Are you a man? Do you love candles? Are you deeply and appropriately ashamed of your love of candles because everyone knows candles are feminine (and there is nothing worse than being feminine)? Well today is your lucky day! Yankee Candles has released a line of candles that’s masculine enough to fit any manly man’s needs. The Man Candle collection (that’s really what it’s called) features four scents: Riding Mower™, 2 X 4™, First Down™, and Man Town™ (which promises to let you “escape to the man cave”).
If you’re sane, you may be wondering why Yankee Candles decided men needed an exclusive collection when the Yankee brand already offers dozens of gender-nonspecific scents, but they’re hardly trendsetters. That title may be reserved for Dr. Pepper Ten and their “not for women” advertising campaign, which attempted to sell diet soda as something other than a “lady drink”, and in the process leaped right over the tasteless line and into incredibly sexist and offensive territory.
Masculinity in advertising is fairly one-dimensional. If we were to believe commercials, men are always sweating, objectifying women, watching sports, drinking beer or very manly tequila, grilling hamburgers, farting, and messing up the laundry (because only ladies know how to do laundry). This stereotypical, hyper-masculine list of activities is deemed appropriate for men to enjoy; anything that falls outside of the hyper-masculine category is subject to ridicule. This keeps men (and all people who happen to enjoy both “masculine” and “feminine” activities) in very small boxes, and when the box is so small that a man can’t even enjoy a regular candle, there’s a problem.
I would like to give Yankee Candles the benefit of the doubt (since my home is filled to the point of being a fire hazard with their overpriced wares); maybe the Man Candle collection is meant for nothing more than tongue-in-cheek Father’s Day gifts. But if that was Yankee Candles’ aim, they certainly picked the wrong time to joke. If they’re attempting an Old Spice-type satire, they may want to turn on a TV, because their marketing tactics are still too close to those meant to be taken very seriously.
I’m so glad someone tackled this. I saw the images of these candles floating around my Tumblr feed and meant to comment on them. It really depresses me to see how many companies are taking on the whole “anything feminine is bad for men” approach. I’m so sick of these narrow gender roles pervading our media!
What a great post! I seriously almost spit out my morning cereal when I saw the depiction of the “Riding Mower”. I think it’s really interesting that they are trying to pander to men in this specific way. It seems to me though that these scent names are really supposed to make a man feel better about purchasing one of these from the store? I know alot of men who have candles in their homes (interestingly enough the majority of them are single) and they subscribe to many stereotypes of masculinity, but I can’t imagine they would also want “lawn mower” burning off its freshly cut grass smell in their house. I am certainly generalizing here, but this target market really seems like a stretch and I would be fascinated to obtain some data down the road to see how successfully they were in the revenue department for Yankee. I have a formal education in Marketing so I know all about attempting to broaden your product line by appealing to other target markets, mostly by gauging need for an item through research, as a magic ball of profitability. They strategically time product releases when they believe the market will be most fertile for them. I would be willing to bet these sexist gems will be in the clearance section within a year.
Everytime products like these get developed they reinforce misogyny – an “us” and “them” declaration of how different the sexes are (limiting and exclusive to those who don’t identify strictly with one or the other, or at least not in the traditional “way” society sanctions).
One last thing – Man Town? What, pray tell, does a “man cave” smell like? The site says cologne, but and I will admit that my own stereotype training lead me to immediately conjure a stuffy space emanating the sweet smell of stale beer. Way to capitalize on the hippest lexicon of the moment, YC!
Also check out this Michigan company “man candles” – called http://www.mandle.co . They have awesome scents named “Bass Killer” and “Gunpowder” and dub themselves candles on testosterone. I wonder if the man behind THAT magic has a day job.
Great little piece. Is this easily sharable? If not, I suggest adding some share buttons to this blog.
No disrespect intended, but what they ” Yankee and Mandles” are attempting to do, is emulate the success we have had at Ted Shred’s Co. Ltd..
Ted Shred’s created the first “surf wax” scented candle in 2004, and subsequently became the first candle company in history to successfully market our
products to men. We did this by applying a mans name to a candle product, which included the term “Shred’s” used in Action Sports, We positioned the brand in surf shops pre-dominantly, and crafted the brand in a way that would authentically represent the surfing lifestyle. This branding and positioning, coupled with our high quality fragrance that truly captures the distinct and intoxicating coconut “surf wax” scent, has effectively made Ted Shred’s one of the coolest, best smelling candles available, and a brand that genuinely transcend the genders, for the first time! Good on ya for trying guys, along with every other surf wax company, but the Original Surf Wax Candles are the only ones that Shred all of the competition, and the only one that men in the “know” want to have in their crib! Named top ten candles in the world by NY Times Style editor.