At University I took a keen interest in gender studies, and was thrilled to find a unit titled Men and Masculinity. I was able to academically research, discuss and debate questions that had surrounded me all my life, including questions such as what defines masculinity.
The very term manscaping is interesting as it reflects an oddity, presumably invented in ad-land, to masculinise activities traditionally perceived as feminine by prefixing the term ‘man’ before them. A man bag is probably both the best and worst example as it’s precisely what I defined, but no one has bought into the idea that they’re remotely masculine.
The act of waxing, shaving or trimming one’s body hair is traditionally a feminine activity, as women would be pressured to manipulate their bodies in such a way to conform to mainstream idealism of a beautiful female body. Therefore, it would traditionally be considered emasculating for a man to do that same.
I would argue that manscaping is not emasculating, and if anything male grooming is very masculine.
Potentially because manscaping is the marriage of the term ‘man’ with ‘landscaping’, an activity associated with intensive labour outdoors, the word is a much more masculine proposition than its cousin the man bag. It’s construction aside, there are behavioural and cultural reasons why male grooming is masculine.
Barber shops. To me, they ooze masculinity. You walk in, give the bearded and tattooed barber a nod and you then wait with a beer in hand palming through car magazines. You find your way into their chair and they can trim and style your hair, eyebrows and (should you be so masculine) beard to keep you sharp and fashionable. Sounds effeminate? That flat razor blade he fixes my beard with could open your neck in a blink. Don’t offend him.
Associating male grooming with femineity is foolish. Would you describe George Clooney as effeminate? David Beckham? Maintaining your appearance makes you more attractive to prospective partners. The maintenance of body hair is equally important as having clear skin, and as important (but often undervalued when compared to) maintain a toned body. Not only will grooming make you sharper and neater, but the maintenance of body hair is essential for basic hygiene.
Not unlike having a regular gym routine to maintain your fitness, it is important to regularly manscape and have a clear skin routine. It’s tempting to think that this means visits to day spas and purchasing expensive cosmetics, but this needn’t be the case.
Consider using the SkinB5 Acne Control Cleansing Mousse when shaving. It foams a lot and allows you to exfoliate and clear your skin, while also avoiding irritation when shaving. Saving time and looking smart! Other things include the occasional face mask to detox your skin, SkinB5 Skin Purifying Mask is made from a number of natural ingredients such as mineral salt and French Green Clay - so technically you can say you’re rubbing dirt in your face. This is masculine, no? What’s better is that it can be purchased online and delivered to your door, so there’s no time spent shopping either.
Give it a shot, and let me know how you find it!
Who is Nick Bell?
Nick joins SkinB5 as a writer, contributing monthly to the blog.
A mid-twenties Melburnian cliche, the bearded student suffers wanderlust, a soft spot of his city's cafe culture and a love of cycling. He writes from experience, having suffered acne himself throughout both high school and university, and it's something he still battles today. Nick also writes a personal blog where he is documenting his journey for clear skin with SkinB5, having previously given up after years of ineffective products and medications.