The products are fabulous, the marketing campaign not so much.
Here's my beef…
A clever marketing campaign sells the makeup in disguise by changing the name or butching up the product’s function. Here's how they plan to trick us: instead of saying mascara they say Lash and Brow Styling Glaze. Lip gloss is Moisturizing Lip Protector. My personal fave is Confidence Corrector in lieu of a girly foundation. 4VOO’s strategy is to make it known that their products are about correction not beautifying. Whatever. This guise is as unrealistic as Superman putting on a pair of glasses and fooling everyone into thinking he’s Clark Kent.
But it seems to be working.
According to business analysts Mintel, the UK market is worth $1.45 billion a year and is set to grow to more than $1.7 billion next year. A spokesman for a UK company that makes a guy-liner pencil explained the difference is "it’s chunkier than the female equivalent and therefore easier for men, who have bigger hands, to use." Oh, I get it. Remember how writing wouldn’t have been possible for men without our special, large, troglodyte versions of pens and pencils, it’s like that.
Changing the Male or Simply Junk Mail?
It’s not just these companies assuming our gullibility that’s offensive, it’s also about how they are oppressing while pretending to be progressive.
They’re not trying to change what it means to be a man, these companies are working to try and get their products included into the sphere of manliness. And how do you do that? You create an 'other' that you can differentiate yourself from. Last July when Taxi Man manscara and guy-liner was launched in the UK the company's director of trading, Jeff Wemyss, insisted that its cosmetics are not just for transvestites. The cosmetics' creator, Peter Kelly added, "It's about subtle make-up rather than wanting to create the drag queen look." Well I’ll be damned. There you have it guys: step one, covering a zit with make up, step two, you’re on stage in a dress singing "I Drove All Night."
Wemyss also said: "These days you can be macho and wear makeup. If you look at people like Russell Brand and Robbie Williams, they both wear makeup and they are both very red-blooded men."
But don’t be fooled, if you take away all the clever marketing and masculine packaging it’s still make up. It’s hilarious that we need a billion dollar push to do something like wear make up when we don’t even know who made it wrong in the first place. Actually, the old boys club did. Now these old rich white men are the ones breaking the rules and bending the social norms they created because they see dollar signs. Cha-ching.
This isn’t about society progressing and becoming more accepting of a more effeminate man it’s about profit. If there was a buck to be made in selling dresses for men I have no doubt we’d start seeing skirts or even high heels for men accompanied by a massive campaign telling us it’s acceptable.