At the heart of most products “for men” is an anxiety over how to perform gender correctly. The idea is that there is such a thing as a “real man,” and he is someone who executes certain acts in a certain way, and you should aspire to be just like him.
But just what does a real man do? For help answering this question, we turned to the internet.
It seems real men do lots of things, and sometimes contradictory things. For instance, real men can marry nurses.
But other times they marry speech pathologists. Which one is it, men??
Real men are helpful, and actively work on countering gendered stereotypes. For example, they do dishes, take yoga, and wear pink.
Others think real men adhere to the conventions of masculinity by being reckless renegades who never rehearse for an orchestra performance, nor do they text. Lord forbid they ever disable their car’s airbags.
And of course, real men love the pussy.
We never realized just how hard it was to be a guy, trying to wear pink to attract a nurse for your future spouse while also performing in orchestras you’ve never practiced with. That sounds really complicated.
Of course, all it takes to be a “real man” is to identify as one, and for some men it is very important to do so, thus the shirt touting “real man.” Even if you’re into child’s pose or talking about what your wife does, the fact that you have to point out you’re “real man” is mostly about proving your masculinity is still intact, despite these proclivities. The shirts are also a joke, like, “See, I can still be a real man and have cats!”
Men, you don’t need to do anything. Though the dishes are nice.