By Cake Staff:
Remember that episode in “Friends” when Joey is really attached to what looks like a satchel but is called a ‘man purse’? It was funny to watch but it is indeed an interesting phenomenon that has people on the internet up in arms about our idea of gender norms, expression and hegemonic masculinity.
It took this hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile to point out how masculinity is sold commercially. There are many examples of how there is a need to make items already being sold in the market more ‘manly’. All of this is done while essentialising notions of what constitutes being a ‘man’ thereby problematically linking gender expression to gender identity (eg. Only if you go to a ‘man cave’ to get a manicure, will you be considered a man.)
The following are a few of the ridiculous examples that the Twitterverse knows is purely pathetic:
Finally! Gendered muesli.
— Ranxi (@ranxi) August 15, 2016
Masculinity too fragile to admit you like cooking? Well, here's the book for you: pic.twitter.com/KwcluzbmbG
— Martin Costello (@martin_costello) August 14, 2016
— Robyn Mack (@_beanatron_) March 23, 2016
— tristan douville (@tristandouville) February 24, 2016
— Vale (@ValeriaLeivaa) January 6, 2016
masculinity so fragile… pic.twitter.com/BBCZx7VR24
— ash! (@ashfranz_) August 15, 2016
— Danielle Corcione (@decorcione) August 11, 2016
— Jon Najarian (@jonnajarian) July 29, 2016
— Jared Beverly (@jaredbeverly) August 15, 2016
In conclusion, it was a lovely day, and masculinity is super fragile. pic.twitter.com/ToaP0xKhE0
— Ebenezer Morte (@cheriemorte) August 15, 2016
No. No no no. Masculinity so god damn fragile.https://t.co/GAwzyjLB7U
— Charlie Thomas (@charlesthomas) August 16, 2016
when ur masculinity is so fragile some og Chapstick is too girly for ur man lips pic.twitter.com/tUJozGmhtK
— ?effy? (@sxtanbaby) August 15, 2016
Masculinity, like femininity, can be placed on a spectrum in terms of gender expression and it is different from gender identity. Patriarchy is a funny thing. Not only does it infringe upon the rights and spaces of cisgender and trans people but it also pushes men to have to enforce and reaffirm toxic notions of what constitutes masculinity. Certain products and services are associated with being inherently feminine and thereby subservient, so there seems to be a need for men to distance themselves from that.
But let’s not forget that the rise of these kinds of products has something to do with the culture of shaming that we are guilty of creating. It’s time we stop that kind of shaming so that men can use wipes, not ‘dude’ wipes, and detergent, not ‘heavy-duty’ detergent.