Categories
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.

147 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Moggie
Moggie
6 years ago

Moocow:

Like, that absurdly deep bellowing voice they use to sell ‘manly’ products?

Like this, you mean?

Ellesar
Ellesar
6 years ago

My son went through a period of wanting a gendered body product (he was about 12). Then his skin reacted to it and he never touched it again. I guess being raised by a feminist mother made my sons skin too dainty for manly products!

Cerberus
Cerberus
6 years ago

The fragility of masculinity is the major point of toxic masculinity. It’s how toxic masculinity gets people to sink more and more of themselves in trying to maintain itself and enforce it in others and it builds itself very easily.

Masculinity is defined as being that which is not feminine. And so the enforcement in toxic masculinity goes: you are a man, being a man is defined by being masculine, the more masculine you are, the more worthy and safe and socially supported you are, said masculinity is derived from not being feminine, so therefore anything feminine is a proof against your masculinity. So if you are seen doing something that toxic masculinity sees as a girl thing or using a feminine project, then you lose masculinity points and thus become less safe and more looked down upon by other men in the system.

Which leads to bizarre gendered products like this and bizarre linguistic statements that find a need to take feminine habits or actions and masculinize them with random bravado. Because to do otherwise would be to allow femininity and therefore womanliness by their weird definitions to exist on you.

And this gets brutally enforced in men’s communities. Feminine men get intensely harassed, bullied, and even threatened with gendered violence. And weird networks of rules end up being put in place to discourage not continuously worrying about being gay or feminine (these are often seen as synonymous in these communities). And it harms mean as things like emotions of vulnerability, genuine romantic connections with women romantic partners, caring about one’s girlfriend or wife, taking care of basic health or hygiene needs, and various hobbies that aren’t centered on physical activity or infused with an aura of violence and misogyny are deemed “girly” and thus dangerous to enjoy without enduring a regular barrage of blow-back by other people invested in the system.

And this fear is what also leads to a lot of gendered violence. Fear that having women enjoy something makes it feminine leads to a lot of men who enjoy geek pursuits or masculinized hobbies to brutally pushback against women trying to enjoy the same hobbies. Fear that respecting a woman or valuing consent will make you seem “weak” and feminine (also things that are seen as synonymous) drives a lot of toxic cultures like the PUAs or rape culture. Fear that admitting to be liking men seems like something a (straight) girl would do leads to a lot of homophobia. And sadly fear of emotions that aren’t anger or hate and fear of actions that aren’t violence, leads to a culture of violence that is encouraged in men who suffer a setback or a tough situation which often reduces access to help for men in need, promotes ideas of using violence to solve problems of feeling “hurt”, and blaming women in particular for bruising their masculinity or feelings in ways that must be responded to in violence. Trans women can also see how this fear of even the slightest hint of what a fragile toxic straight person might imagine to be “gay” can literally be a matter or life or death.

If masculinity wasn’t fragile. If it couldn’t be taken away by the group consensus at the first light beer or the first respectful deferment to what a girlfriend wants to do, then there’d be little incentive to keep ruining one’s life in service of toxic masculinity and keep badgering others about their “transgressions”. So instead it must be blown over by a strong breeze and everyone must exist as one step away from being determined to be a (slur for gay person). This way others are encouraged to enforce lest the judgmental eye of masculinity turn on them for not stepping up.

And so the whole thing becomes a paper edifice that is more and more ludicrous from an outside perspective and I’m so glad to be out now* and not have odious True Believers keep trying to assume I’m a fellow traveler in that sick game anymore.

*The whole trying to reclaim masculinity by aggressively gendered products thing was something my mom tried to push hard when I was in high school. Probably because there were probably signs that I was really fucking trans. So, yeah, I got bought a lot of those aggressively masculinized cleaning products for a period of time. I was mostly just baffled at the time and so it got filed into a general “bathrooms are dysphoric” feeling.

Vanir (@Vanir85)
6 years ago

[…]

– Cerberus

Wow… Mind if I quote this in the future? Like, the whole thing? ‘Cause it’s awesome!

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

Wouldn’t the tactical grips wear off the soap after 8-10 washings? Then you’d be left vulnerable, and surrounded by bath-enemies.

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?

Lisa C (@hppykittystudio)

I couldn’t stop giggling at the ‘Dude Wipes’ photo.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Tessa,
I once bravely defied gender roles to drink a Dr Pepper 10. I can assure you it’s exactly the same as Diet Dr Pepper.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
6 years ago

“We developed a sleek, patented design that lays flat in your pocket so your lip balm doesn’t bulge in your pants.”

