“All men! Is your face bright and luminous? Has rose-gold hair taken over your summer? Is your neckline too low, or not low enough? Do your toenails need some TLC? Is it okay to have arms?” This on a pastel blue, pink, white background.
“I must admit I’m a fan of arms,” says Rachel. “But only if they’re toned. The guys need to keep them in shape – but not too much! They need to do the work to get that natural look. I don’t like them looking false or unnatural but I want them to be firm and perky.”
Grace says, “Look young and bright. But don’t try too hard. You should look this way naturally. No one likes a high maintenance guy.”
“Man who has it all” is a business selling t-shirts, with a facebook page subverting gender stereotypes by inverting them. My friend recommended it as a way of making unseen prejudice visible.
Women’s t-shirts say “Men! Just a little reminder to smile today, because women like positive men”, “The future is female”, “A mother’s place is in the boardroom”, “Girls will be girls: Epic, cool, awesome” (or, “Rational, objective, scientific”, “brave, strong, bold”) “No”, “Actually”, “My dream, that one day boys will become anything they want to be: men writers, male spacewomen, and gentleman doctors”, and “Lead character”.
Men’s t-shirts say “Not just a pretty beard”, “Male cyclist”, “I can do anything if I concentrate extra hard with my gentleman brain”, “Cat dad”, “My mum is a total legend”, “Male scientist”, “I’m too handsome to do maths”, “Boys will be boys: kind, caring, thoughtful”, “I’m just here to look handsome”, “Womankind, noun: A gender-neutral term referring to both women and men”, “Girly swot”, and “Supporting character”. Several of these work as hers n’ his pairs.
A comment: “Women and men are equal but different. Eg men are naturally better at smiling and knowing when to clean the bathroom and we should absolutely celebrate that.”
I particularly like the women’s comments when they are dominant. “Are those traits boys really value, though? Shouldn’t it say Pretty, Obedient, Sweet? I’m not sure there is a market for this meninist clothing.” Some are joking, some are playing the game. “It should be a much tighter fit to show off his figure so all the little girls can admire him. The sleeves should ideally be those little capped sleeves that all boys love to wear. And I don’t think it’s pink and glittery enough to appeal to most boys.” She ends, “Once these mistakes are corrected I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this,” which I find delightfully assertive.
A comment: “A natural make-up look takes no more than an hour or two and gives the illusion that they are naturally pretty. Then other women can point them out as the ideal man to their less attractive partners and prove that they are not shallow because they like a natural look. Also, ladies, don’t forget to feign horror when the men suggest it’s not actually natural – instead make them feel petty and jealous for not being able to obtain this level of natural beauty.” I love this. I want to be objectified, it turns me on. It is a problem at work or in the street, but with the right person, it would delight me. “Also: are you trim, not being demanding or taking up too much space and pleasing all the women in your life ?!” Oooh! “While i don’t think staring or too much eye contact is appropriate in a man (too assertive!), a man ought to communicate that he is aware of my presence, attentive and ready to spring into action in case i need something – a drink, attention, what-have-you. I find staring off into space like that off-putting and disrespectful – it’s like he has his own inner life. Not ok!”