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masculinity

Highlights from the #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag that’s blowing up on Twitter

Time for a man shower!
Time for a man shower!

So Buzzfeed ran a pretty hilarious post today featuring 23 Gendered Products That Prove How Truly Fragile Masculinity Is — including the example above, of a shower puff shaped like a hand grenade, because what real man would ever use a … shower puff to wash off his manly stank?

Well, turns out I’m not the only one who thinks these gendered products are completely ridiculous; the Buzzfeed post has gone viral, getting nearly half a million hits so far and re-igniting the Twitter hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile.

Here are some of the highlights from the hashtag so far. (Click on the smaller pics to enlarge them.)

https://twitter.com/stefihega/status/646807716585836544

https://twitter.com/gay_desi/status/646806063644340224

https://twitter.com/Ansmellicaa/status/646805720822710272

https://twitter.com/fucking_jessie/status/646803657070014465

https://twitter.com/enright_dan/status/646819670729863170

https://twitter.com/THECAROLDANVERS/status/646584422158999552

https://twitter.com/THECAROLDANVERS/status/646585159748333568

This birthday card, at least, is self-aware:

https://twitter.com/AlphaDecae/status/646804956297752577

As is this dude:

But the hashtag has turned out to be more than just an opportunity to post pics of ridiculous products aimed at insecurely masculine men; it’s helped to spawn an interesting discussion about masculinity.

And it’s also spurred on a backlash from antifeminists, who (almost completely missing the point) have been bombarding the hashtag with attacks on “fragile” feminists.

More on all that in a future post or two.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this. I have no idea what it has to do with the hashtag but it is AWESOME.

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Tessa
Tessa
6 years ago

Hey David! In your new site update thingie, I could really use an “Edit” button to counteract my stupidity. Anyway, that first part should say: “I know. Sadly, it’s not all good. One review of another…”

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Tessa:
To me this is a clear case of “the boy who cried wolf.” Most gendered products don’t cause unicornosis, therefore the user of this one assumed that his little brother would be safe. If we only gender products in cases where there’s a real safety risk, we’d avoid tragedies like this.

kenmarable
kenmarable
6 years ago

I would be curious to see the prices of these manly products. For example, I did a quick check at Amazon, and a 48 count pack of Dude Wipes is $7. A 64 count of baby wipes is $2 (even less per wipe if buy in larger bulk). That’s a massive mark up in order to wipe in a manly manner.

These manly companies are laughing a manly laugh all the way to the bank.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I think it’s okay that Bic for her turned that boy into a unicorn. It’s best to let the free market sort this out. Now that an Amazon.com review has been published, boys will know to avoid it. Problem solved. Rand Paul for president!

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

I…I just don’t even know how to engage with someone who seemingly willfully construes critiques of toxic masculinity as attacks on men as a gender.

I just…I mean, anytime the subject’s discussed just about anywhere online, they swarm and spout BS like Someone.

Part of me wants to explain the concept, but a larger part can’t believe that they’re arguing in good faith, that it will amount to patiently drawing something out for a somehow belligerent brick wall.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

@mockingbird

At least the brick wall would listen. MRAs would shout over you with his fingers in his ears before running away screaming VICTORY!

Falconer
Falconer
6 years ago

@Buttercup:

WWTH – wow, that pink camoflauge AR-15 is something else. I’m trying to think of situations where a person would need to blend into a pink background. Maybe if they were stalking their quarry in a Hello Kitty factory?

“Hello, Arthur.”

“Hullo, James. Thanks for meeting me.”

“My pleasure. Always interesting, working with you. What have you got?”

“Well, I’m afraid this one is a little … out of the ordinary.”

“Oh?”

“… She’s a national.”

“Must be serious.”

“We have reason to believe she’s aiding and abetting a known domestic terrorist. She’s obstructing our ministry’s attempts to handle the situation before the public is alarmed. And when she was in charge of our … quaint little school, well, just look at these pictures.”

“Photographs, Arthur? How modern.”

“Untraceable. One of our scholarship students helped to make them. … I say, this coffee is really rather good. James? James!”

“Sorry, Arthur. A little creased? Just photographs. Where, and when?”

“I’m afraid we don’t know where she is, except when she’s in the office in our ministry. And it’s really rather urgent. Now, we can get you into our ministry. Here’s the plan of the building. Are you all right? You’ve gone kind of stiff.”

“Never mind, Arthur. Should be easy enough to get inside her office. When does she come, and when does she go?”

“We don’t know, it’s like she’s got a direct line into her office without passing through the building.”

“I’ll have to lay in wait. Inside. Got a picture of her office?”

“Yes, here, James.”

“I never thought I’d need to say this, Arthur.”

“Yes, James?”

“I’m going to need a pink gun.”

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

@mockingbird
Some of the people who saw the tweets mocking gendered products most likely reacted negatively just to push back against feminists – I do think, though, that some of them believe that mocking the idea that men should behave in a very specific way is to mock being a man itself, while some others probably heard of the tag from a third party, and, without researching further, concluded that the people posting on those tags were mocking men in general.

But, yeah, I think talking to most of them (even the ones who didn’t understand the tag) would be as useful as talking to a brick wall.

bluecatbabe
bluecatbabe
6 years ago

I was shopping for fragrance for the Beloved and found one I really liked but could not bring myself to buy because the bottle was in the shape of a very realistic hand grenade. Because guys can’t smell good unless they’re prepared to blow things up, clearly.

katz
katz
6 years ago

I would be curious to see the prices of these manly products. For example, I did a quick check at Amazon, and a 48 count pack of Dude Wipes is $7. A 64 count of baby wipes is $2 (even less per wipe if buy in larger bulk). That’s a massive mark up in order to wipe in a manly manner.

