Thanks to brands like Fenty Beauty introducing a revolutionary amount of skintones, the make-up industry has seen huge changes in recent years.
The latest brand hoping to ‘disrupt’ the industry is War Paint, a make-up brand “formulated specifically for men’s skin”.
The company has gone viral – but not entirely for the best reasons. In fact, there would seem to be quite a few people on Twitter who have some bones to pick with War Paint for men.
Some people find the advert funny, as the normal make-up you can buy would work just as well for men as women, surely?
There's already makeup for men.
It's the same as makeup for women. pic.twitter.com/YWz73mGex7— A Shiny Blue Thing Collected By a Bird (@LadyMdeJ) May 8, 2019
Regular make-up is NOT for women. It exists for any kind of skin. Men can use it and don't need a special brand.
Especially not one that feels the need to use music, images and words associated with strength/power/war to reassure and reinforce the stereotypical idea of "manly".— Occhio allo Spot (@occhioallospot) May 9, 2019
However, it’s worth noting War Paint doesn’t agree with this analysis. They replied to Twitter user @SushiRollPhan who tweeted: “That’s probably because there’s no biological difference between men’s skin and women’s skin. It’s literally just skin,” with a link to its about page where it says: “Men’s skin is naturally tougher, the skin on a man’s face is 25% thicker than a woman’s, men’s skin also has bigger pores and a lot more of them which produces more sebum [oily secretion] than a woman.”
Some think the name and the way the make-up is advertised plays into old school gender roles. While some consider this kind of marketing – where the man is stereotypically ‘manly’ and wears a skull ring with rock music playing in the background – is damaging and feeds into toxic masculinity.
My wife is a professional makeup artist and here's what she says about your product:
No, that’s not a real thing. That is toxic masculinity marketing— Rick Waldron (@rwaldron) May 8, 2019
Like, they can’t even show the man actually really putting any of this on because godforbid he doesn’t look masc and super duper cool with his skull ring and TAtToOs pic.twitter.com/6na85QRKTZ— Bri Kane (@BRIawesome) May 9, 2019
And it’s not just the limited portrayal of manhood that’s rubbing people up the wrong way. Some think the company hasn’t thought through the cultural connotations of its name.
Others think the arguably violent language used to advertise the make-up is inappropriate.
In addition to the other problematic issues people have raised: you decided the best way to market to men was to use the language of violence?— Kyle 🌱 (@KylePlantEmoji) May 9, 2019
Even though some replies on the thread are pretty heated, some people have dived in with jokes, playing on the kinds of comments women who wear make-up often receive from some men. Take Twitter user @catscomisetc’s tweet: “Wow, better take him swimming on the first date so you know what you’re really getting!” and @ClaireHellrod’s: “I prefer natural men, it’s such false advertising to take a man home and realize he has dark circles in the morning.”
Then, of course, there are the inevitable Friends jokes.
IT FINALLY HAPPENED pic.twitter.com/1ewvxP8qud— George Murphy (@GeeeMurph) May 8, 2019
One thing we do know for sure is, we’ve never seen a make-up brand aimed at women advertised quite like this.
- Press Association