Brand-new trend alert for people who think the world started in 1851: men are wearing makeup. Not just makeup, but getting manicures, facials, pedicures, eyebrow waxing, body waxing, moisturizing, toning and cleansing.
This flawed article explains:
According to a recent survey of a thousand millennial-age men, guys have officially become more comfortable adopting the grooming habits of women. As many as 60 percent of men now use women’s skincare products, with 14 percent okaying nail polish, 18 percent foundation, and 12 percent eyeliner.
These somewhat surprising stats may have prompted former Gucci designer Tom Ford to announce the creation of his new grooming line coming out this fall, Tom Ford For Men, which will include concealers, bronzing gels, and mud masks—-all exclusively for men.
We’re not really sure how we feel about this. While we can’t blame guys for turning to products we’ve relied on for decades, but we’re not sure we want to be swapping Essies with them either (at least ones we’re dating). What do you think?
First of all, I think it's obvious from the statistics that the (ostensibly straight) men being surveyed aren't painting their nails red, tossing on some pearls and rouging up. Clearly the idea here is that they're using products to make themselves look more "naturally perfect," the same impossible trap that women often find themselves in, just with fewer colors.
Second, such a pronouncement forces us to take a look at the current advertising landscape for men's care. Most of what I've seen — particularly in the "luxury shaving" arenas — tells men that everybody knows dudes aren't like their dumb ladies. They won't fall for all of those impossible promises. You know what their body wash is? It's just soap, dummy — but it's real good soap, you know, bro?
And your body's a real awesome truck that just needs to be maintained — like that actual truck you own! Simple!
I have a problem with any campaign that effectively pits one group against another to sell products. I, too, know that my shower gel is just soap. But I also like good copy and if I'm going to buy a shower gel, I would rather have someone tell me it's going to take me on "an escape" or "a tropical experience." Why not? If it's just soap, why waste my time with anything but the spartan white bar?
And that leads me to my third issue: this kind of marketing can't last. If it's all just soap, bro, why buy Nivea instead of Ivory? If skin cream can't really give you major results, why spend $40 when you can spend $10? Men's care marketing has to do a 180, which means that we're entering an unfortunate era in which men in greater numbers will feel the pressure to deal with their frown lines or their hairy calves.
The irony is that I suspect such pressure might actually bring forth a bit more regulation within the industry. Where major male politicians may not care about whether or not Kate Winslet is massively photoshopped beyond recognition in her last Lancome ad, they may care if they themselves are being told that a wrinkle-free, blemish-free and suspiciously well-rested Hugh Laurie is now the ideal they need to strive for in their 40s and 50s. We're seeing it already in England where it seems men's care has been going for a little longer.
But what do you think — is this an evening of the playing field, or are we just giving cosmetics companies what they want by allowing them to make us all feel bad now — regardless of gender?