“Is that a lip balm in your pocket, or are you performing masculinity?”

Michael J.
Michael J.
6 years ago

Reminds me of when Parker Brothers started releasing “female-targeted” editions of various board games.
comment image?w=640

Pink Scrabble. Enough said.

maghavan
maghavan
6 years ago

Stop mocking the tactical grip soap. That saved my life once.

I was showering in the gym after a real manly glute workout featuring lots of power squats and I was soaping my ripped abs as the hot water cascaded over my rippling shoulders. Just when I was about to start lathering my groin, I noticed that all of the manly lockerroom conbrosations had suddenly gone and it was now quiet as the grave.

I rinsed off hurriedly and turned off the water. Cautiously, I stepped out of the shower stall and peered around. Nothing. Grabbing my towel and tactical-grip soap, I began to tip-toe towards the locker area. Suddenly, 4 Ninjas jumped out of the toilet area, surrounded me, and slowly twirled their swords as they circled me cautiously.

I lashed out with my towel at the eyes of one of them. It connected and I heard his girlish scream as he was temporarily blinded. Instinctively I lashed out with a ear kick that I felt connect with the knee of the one behind me. I heard the crack of his femur breaking and his womanish scream echoed from the walls of the empty locker room. Next, I elbowed the trachea of the one to my right. I felt the crunch and heard him gurgle as he dropped dead at my feet. I knew his scream would also have been quite girly if he was chocking on his own blood because of my awesome macho finishing move.

I looked up to see the fourth ninja running at me with his sword held high. My goose was cooked! There was no way to escape that blade! All I had left was my soap and how could I throw a bar of slippery soap with any accuracy? It would slip through my fingers and miss him. But then I remembered that my soap was Dial For Men with the Tactical Grip!!! I just might be able to do it! I hurdled the soap with all of my might and heard the satisfying crunch of bone as it connected with his skull. He pitched forward and the his momentum carried him forward until he was at my feet.

I had survived, but it had been a close-run thing. Thank God I had been showering with Dial For Men – the only soap with the Tactical Grip.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

(Seriously, does Talbotfish’s post make anybody else feel really uncomfortable? Or am I just being too wary after that transphobe yesterday?)

zyvlyn
zyvlyn
6 years ago

[i]Do men ever get sick and tired of being condescended to by marketing companies?[/i]

For me, and for many of the other manly men I know, it depends a lot on how it’s done.

The clever stuff like the “man your man could smell like” old spice commercials don’t bother me at all.

The annoying, screaming stuff like dr pepper (“IT’S NOT FOR WOMEN!!!!!) or the old spice ad campaign with Terry Crews that immediately followed the “man your man could smell like” campaign drives me up a goddamn wall.

I used to roll my eyes at the benign-but-stupid stuff like Ram truck commercials liked above, but thanks to the fact that they play approximately 18 of the things during an average football game, I’ve become so desensitized to them I hardly notice them anymore.

karalora
6 years ago

Brb, need to pick up wrapping paper so I can properly present maghavan with One (1) Internet. And I might throw in a Travel-Sized Internet as a bonus.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

@zyvlyn

I think you’ll enjoy this if you haven’t watched it yet:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81104676/

Cerberus
Cerberus
6 years ago

@Vanir-

Yeah, feel free.

@maghavan

Shower ninjas. A threat to MAN-showerers everywhere!

@SFHC
Nope, not just you. It’s got TERF smell all over it. I’m honestly somewhat exhausted by the continued deliberate ignorance of transphobes who try and pretend that the socially enforced and constructed ideas of masculinity and femininity and the overall system of gendered expression was in anyway the same thing as gender identity.

I mean, we’re supposed to believe that these people have never met a butch woman or a femme guy in their life, that they just close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears whenever Abby Wambach is playing for the US Soccer Team or Men’s Figure Skating gets its primetime spotlight every 4 years for the Winter Olympics? Of course not. But somehow it is convenient for them to pretend when it comes to dismissing the identities of trans people as if butch trans women or femme trans guys have never existed.

littleknown
littleknown
6 years ago

Long time lurker, here…

@SFHC: I do not think you are being too wary.
[blockquote]And when we overlay this obviously socially constructed phenomenon with the [strong]popular trans activists view[/strong] on gender as a biological construct we get?[/blockquote]
That language sets off huge alarm bells for me. I can’t think of a charitable way to read it.

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

Cerberus: Brilliant breakdown of how “masculinity” works in society.

