“Boy de Chanel” is a new makeup line from Chanel. It includes tinted moisturizer, moisturizing lip balm, and an eyebrow pencil. Oh, and it’s exclusively for men. “Beauty is about style,” the press release reads. “It knows no gender.” This is excellent news for Chanel — and any other companies marketing makeup to men — because now they can make even more money. Less good news for men, since now they, too, must apparently spend hours in front of the mirror getting ready in the morning.
All of this is great for feminists, who’ve been arguing for a while now that there is no such thing as gender. Lisa Wade, a sociology professor at Occidental College, says, “Gender is all about maintaining the idea that men and women are different. Anything that we do that undermines distinction (sic) is a real threat to male superiority.” So men wearing makeup would be good for feminism because it would undermine “male superiority” — presumably by making men look ridiculous, which would cause people to laugh at them, which would make them feel inferior, and… death to the patriarchy.
But all of this is also bad because, as Anna North speculates on Vox, if makeup for men becomes the norm, men will be subjected to “more pressure to live up to unrealistic beauty standards” just like women are. We already know that feminists think that’s bad — it’s the premise behind the whole “body positivity” movement — so maybe men shouldn’t wear makeup after all. But wait, maybe men feeling the pressure of “unrealistic beauty standards” is good because maybe then they’ll understand what women have to go through. Because, obviously, the goal is not for everyone to feel confident, beautiful, and secure. It’s for men to feel just as awful about themselves as women do so they can be punished for… something, something something.
But now it’s bad again because, as North explains, “feminist critics have taken aim at the expectation that women must modify their appearances to be attractive to men and acceptable in society.” So, if men wear makeup too, that will mean that everyone is just walking around being fake which, presumably, is bad. But actually it’s also good because if women stop wearing makeup then they’ll be acting like men, and men are bad, but if men start wearing makeup then they’ll be acting like women and women are great! (Even though there’s no such thing as gender.)
Of course, if a man wants to wear makeup, there shouldn’t be any reason why he can’t. But it does beg the question: why do we need makeup specifically for men if there’s no such thing as gender? Cover Girl and Maybelline already feature men in some of their ads, which is at least consistent with feminist ideology. But makeup for men implies that men are still men and women are still women but that men need man makeup and women need woman makeup because… give us all your money.
North explains that we should see skincare as “tools men should use,” which of course is sexist because tools aren’t just for men, and women can use tools too, but don’t use your power drill to put on your makeup because that’s dangerous. David Yi, founder of the men’s beauty site Very Good Light, says using makeup will help men “practice self-care” which is something that feminists presumably complain men have been doing since time immemorial and it’s high time they started practicing care for others which I guess would mean putting on someone else’s makeup, presumably a woman’s… but onto the woman’s face, not the man’s face. This is getting confusing.
All in all, it seems like Chanel has figured out that all this talk about there being no genders means they can market all kinds of things — that used to be for women — to men too and make double the money. Which is actually pretty smart. It’s everyone else that’s stupid.