.
I'm not sure how many of you shop at Bath & Body Works, but they already have a scent called Farmstand Apple, it's my favourite scent so trust me on this. On top of that, the packaging isn't even 'girly.' There are no flowers or meadows or sparkles on the label, or pink colouring in the sanitizer itself. This is stuff is red, which I thought, based on the sports car industry, was already associated with manliness. Apparently all of that isn't enough as long as it says "farmstand" in front of the fruit rather than "studly," because Farmer's Markets are yet another estrogen fest.
If you're a frequent TV watcher you've probably seen the semi-new commercials Dr. Pepper has been rolling out. They feature a manly man with a manly beard in the manly wilderness doing manly things like hanging out with a bear, canoeing, and drinking the company's new line of soda: Dr. Pepper Ten. If the subliminal messages in the commercials aren't enough, the company also has been using the tagline "It's not for women." Well, as a woman, I have defied the divine will of the conglomerates that have become akin to gods in the modern day and tried this Dr. Pepper Ten, and you know what? It tastes almost exactly like Diet Dr. Pepper.
Some of you may be wondering why the hell this soda company decided to release such a similar drink under such strange marketing devices, but I think I have an idea of what the answer we're looking for is. Diet drinks have come to be associated with women because women diet, men exercise. But when you market the same drink with a man performing exercise in the commercial, and even advertise the fact it has "ten manly calories" (they've recently swapped "manly" for "bold"), you're reassuring the men who want to drink a low-cal soda in peace that they'll still be allowed to party with bears after partaking in the bubbly drink.
The bro saga continues! This time in the form of 'bro-pourri,' better known to the world as man candles. The macho man of today thought to himself, "man, I really want to have something to give off a scent after I take a dump or when my man cave smells too much of dog odor." Moments later, the man candle was born. Maybe not, but that's just my theory. Either way, the man candle exists in many brands with many scents today. Some common ones are Barbecue, some variation of freshly mown grass (18th hole in the picture), and football...whatever that means. I mean, everyone is entitled to their preferred scents but are they really trying to convince me that having a house that smells like barbecue wouldn't make them constantly hungry? Or that freshly mown grass isn't basically the equivalent of the meadow scent in regular candles? And football? Really? If it's the scent of leather you want just smell your leather reclining chair, because let's be real, if you're using man candles you probably have one.
8 Pet shampoo
Okay so maybe everything about you is manly but what about your dog? Your male dog who you constantly must assert is male when people ask? How do you make sure they don't even have to ask that question without analyzing his genitals? One word: shampoo. See, people these days have super sensitive noses so they can smell what even your dog's scent is without even having to bend over. In fact, everyone walking down the street will be able to smell your dog and know that he smells like a male dog and has a manly owner and everyone can then bask in your manliness. Okay but seriously? Seriously?? It's one thing to be self-conscious about your own masculinity, but your dog's masculinity? Please call me the first time a man smells another man's male dog and when it smells a little flowery he calls the other out for being too feminine (which shouldn't even be an insult in the first place but that's another battle to deal with). I get it, you're a dude with a Pomeranian and you don't want to be judged for having a cute, fluffy dog so you compensate by making sure he at least smells like a male. At this point, if you really feel the need to compensate that much, you're obviously compensating for something else as well...
When a guy asked me for some chapstick and I told him all I had was sparkly, light pink tinted Burt's Bees, he unsurprisingly turned down my offer. I get that. Even those comfortable with their own masculinity have been conditioned to shy away from sparkles and anything that could be associated with being makeup. I hate it, but it's a reality. However, when they turn down some regular chapstick because they view chapstick itself as girly, it's a little ridiculous. In the description for Evolution Man's special brand of chapstick for men it details how it lacks one feature that is apparently what is wrong with any other kind: shine. Yeah, shine, as in the same exact look given to your lips after licking them, even if you don't use chapstick. If I find out that this tiny little feature of "non-masculine" chapsticks is the reason I've had to kiss many a guy with the desert on his lips, I will be terribly annoyed on top of being absolutely baffled.
