You know what’s weird? Advertising. Advertising is basically institutionalized mind-control. Remember that thing movie theaters used to do when they would flash popcorn up on the screen really fast, and people suddenly got a craving? And they had to stop because it worked too well?
Yeah. Mind control.
The whole point of advertising, and its baby, marketing, is to sell products. No matter what. Even if, as Fight Club so quaintly put it, it’s something you don’t need. Because I live in an industrialized American society, products are capitalist jewels. We are a famous culture for being ruled by objects. And the people who make those objects, who package and sell them, they have a certain control over the populace that we don’t like to think about.
Yes, issues pop up all the time about gender roles and sexism in marketing. Axe’s whole “if you spray it, they will come” definitely is about heteronormative male yadda yadda (have you given up reading this for being too preachy yet?). Definitely not great for women. Objectifying, yes, but at least it’s in predictable ways. Feminists need to fight against objectification like that, but at least it’s obvious what they’re fighting. In that case, it could potentially be as simple as removing the objectifying material. Problem solved.
But I went to a new Hy-Vee in my hometown with my sisters (for dessert purposes) and of course they wanted to see what kind toiletries they had in stock. Me, I’m a grab-it-and-go kind of shopper, but I was outvoted. Bored, I started browsing through the aisle myself. What I saw freaked me out.
Lotion. Oh yes, lotion. $6.98 (remember the good old days when people just used to rub butter from the kitchen on their hands? No? Me neither. I’m not sure if anyone used to do that. But I do know lotion is expensive, so…).
The bottle is plain and white. It just says “Nivea Express Hydration.” Not “lady packaging,” not “vagina lotion,” and it’s not like it has flowers and shit all over the place. But right next to it, right on the adjacent shelf, was “NIVEA MEN,” which, instead of just being “Express Hydration,” had to be “MAXIMUM HYDRATION.” But, notice the price: $6.98.
Exactly the same.
Men in this country are so insecure that we have to have lotion that expresses how manly we are.
I am a guy who doesn’t like sports, and people think I’m not manly enough because of it. I don’t like cars. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle. It’s not like I have a problem with those things, but they’re just not my cup of tea. People have asked what is wrong with me because I don’t need to reassert my masculinity with my interests. And now this.
Of all things, I think this is a feminist issue. If men were more open to just buying products that didn’t reek of MANHOOD, it would be easier to say yes, they can stay at home and women can work. By reinforcing that men are “STRONG POWERHOUSES OF TESTOSTERONE,” we’re letting their egos grow bigger than their opinion of women.
I’m tired of having to feel weird about buying something that doesn’t say “rugged” nine times on it. Let’s just use the same damn bottle.