Tony Soprano (and mobster types everywhere) made it OK for dudes to get manicures. Diddy has become the poster boy for manscaping. And now, as if we need more proof that it’s a man’s world, a handful of “creative” entrepreneurs are doing what they can to lend masculinity to some products that have traditionally been perceived as girly. It’s a phenomenon I’ve dubbed “dude-washing,” and all of a sudden, it’s everywhere.Are you a guy wracked with shame over your abiding love for cupcakes? Is pink frosting a threat to your masculinity? Fear not! New York’s Butch Bakery trucks in manly petit fours you can be proud to indulge in. Look at that tough-guy camo color palette! You can eat like a girl and still pretend you’re G.I. Joe! Worried that your taste for ultra-femme tipple Kahlua might make your bros look at you sideways? Pshaw! If it’s good enough for a posse of Aztec warriors, it’s good enough for you!
Want to send a thoughtful notecard to a friend or family member but worry you’ll be deemed too namby-pamby? All you have to do is invoke Stalin in your sentiment with the help of Dictator Cards and POOF! The stigma is gone! Screw you, Emily Post!
Even seemingly gender-neutral products and services are getting the macho gloss. Let’s face it: using an iPhone is synonymous with being a beauty pageant queen. Which is why Droid is offering real men an alternative to the pretty, “tiara-wearing” iPhone. God forbid you look like a wuss when you’re placing your phone order for a dozen B-52 cupcakes!
Gender-specific marketing is nothing new, obviously. But what’s with this aggressive new push to actually demonize femininity in advertising products? Beyond being offensive and lowest-common-denominator stupid, it seems like bad business. Isn’t commerce and consumerism supposed to be the great equalizer? One thing’s for sure: this whiskey-drinking, cupcake-hating, non-thank-you-note-writing chick is taking her hard-won greenbacks elsewhere.