Ad Critique: since when does lotion-use require “manning up”?

Men are not encouraged to use beauty and bath products, as that is considered to be a ‘feminine’ activity. Nonetheless, many men do, in fact, need and use lotion because—do I need to say it?—all human beings have skin! Gold Bond recently released a commercial for “Gold Bond Men’s Essentials Ultimate” featuring former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Shaquille O’Neal is the picture of masculinity: he is large in stature, athletic, and African American. According to Patricia Hill-Collins in ““Booty Call: Sex, Violence, and Images of Black Masculinity,” African American athletes are considered to be “hyper-heterosexual” (Hill-Collins 158). African American athletes represent the pinnacle of masculinity, historically viewed as being “primarily bodies ruled by brute strength and natural instincts” (Hill-Collins 152).  It is no surprise, therefore, that Gold Bond opted to feature this imposing and masculine athlete to market their product, in order to remove some of the stigma of femininity that some men may feel about using lotion. The commercial concludes with the slogan “Man Up…with Gold Bond,” once again indicating the essentiality of defining the product as wholly masculine. By blatantly stressing masculinity throughout this entire ad, it only serves to reinforce the gender binary that dictates gender appropriate behavior. Since when did the use of lotion have to become a test of one’s masculinity?

Patricia Hill-Collins. “Booty Call: Sex, Violence, and Images of Black Masculinity.” Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism. New York: Routledge, 2005. 149-180.

“Gold Bond Ultimate Men’s Lotion TV Spot, ‘I Get Supple’ Ft. Shaq.” iSpot.Tv. November 28, 2013. Accessed November 28, 2013 from http://www.ispot.tv/ad/72QT/gold-bond-ultimate-mens-lotion-i-get-supple-ft-shaq

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