These manly companies are laughing a manly laugh all the way to the bank.

A 5x markup seems about standard for Dude Products. The markup for Lady Products seems to be around 1.5x. But then, Dude Products are more of a bonus way to show how dudely you are, whereas women are expected to use Lady Products all the time.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

The mark up on any sort of cosmetic/toiletry products is ridiculous anyway. Just about every bath product is a variation on washing up liquid.

One of my friends loves a skin product called Creme design la Mer. The thing is this stuff is identical to a product used to treat burns, and I’m not using identical rhetorically, I do mean literally. You can buy the burn stuff from pharmaceutical suppliers in 5 litre containers for less than the cost of a tiny pot jar of the branded stuff, but apparently it’s the pot that counts.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

This reminded me of when Andrew Sullivan heard the term ‘toxic masculinity’ and went on one of his trademark rants. Apparently he thought it meant that masculinity itself was toxic, and that would simply not stand. It was like an Emily Litella sketch without the “Never mind” at the end.

Tracy
Tracy
6 years ago

Thanks for responding courteously to that; I think #NotAllMarketingProfessionals is a valid sentiment here. You seem lovely, and I apologise for my earlier hostility.

Hey, no biggie. Like I said, I totally get where you’re coming from.

However, when it comes to marketing in general, I think we’re talking at cross purposes. It isn’t that I object to people using their powers for evil instead of for good; it’s that I object to them using those powers at all.

Sadly, we exist in a Nash Equilibrium* world in which any product which isn’t marketed aggressively will disappear, sliding under people’s radar regardless of how good it is. The solution to this isn’t for us to market good causes even harder and hope that the people using their powers for the bad ones don’t correspondingly step up their own game; the solution is to agree that nothing gets marketing money thrown at it at all, and consumers will make whatever decisions make sense to them.

First – TIL I learned what a Nash Equilibrium is! Thank you! Not being facetious here, I love learning new things. The commenters here are good for that.

Marketing isn’t a thing that’s going to go away, ever. It just isn’t. For consumers to even make a decision, marketing has to happen. (websites, blogs, social media etc are all part of marketing – so a company having a website to even visit is marketing, as is the search engine optimization they’ve done to help their website rank when people search for what they offer)

And of course it isn’t just products – it’s services, charities, non-profit orgs, etc. It’s also not just large corporations – it’s mom & pop shops, small businesses, independent professionals, bootstrapped startups, theatre companies, artists, etc. I recently worked with a professional speaker who is one of the best, most genuine people I’ve ever met; he makes life better for people wherever he goes. He literally changes people’s lives – I interviewed several former clients of his and was blown away by what they told me about him and what he’d done for them. If he didn’t market himself, the world would be poorer for it IMO.

Anyway, I don’t think the solution is to market good stuff more aggressively, but more honestly. Plenty of smaller companies are understanding that having genuine conversations with their customers/potential customers, actually listening to and caring about those customers, and being transparent about who they are and how they operate is more than enough to stand out from the noise.

I’m lucky enough to work with people who want to do good for the world. Of course, that’s because I market myself to those sorts of people. 🙂 I market my own business in order to attract the type of clients I want to work with, and who share my values (and who want to work with someone with my values and approach). They can compare me and my services to other providers, and then make the decision that makes sense to them.

I do think that’s vastly different from exploiting insecurities to sell ball wipes to men. 😉

katz
katz
6 years ago

At some point marketing is a bit like collecting interest: No matter how much you might hate the concept, it’s an inherent part of capitalist society, and there’s really nothing to be gained from not doing it on principle.

GardenGallivant
GardenGallivant
6 years ago

Clearly Tesco is marketing pink sand for the pink camouflage patterned guns. How else can you set up a firing range to practice for those critical pink beach raids?

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
6 years ago

Re: Marketing – I used to hate it, considering it all to be pretty fundamentally unethical. But then I had a manager who was a former marketing guy, and he explained it this way: Unethical marketing is when you try to *convince* people that they need or want your product. Ethical marketing is when you reach out to *find* the people who actually DO need or want your product. In the first instance, only the seller benefits. In the second, everyone wins.

It’s the difference between marketing a price-gouged pink sparkly pen to women, vs. marketing a competitively-priced wider, ergonomically-shaped pen to people who have pain or mobility limitations which make gripping a small pen difficult. Or people who just like comfy pens.

It was a total revelation for me.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

As any successful business knows when it comes to marketing you don’t sell what you can make, you make what you can sell.

katz
katz
6 years ago

Guys, they’re calling the rose gold iphone “bros’ gold”.

Paradoxical Intention
6 years ago

Of course they are. Once again, we’ve had to parse words through “Brospeech” because apparently roses are too feminine for their delicate little man-hands.

bananananana dakry
bananananana dakry
6 years ago

Apropos of nothing, Jesse Ayers’s invincible pink desk assortment is made of awesome.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
6 years ago

I had to laugh about this.
It’s the marketing execs plot to get families to buy two of a product when they only need one. Simple as that. It’s the same reason they gender toys.
It’s hilarious that men are so scared that using pink soap might make them gay. That hand grenade shower puff is priceless. I want one 🙂

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
6 years ago

Just for the record, I regularly buy No7 for Men products, they are cheaper and bigger value bottles than the identical women’s version.

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