Pansy Violet: Manly Paint Colours and the Fag Within

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Fag Up!, Masculinities, metrosexuality, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Sociological Images have found a marketing campaign by a household decorating company, which aims to attract men to more ‘girly’ colours, by giving them ‘manly’ names.

So this ‘plum escape’ becomes ‘sucker punch’ and ‘bone white’ becomes ‘beer foam’. The saleswoman in the video shows men and women the same colours but with the contrasting ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ names, and it does seem as if the men react better to the ‘masculine’ ones. Sociological Images, whose analysis on gender I usually find awful, do make one decent point. That these ‘manly paints’ seem to be marketed to women as much as men, (the video is called ‘Ladies, for the love of men..’) with the emphasis on women persuading their blokes to use girly colours , with the manipulative use of ‘manly’ names, as if men are ‘under the thumb’ and not very bright.

This is a clear case for Mark Simpsons’s Fag Up Campaign. He points out how in America, advertising aimed at men focusses on ‘manning up’ a variety of products, from coca cola, to nachos, to cupcakes:

‘In the UK the notion of ‘manly cupcakes’ and a ‘Butch Bakery’ ‘would be a Little Britain sketch.  While compiling a list of our ‘manliest cities’ could only be a Monty Python sketch.  But in the US it’s a serious business’.

 Simpson’s answer is to swap any use of the term ‘man’ or ‘he’ to indicate a product is manly, with the word fag: fagscara, fagbags, fagcave, fagdate etc. So I suppose these paint colours would become ‘sucker fag’ and ‘fag foam’.

However I differ slightly from Mr Simpson in my conclusions. He tends to suggest that these ‘manly strap ons’ are imposed on men consumers by ‘mendacious marketeers’. I see his point, but I think men’s ‘metro anxiety’ and their tendency to seek comfort in the myth of authentic retrosexual masculinity runs deep.

As the paint video shows, men react to ‘manly’ paint names and ‘girly’ paint names in specific ways, without any prompt from the saleswoman.

I also disagree with Simpson that this retrosexual backlash only happens in The USA.  I think there are plenty of examples of it in Europe. For example this Philips ad (Philips is a Dutch company) which presents an iron as a manly power tool :

Or this Tescos  muesli ‘cereal for men’:

Personally I think everyone needs to Fag UP! And soon.

  1. redpesto says:

    “For example this Philips ad (Philips is a Dutch company) which presents an iron as a manly power tool”

    Power tool?! It looks like a 1970s sci-fi spaceship (or Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle). Besides, everyone knows that the manliest ‘domestic’ power tools are ‘Turbo’ vacuum cleaners and electric carving knives (for the man who wants to use a chainsaw in the kitchen).

    PS: Quiche/Manflan?

  2. tu quoque says:

    There are things that are masculine by definition and things that are masculine by association. The fact that symbols can change meaning is not evidence of the ephemeral meaning of masculinity.

  3. elissa says:

    This whole fragile masculinity meme smells like just another chapter of the never ending “End of Men” saga.

    We don’t hear much of feminine fragility. We do hear quite a bit on the coercive beauty myth, and how overcoming the coercive powers of the patriarchy is such a noble enterprise…yet the fragile male ego remains quite strong and in need of fixing. How these brutes manage to run the world with such a dainty ego is beyond me.

    Why opposing armies of soldiers sporting Tutti Frutti shields never evolved as a clear competitive advantage remains a mystery. You would think it be an obvious strategic military fashion against the fragiles…

    • Ginkgo says:

      Elissa that comment should be a post of its own somewhere. It is all win and not one wasted word.

      Speaking of shields, here’s one for you – do you know what men liked to have portrayed on their breastplates and even shields in the Hellenistic era, and it may have lasted into Roman times? The Medusa in full scream. It was a protective image, protective maternal rage. These days it would be a grizzly bear – a female grizzly bear.

  4. well that’s Roissy/Heartiste for you-that guy is just as bad as Hugo Schwyzer in a whole different way. I’ve proudly stated that neither a Feminist nor MRA will I ever be.

  5. Oh, and in regards to the Simpson article, a friend of a friend moved to Vegas and is working in that industry. My friend jokingly said he would make a call and see if he could get me in. My reply was, y’know, it would be kind of bad ass to be in porn. Of course the hot chicks, but also it would be a big F*ck You to the assholes who made fun of me in high school. They’d be watching it all envious, but it would also be creepy that all the pricks I hated growing up would be busting a nut to watching me f*ck….

  6. hahaha, your encouraging me!!!!

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