If She Buys You a Man Crate…

I want this guy to punch himself in the face

If she buys you a Man Crate, she either doesn’t know what a man is, or she does but doesn’t consider you one. And if you’re happy to get the Man Crate, she may be right. Boys play with toys which resemble the real things they will do as men. Man Crates are toys created for adult men in a society which has become so speciously safe and comfortable, the practical strengths of men become nothing more than a pathetic caricature of something that once was, but is now spiralling away out of memory. Picture a woman pretending to be a man, with her baseball hat on sideways, her baggy plaid shirt, and her saying, “yo” and “dude” a lot — this is the Man Crate.

Imagine a “Woman Crate”. What would that look like? A make-up crate? A cooking crate? A busy business woman crate? Breast feeding crate? Adult women already do those kinds of things as part of their normal lives. So when we have to buy men toys so that they can pretend to do manly things, what does that say about what men are doing in their normal lives?

Let’s consider one of the Man Crate products: The Knife Making Kit. Firstly, some Man Crates actually come in a wooden box which has to be pried open with a little crow bar. Aside from being a pointless waste of time, I wonder how much that unnecessarily adds to the cost?

The knife kit comes with a pre-made knife which simply needs the handle glued on and shaped. So you’re not actually making a knife. You’re only given some cheap tools to assemble a factory made one.

Look at the product description…

Ask any honest farmhand, Japanese chef, or the two most dangerous ninja turtles, and they'll tell you a sharp blade is the most virtuous and versatile tool a man can wield. A trusty, fixed blade won't bend, break, or stray from its owner's side; when the going gets tough, the tough get cut.

Ninja turtles? Come on. The tough get cut? What does that mean? The tough cut themselves?

But unlike men and Socialist paychecks, not all knives are created equal. We've found that the knives guys trust the most are ones they make themselves. The Knife Making Project Kit gives every guy the opportunity to design, craft, and perfect his new best friend.

I’m not sure what the odd reference to Socialist paychecks is doing here, but I am sure Man Crate knives are indeed created equal — factory precision uniform equality. You can be sure you will not be designing anything here. But at least your knife can be your new little buddy.

A dependable knife should instill fear and apprehension into its foes, not its handler, so we've included all the tools needed to rid it of stray splinters and extraneous wood.

No man assembling this knife has “foes”. And a few splinters could probably do him some good.

Well, I should probably just relax and not be so critical. If a loved one bought one of these things for me, I’m not going to get angry at them about it. I might even be dumb enough to buy their Personalized Pint Ammo Can, but hopefully not.

Save the Man Crate Knife for your twelve year old son — that’s who toys are for. You need to go and forge your own knife like a grown up.

Were You Duped by the Gillette Ad?

Were you, like myself and thousands of others, duped by the Gillette ad?

How do you know if you were duped?

You took sides.

And if you took sides, and defended the ad, I’m guessing you are liberal leaning. And if you hated the ad, you’re probably conservative leaning.

Here is the problem with that: Does a liberal’s definition of a good man and a conservative’s definition of a good man differ a whole lot? I’m guessing not. If you asked a conservative to write a list of ten things describing what a good man is, and asked a liberal to do likewise, I’m pretty sure those lists would be nearly exact.

Then why did the Gillette ad cause so much division?

Because it was designed to.

If Gillette truly cared about encouraging men to act as good men, could they not have created an ad which would offend no one and create no division? Of course they could. It’s not hard. Simply portray a variety of men acting in a variety of good ways in a variety of situations: A man holding a door open for a woman; a man defending someone against bullying; a man working with inner city kids; etc…. Create an ad like that, but do not infuse into it any accusatory or preachy tone. That ad would encourage men to act well and it would offend no one.

gillette women blue suits

Gillette does not care about men behaving well. Like an arms dealer making millions selling weapons to both sides of a war, Gillette is playing the culture war hoping to increase its profits. If, in ten years, Gillette believes it can increase profits by appealing to conservative men, you can be sure it will create the appropriate ads to do that. With this latest ad, Gillette seems to be targeting progressive liberals.

So lets all agree that there are both good men and bad men out there, on both the left and the right, and that most men are trying to be good men. And also, lets all agree that a multi-billion dollar corporation, like Gillette, is not the best place to look to for our moral standards.

Related reading: Rough-and-Tumble Play and the Regulation of Aggression

PS… Why are men buying Gillette razors anyway? They’re a rip off! Go and get yourself a Merkur safety razor, along with a box of a hundred blades, and you’re set for decades.

Update July 2019… “…P&G reported a net loss of about $5.24 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette.”

Update August 2019“‘We will continue to represent men at their best’: Gillette’s backflip after ‘toxic masculinity’ backlash”