Ah yes, this product in particular is a gem, especially combined with the company it comes from. On Mammoth Supply Co.'s home page it boldly states, "Man. It used to be the best job title in the world." The same paragraph goes on to talk about man seems to have lost his place in the fridge, so Mammoth has designed some 'no-nonsense' iced coffee (as well as ice cream and yogurt, yeah, more yogurt) to help reestablish man's place there. I could at least understand on some levels why men would be self conscious about eating yogurt, or drinking low-cal sodas, but coffee? I thought that was supposed to be one of the 'manly' ones. You know, men drink the bitter, dark black coffee, women drink the sweet flavoured coffee, blah blah blah. It's bad enough products have surfaced because of fragile masculinity but to impose un-masculinity on a product that was never even previously thought to be that way? That's just even more wrong. This company gets even better, as it features a "men, please read" section on every package, which features such pieces of advice as "a man shouldn't pay another man to mow his lawn." With that, I feel like even the company is laughing at themselves, so we can just go ahead and effortlessly join them.
My favourite part of this category of men's products has got to be their nicknames. Ladies may know these variations on tights as pantyhose and leggings but men have been known to call them by the names of mantyhose and meggings. I suppose our best retaliation would be to start calling the original pantyhose "womantyhose," because doesn't that just have such a ring to it? Obviously there should be nothing wrong with men wearing pantyhose and leggings, but would the large size of regular pantyhose not fit the man pictured wearing "Men Satin 20" just fine? There are tall versions too, for those who need a little more leg room. I get the idea behind it that men have different builds than women, but if the company making the regular product is doing its job right and offering a size for every type of woman, there really should be a size for every type of man. Without having to throw the words mantyhose and meggings around, that is.
4 Cleaning products
This one really gets a full-bodied laugh because the premise is just too ridiculous. Is this really the only way we can convince our husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and brothers to finally break the social norm and lift a finger to help clean? It's bad enough it's been ingrained in them from a young age that cleaning is a woman's work, but the creation of these cleaning products also makes a statement along the lines of, "hey, if you want me to do any cleaning you'd better get me these manly products instead of your womanly ones." Except, there isn't really anything womanly to begin with concerning regular cleaning products. They just smell like soap, people, soap! I'm not married, but if I do make the vow in the (distant) future, you better believe I'll be sending the person packing if I marry a man who washes his clothes separately with man detergent. Sometimes something comes along that truly floors you...this is one of those times.
Yes, these exist because, "I am man and you are woman and your dumb regular Kleenex is too small and frail for my big strong man hands!" That was (sort of) a joke, but unfortunately this completely pointless product isn't. The fact Kleenex markets these tissues as "mansize" rather than "for men" is quite interesting. In their defense, it makes it a little easier to argue in the favour of the product's existence, considering the fact that a fair majority men do statistically have larger hands than women. The problem is, the size of the tissue compared to the size of your hand does not make a damn difference.
With the simplistic design on the package, featuring bold colours like grey and red, it's pretty clear there was some underlying reason on top of the size of the tissue. I get it, I do. The flowery and brightly coloured designs on most tissue boxes make it hard to think about sports while you blow your nose, but to the guys who actually use this product, I'll let you in on a little secret: no one is gonna care what products you use when you're sick. That's like going to the hospital and laughing at all the male patients in hospital gowns because they're "wearing dresses." Please, grow up.
2 Kinder Surprise Eggs
Americans and all other Kinder Surprise Egg-deprived people reading this, welcome to my childhood. Every year when my family went to Canada when I was growing up I couldn't wait to get these eggs. From the delicious milk chocolate-white chocolate combination to the exciting surprise toy inside, these things were everything to me. However, when I was growing up the toys were marketed a little differently, and by that I mean there was no gender specification for the toys inside.
I know the company probably thought they were doing parents across the world a solid, worried that little boys would be upset if they got a cute toy and little girls would be if they got a 'cool' one. In reality, most people who are used to buying these eggs are either indifferent or unhappy with the change. I'll admit it, I would always be more excited when I got a cute toy rather than a motorcycle, but not knowing which kind of toy I would get really put a special emphasis on the surprise part. I think that was the beauty of it.
1 Unscented deodorant
Alright, so I might have to throw Tom's a bone to the part in the photo with the red underline under "gentle on sensitive skin," because it's fair to assume that a good amount of women shave their underarms and that shit definitely does get sensitive. But do I also think they put the same exact deodorant in two different packages so that the previous point is invalid? Yeah, probably.
The part that annoys me even more is that the men's kind says "unscented," yet the women's side says "fragrance free." I mean honestly, does there really have to be so much of a dichotomy between men's and women's products that we can't even call a scent, nay, an un-scent the same thing? Because it's just so important to clarify that women have fragrances and men have scents. I doubt anyone would even notice if they put the same exact deodorant in the men's and women's deodorant sections, because if you're looking for one, you don't really give a crap about the other one. And with that, let me once again reiterate: this is all ridiculous.