Maghavan: The sad thing is, I can see this being a commercial for the product. I really can.

Olive O’Sudden | September 24, 2015 at 2:49 am

That AXE shower-pouffe is labelled as a ‘Detailer Shower Tool’ with both soft lathering side and scrubby side for manly rough skin. Because washing yourself is only manly if you imagine that you work in a garage and your body is a car.

I have one of them. The rough side is basically… a plastic pumice stone. It works pretty well. But yes, Axe’s marketing is some of the most blatantly sexist shit on the planet.

Kat | September 24, 2015 at 3:07 am

@guest

I’ve just been rereading Reflecting Men at Twice Their Natural Size, and it starts out with a discussion of ‘the male ego’. Something along the lines of ‘every woman knows about the Male Ego. It is a fragile and delicate thing, and it’s the responsibility of every woman to protect it at all costs. Women, it seems, don’t have egos.’

When I was 12 or so, my mother informed me that the male ego was a very fragile thing. I was incredulous. Men, it seemed to me, had egos that were waaay too large. At that time I didn’t understand that too large and fragile are not mutually exclusive.

Guest: Women have egos; they just are far sturdier, because they’ve been tempered by our society.

kat: The male ego, on the other hand, is much like an over-inflated balloon, far too easily punctured and prone to making a whiny hiss when it happens.

Finally, yes, talbotfish’s comment was very much a bit of blatant transphobia-bait.

Falconer
Falconer
6 years ago

@Bina:

And when you’re done with your manly pooping, you can wipe your manly ass with some Manly Toilet Tissue™ (steel grety, extra rough texture, because your man-ass can take it!).

Where’s that Australian parody commercial? (NSFW — poop talk.)

https://youtu.be/T6Ca3_IY9ds

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Brilliant, Maghaven.

As for Talbot’s comment. I couldn’t figure out the point so I just ignored it hoping someone else could parse it.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
6 years ago

@SFHC, weirwoodtreehugger

I have tried to put together talbotfish’s cryptic comment, so hit google to see if I could find more comments from the same person. This is from a “talbotfish” with the same generated wordpress avatar, so it’s almost certainly the same person. Apologies if it’s unpleasant:

““Everyday Feminism”‘ is a shameless anti-feminist website that pumps out almost exclusively gaslighting misogynist articles about women’s “duties” to serve men who call themselves women.”

https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/dr-drew-show-violent-trans-activist-zoey-tur-grabs-panelist-by-the-neck-and-threatens-to-send-him-home-in-an-ambulance-for-calling-tur-genetically-male/

So I think the general argument of the comment is “These are male products appropriating things which are feminine. Therefore, trans issues are just another example of appropriation of feminine things.” Could be wrong, but I’d be surprised if our fish-friend returned to explain or defend their position. Gross.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 years ago

@mockingbird:

I’m still waiting for Pebble to come out with something that won’t make me look like a child trying on Daddy’s accessories.

They did just announce the ‘Pebble Time Round’ yesterday: https://blog.getpebble.com/2015/09/23/timeround/

It’s hard to tell from the pictures if it’s smaller across (not sure that it is) but it is lighter, thinner, and has the option of a 14mm strap instead of a 20mm strap.

Kat
Kat
6 years ago

@ellesar
My son went through a period of wanting a gendered body product (he was about 12). Then his skin reacted to it and he never touched it again. I guess being raised by a feminist mother made my sons skin too dainty for manly products!

Poor kid.

When I was 16, I used a gendered product. It’s called Nair. It smells like rotten eggs and takes off “excess” hair. I used it on my face. I looked like a peeled hard-boiled egg–shiny. But I persisted. The third time I used it, I broke out everywhere the Nair had touched. So I didn’t have any hair on my face–I had a rash mustache and beard instead. I kept my head down for a week, until the rash faded.

My skin is too dainty for feminine products.

And I suspect that my entire body is too dainty for capitalism.

jy3
jy3
6 years ago

Dudes,

If Odin can wear a dress to learn women’s magic,
and Thor can impersonate Freya to get his hammer back,
and Loki can give birth as part of a bet,
and the manly manly vikings can respect them,
I think you’re safe using a pink iphone.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

@Tara – When I worked in A/V, I’d sometimes bring in pink tools or heavily wrap the handles with pink tape on installs.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

@Jenora – Even if it’s the same across, the shape will make a difference, if for no other reason than that it won’t be A BIG BLOCK OF WATCHFACE.

%d bloggers like this: