In the era of breaking down toxic masculinity, the internet has no time for any companies using gender-neutral gimmicks to support their brand. British makeup brand for men War Paint is learning their lesson.
In the last few years, makeup brands have broadened their foundation shades or diversified their marketing in order to appear more inclusive of all races, genders and identities. Just last year, Chanel launched Boy de Chanel, and more and more men are being introduced as beauty ambassadors for makeup brands all in an effort to normalize men wearing makeup. But now people are asking the question: Do men need their own makeup lines tailored for them?
After the vegan, cruelty-free, U.K.-based makeup brand posted a new campaign to Twitter, people were NOT having it as they believed it promoted toxic masculinity. In the video, a tattooed man was shown showering, then putting on skull rings as well as the makeup.
Take a look at the video below:
Twitter users were up in arms after seeing the campaign due to the branding and marketing being hella masculine when it’s supposedly meant to break down barriers and make men who identify as straight more comfortable putting on makeup.
As a man who has purchased makeup for photo and video work for YEARS now, I can say definitively — the same makeup that works for women can also work for men. This is stupid. Toxic masculinity is stupid. Grow up and go to Sephora. https://t.co/WfBLRt4RKR
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) May 8, 2019
In Korea, men spend more than $1 billion annually on beauty products and none of them do this cringe lol https://t.co/8o2qL0J2lJ
— Detective Parkchu (@GenePark) May 9, 2019
There are so many ways why this is wrong and insulting. To Native Americans, to women, to men, to dermatologists…basically what I’m saying is: pic.twitter.com/pXigQouq3U
— JR Keil, Doin’ the Write Thing (@CasualShadowJR) May 8, 2019
I didn’t realize men only came in 3 shades
— Janelle Kelly (@JanelleSKelly) May 9, 2019
The brand was also called out for cultural appropriation, considering the history of war paint within native, indigenous population’s cultures. They even used artist Two Feet’s music without permission.
Exactly. “War paint” used by native American men was especially used with the intention of sacred protection. Not vanity of millennial men and the weak toxic marketing of corporations who are playing to American insecurities.
— Mona C 🌕 indigenous artist (@Spotted_cloud) May 8, 2019
weird i dont remember telling u it was ok to use my music for free and without credit
— Two Feet (@TwoFeetMusic) May 8, 2019
War Paint was founded by Daniel Gray in order to normalize men wearing makeup, while also posting tutorials and blog posts about skin care and mental health. The brand’s product range includes foundation, concealer, tinted moisturizer, face sponges, powder brushes, anti-shine powder, bronzer, charcoal sponges and wash bags.
The brand responded to the criticism in a tweet, saying, “If females can have products just for women, why can’t men? Our aim is to allow makeup to be gender neutral and to do that we must have male specific brands also.”
Though these are seemingly good intentions, men have in fact been purchasing and wearing makeup from other brands for years. It’s also quite evident looking at its swatches and Instagram feed that it isn’t as inclusive as it insists considering its limited, lack-luster shade range. It also seems to have failed at its attempt to appealing to the straight male demographic with their overly masculine branding.
When it comes to the rise in identity politics, it’s evident that brands are attempting to create gender-neutral products to fall in line with the times. Unfortunately, a brand like War Paint using all-black packaging and campaigns with highly tattooed white men isn’t inclusive and only furthers toxic-masculinity.
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