The cosmetics group NYX advertises a new lipstick with a man. The US brand has been heavily criticized for this. Especially from women – they feel left out.
The company NYX Professional Makeup is confronted with a small Shitstorm on the social media. The trigger is an advertising photo that the US cosmetics brand, which belongs to L’Oréal, published on Instagram a few days ago: A single image presenting the new lipstick “Smooth Whip” – albeit on a man with a beard. NYX has around 14.5 million followers on Instagram; Thousands of users commented on the photo, including many women.
“Apparently you don’t need us as customers anymore. I am leaving your products behind as you have left and marginalized me,” writes one; “Men are men and women are women. Please stop trying to wipe us out,” commented another. Meanwhile, journalist Sara Gonzales, who is also the CEO of a cosmetics company, summarizes on Twitter: “NYX Cosmetics hires a man with a beard for a lipstick ad and it pisses women off.”
She was confused, wrote a user on Instagram. “Why would you post a picture of a man wearing lipstick and not a woman? Why would this ad make me buy your product if it doesn’t make me feel included?” They felt left out by the ad image, which got more than 27,000 likes. That’s how many react. Some comments have apparently been deleted by the cosmetics brand – presumably those that are particularly disrespectful or aggressive and thus have no place in a healthy debate on the topic.
It is surprising that the picture triggered a discussion at all. And not just because many large companies, including Gucci, Maybelline and Mac Cosmetics, are currently advertising supposed women’s products with men or trans people. In general, men with make-up are nothing new – from the powdered kings of the Baroque and Rococo, to music icons of the 70s and 80s like David Bowie, Boy George or Freddy Mercury, to current stars like Johnny Depp, Harry Styles or Adam Lambert. Nevertheless, in the Western world, men with make-up are still viewed with amazement, sometimes with hatred – unlike in South Korea, for example, where make-up is nothing unusual for men.
The man of tomorrow
In view of the greater involvement of male models in advertising for cosmetics – a development that can be observed more intensively since around 2016 – it is often criticized that the man is “feminized” while a “masculinization” of the woman is less clearly observed. “Makeup is changing the sense of masculinity,” headlined CNN in March 2018. “The definitions of gender are changing step by step,” journalist Vivien Jones replied at the time.
And the journalist Kristin Tice Studeman wanted to predict a major change in relation to the make-up man in 2015: “The man of tomorrow will wear lipstick”. That’s what she claimed in an article for The Cut, a New York Magazine fashion platform that bills itself as a magazine “for women” on its website, mind you.
No matter what happens, hopefully many people seem to agree: Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin. Anyone who finds lipstick and beard stylish together can also show it in public – now that the mask requirement has largely fallen, anyway.