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.