I was doing my usual grocery shopping this past weekend as I usually do. I happened to have a few extra dollars to spend so I went over to the cosmetics aisle in Target to get some face masks. As I was looking at the options displayed in front of me, I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to get. There were so many options. We had avocado masks, mud masks, collagen, "beard friendly," and- what! Beard Friendly?
Yes. There was actually a face mask that was made specifically for men, and was labeled as "beard friendly" and if that isn't the most hyper-masculine thing you have heard this week, then I don't know what is!
This experience got me thinking. We have certain products that are marketed specifically towards women, and then instead of marketing those products to men, they make male versions of those products that already exist and then label them as "for men" or make some male-name equivalent to it like Mandles (candles) or Guyliner.
Since the beginning of time, we have divided our population into two groups: Men and Women. As time has gone on we have assigned different tasks, characteristics, items, personality traits, and even certain societal roles to each specific anatomical sex. We have even have gone as far as associating seemingly gender-neutral products to specific genders and becoming weird about using the items assigned to our opposite gender because society has made us feel that those things are not meant for us.
To show you what I am talking about here is a very brief list of the many things that are gender-specific that really have no reason to be:
1. Shampoos/hair products.
2. Shaving cream and razors.
4. Candles (Yes, really).
6. Pens (Again, this really is a thing).
7. Skin care.
8. Protein powder.
9. Tools (seriously?).
11. Happy Meal toys/toys in general.
These things are just the tip of the iceberg. So many things that we buy for ourselves and for other people have been assigned to us because of our gender. If we attempt to purchase an item that is marketing of the "opposite gender," we often receive side-looks and snide comments from cashiers, family members, and even random strangers that have no reason putting their two-cents in, to begin with.
I had bought flip-flops from CVS last week because I forgot mine when I went on a trip and the woman behind the desk was giving me the third degree because I picked up men's flip-flops instead of women's. You see, if we just accept that men like to moisturize because their skin is dry, or women like to buy men's razors because they work better than women's, or if a man wants to wear a skirt or a pink sweater and a woman wants to wear a suit jacket or cargo pants, then businesses promoting these products can gain more business and revenue with less products.
At the end of the day, Dove lotion is Dove lotion. It doesn't matter if you put the same product as women's lotion into a darker colored bottle and put the word "Men's" in bold lettering over the logo – it is still going to be the same thing. It will still work the same, smell the same, and pretty much be the same exact thing. So product, businesses, and marketing teams: please stop assigning certain products and services to just one gender. Just make it all inclusive. That way we can stop shaming those who want to use their products but they are outside the gender you are marketing to. Also, the internet is still making fun of you. I'm talking to you BIC Pens.