Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Interesting Blog Post: "Brand MAN-agement"

Nancy Friedman blogNancy Friedman wrote a very interesting article last week entitled, "Brand MAN-agement." In it, she discussed how so many man-words and man-brands attempt to "masculinize activities and products usually marketed to women."

This, of course, is of interest to us here at The Nylon Gene, since much of our discussion centers around various aspects of the men's legwear trend, which has been dubbed 'mantyhose' by many in the popular press...

Although some of us here have debated whether use of the word, 'mantyhose' is a good thing or not, we can probably all agree it's not as bad as, 'man-pris' (capri pants for men), 'mandals' (men's sandals) and other verbal attrocities. Ms. Friedman even noted the emergence of the word, 'man-cession', which was documented by University of Michigan professor who is trying to make the point that male workers are hit harder during the current economic downturn. Nylon Gene readers will recall the July 5 post that shared the news that ACTIVSKIN was included in an online TIME Magazine Photo Essay on 'Man-cessories'--products coming into use by men that were formerly used primarily by women.

"Like manscaping, many man-words and man-brands attempt to masculinize activities and products usually marketed to women. The earliest example may be the manbag — a purse used by men — which first appeared in print in 1968 in, of all places, the Newark (Ohio) Advocate and American Tribune. 'The manbag is a natural progression in the men's wear revolution that started a short time ago with turtlenecks,' the paper informed its readers. (Turtlenecks!) The manbag (or murse) never became as ubiquitous as those Midwestern metrosexuals may have wished, but it never went away, either. Its survival may have been aided by the robustly male Chewbacca, who carried one in Star Wars. In any event, it exerted a linguistic pull on many other products formerly under the sway of the feminine mystique."
Why the rise of the 'man-word' of late? On the one hand, it seems to be a shorthand for men acting like (stereotypical) women in some isolated area, without the more socially-suspect act of trying to be a woman. Or, possibly an acknowledgement that men in the past have been too uptight about having anything to do with anything that smacks of the feminine, and today's guy is a bit more laid back about it.

"Back in the 1990s, TV's Seinfeld advanced the cause of man-fashion with the man-fur (worn by Elaine's boyfriend David Puddy) and the memorable mansierre, the bra invented by George Costanza's father to support men with, well, man-boobs. The mankini—a lime-green suspender-thong—worn by Borat in the eponymous 2006 movie spoofed not only stereotypical European swim attire but also the whole ?kini clan (bikini, tankini, monokini, trikini). The mankini was fictional, mostly (check Amazon for the $13.99 costume version), but mantyhose are quite real. Read all about them at e-MANcipate, whose goal is "to mainstream pantyhose for men." You may want to take along a pair or two on your next mancation—a term first heard in another 2006 film, The Breakup, and soon thereafter appropriated by a website (Mancation!) that offered all-guy getaways. The sorts of vacations where a dude can wear mandals—man-sandals—and his buddies won't snicker."
In any case, it doesn't seem that the 'man-word' is going anywhere soon, so we may as well get used to it. By the way, Nancy, you may want to update your article to include ACTIVSKIN and your friendly neighborhood mantyhose blog, The Nylon Gene... hmmm? [g]

BTW, Unfortunately, the full article is available only at Visual Thesaurus, which requires a subscription to gain access and read the article in its entirety. Don't scold me for posting a reference to something with restricted access. I signed up for a trial membership to VT so I could read it. Maybe you'll do likewise and find that you like VT enough to stay?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the blog and as for the inforamtion it is very interesting and I really like that like Brand MAN-agement and his attempt to attempt to masculinize activities and products usually marketed to women. No-doubt it is very interesting and here I want to share a link where you can see a large variety of shoes. If you are interested then visit the link.


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