Thursday, September 25, 2008

manly marketing

College students majoring in marketing must have to take an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the masculine ego." Or that's what I assume when I see marketing strategies designed to mask the feminine side of grooming for the sake of the macho psyche.

For instance, there's Maneuver Working Wax. Sounds like a car wax, right? Wrong. It's a hair styling product for men.

Because as we all know, men don't style their hair, they maneuver and work it.

Likewise, men don't soften and moisterize their skin with silky-feely lotions like we delicate ladies do. No. They use Industrial Strength Hand Healer.
You know, a manly medicinal cure for those rough, raw, overworked hands.

The latest that caught my eye, thanks to SAM pointing out an ad in the Sunday newspaper, are "compression shorts. " Have you seen these?

Women wear girdles, or if you are modern and adventurous like Mrs G, you wear Spanx (not to be confused with kinky sex acts).
But not our masculine counterparts. Nuh-uh. Men don't don shapewear to tuck their tummies. They compress their thighs, elevate their groins and tame their torsos with legwear that sounds more like a computer data procedure than a body fat minimizer.

I must suppose it's all in the service of maintaining the image that men are tough and strong where women are soft and weak. At a time when women are putting windshield sized cracks in the glass ceiling and consistently outperforming men in colleges and universities, Madison Avenue is busy catering to the side of men that seems to require reassurance that they'll still be king of the hill. It's as if the more a society approaches gender equality, the more it resorts to contrived differences.

Mir Kamin at blogher tries to understand and explain a recent study that talks about this rising gender disparity in modern societies. Read it here, if you're as amused and confused as I am about this trend.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The compression shorts thing is a crack-up because REAL compression shorts are what you wear under your baseball shorts and use to hold your jock strap in place.

Mrs. G. said...

This post rings so true for me. My husband doesn't cuddle, he "seeks warmth"

phd in yogurtry said...

jenn -- and holding a jock strap in place is certainly VERY macho

mrs g -- warmth is not high on the macho list, but heat seeking? yes.

Deb on the Rocks said...

My 14-y-old son's MUST HAVE deodorant is "AXE." Because as a high school freshman he must be prepared to chop wood to keep the women warm or blaze a trail through the wild west yet still smell as though he could be allowed indoors for a moment.

Heather said...

(I'm trying so hard to resist doing text-talk, but...)


I have walked through Bath and Body Works so many times thinking, isn't this stuff over here the same stuff you have over there? But, yet, different color bottles. To confuse me?

So do you think this contrastive marketing strategizing is the source or the result of the glass ceiling? (Ooooo, that almost sounded like a man, no?)

Anonymous said...

I quite often buy the stuff for men cos it is packaged in a cooler way and appeals to me more. Interesting. Perhaps I have too much testosterone - might explain a few things (and no I don't mean my hairy chest. And no I haven't!!!)

phd in yogurtry said...

deb -- AXE. that's a good one. don't just wipe on deoderant. terminate body odor with a hack saw.

heather -- hmm, source or result? not THE source, because the glass ceiling has been around long before there were advertisers. result? this type of advertising definately helps maintain stereotypes of men as stronger, more serious, and more capable and I think this type of persistent marketing enters the psyche and influences hiring decisions and voting. thanks for the thoughtful questions.

rb -- next thing you're gonna tell me you wear compression shorts under your professorial clothes

Vodka Mom said...

I'm still incredibly distracted by those DAMN village men.

Manager Mom said...

Seinfeld, and the "bro", were so eerily prophetic it ain't funny.

phd in yogurtry said...

vodka mom -- the construction guy is my fave, but, I'm biased

manager mom -- the bro! haha! good reference! dead on.