A new campaign promoting makeup for men has critics up in arms, with claims that it perpetuates “toxic masculinity.”
Though War Paint’s male-targeted beauty products aren’t brand-new — the British brand relaunched its vegan, cruelty-free wares, including concealer, bronzer and tinted moisturizer months ago — it’s getting new interest (and backlash) thanks to a new campaign video.
“We couldn't find a makeup brand formulated specifically for men's skin; so we created one,” the brand says of the clip showing a heavily tattooed and pierced man applying different products to his face.
But many Twitter users aren’t buying it, and are calling out the brand for treating “men’s skin” as any different from a woman’s.
“I can't wait to emerge, snake-like, from my old flesh!” quipped a commenter who identified himself as transitioning from female to male. “I'll definitely be buying War Paint to celebrate, since it sounds like it would scald my dainty lady skin if I tried it before then.”
Others complained that the ad focused more on the model’s tattoos than the actual products in an effort to portray an aggressively macho image.
“Our makeup is so good, we won’t even show you it. Buy Toxic Masculinity Paint, now!”— Max 🏳️🌈🧜🏿♀️ (@SpillerOfTea) May 9, 2019
If men’s skin is so special, then why does this foundation have all the same ingredients as @NyxCosmetics Total Control Drop foundation? My dudes, don’t pay a markup and international shipping when you could get the same thing at the pharmacy. 🙄— SewMThing Clever💋 (@sewmthingclever) May 8, 2019
I would like to order one whole man skin please, do I get it before or after I start T. /s— | Jason | (@RaRaRazzy) May 8, 2019
As a man who has purchased makeup for photo and video work for YEARS now, I can say definitively — the same makeup that works for women can also work for men. This is stupid. Toxic masculinity is stupid. Grow up and go to Sephora. https://t.co/WfBLRt4RKR— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) May 8, 2019
Some also took issue with the brand’s name, saying “War Paint” is unnecessarily violent and culturally appropriative.
It's not water, it's LIQUID DEATH— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) May 9, 2019
It's not makeup, it's WAR PAINT
It's not an earplug, it's a SKULL SCREW
It's not a donut, it's a BRONUT
but it's definitely fragile masculinity https://t.co/MQfw2cSEOi
Exactly. "War paint" used by native American men was especially used with the intention of sacred protection. Not vanity of millennial men and the weak toxic marketing of corporations who are playing to American insecurities.— Mona C 🌕 indigenous artist (@Spotted_cloud) May 8, 2019
The brand defended itself in the comments, asking, “If females can have products just for women, why can’t men? Our aim is to allow makeup to be gender-neutral and to do that we must have male-specific brands also.”
I agree, if you look at our reviews you will see men from 16 to 75 using our products and loving them. If females can have products just for women, why can’t men? Our aim is to allow makeup to be gender neutral and to do that we must have male specific brands also— War Paint (@warpaintmufm) May 8, 2019
That reasoning fell flat with most, who also took War Paint to task for not offering a diverse range of shades. But some commenters argued that creating makeup for men, or at least supporting those who do want to go glam, could potentially be a good thing — but needed better execution.
Right like if it helps dudes that are uncomfortable with buying current makeup brands then awesome! But saying its "for men" is trash imo. What about women that dont feel comfortable with feminity and normal makeup brands? Or anyone that struggles with makeup for that reason— Katelyn (@comawhite___) May 8, 2019
War Paint has not yet responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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