Controversial men’s make-up brand sparks debate about toxic masculinity

Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Wednesday 06 January 2021 16:00
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Make-up brushes

(Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)

Gendered marketing and the sale of “feminine” and “masculine” products has been called out for being outdated for a while, with some blaming toxic societal norms for their continuation.

Photographer Jonathan Ivan set off a new debate on social media after tweeting about the brand War Paint, which sells makeup for men.

He tweeted: “Masculinity is so fragile they have to call an eye concealer War Paint.”

Ivan was referring to the label avoiding the term makeup, in what he appeared to perceive as an effort to subvert prejudice against men using beauty products.

Fragile masculinity is loosely defined as insecurity felt by men who believe they do not meet cultural standards of manhood and subsequently may overcompensate their behaviour in an attempt to restore this status.

The avoidance of “feminine” connotations associated with cosmetics may have also led War Paint to choose all-black packaging for the goods.

However, the company states its aim is to “break the stigma that makeup is solely for women” and make men “feel comfortable to shout about wearing makeup”.

Its product line includes concealer, tinted moisturiser, anti-shine powder, bronzer and brow gel.

Social media users shared their thoughts on the brand, with some agreeing with Ivan.

It’s also not the first time cosmetics have been marketed differently to men.

 

However, others supported the company’s choices.

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