Masculinity so fragile you’re even scared to be clean


Illustration by Amber Chin

Blue Flores, Staff Writer

Straight men have increasingly been the butt of many hygiene jokes lately. TikTok has exposed men who don’t open up their butt cheeks in the shower, and Twitter has had unofficial competitions to find products with the most all-in-one ingredients. Have straight men found efficiency and value in these products, or are they a complete no-go?

I recently came across some discourse surrounding the skin care industry, and many points were brought up about how skin care companies are continuously developing products that are unnecessary in order to increase and create new revenue streams. Now that does make some sense, as I do spend quite a bit of money on skin care products, but to me, these products are necessary to my existence. Here’s why.

I used to suffer from severe acne, and I worked with a dermatologist for over a year sampling various products. I tried everything from topical treatments that made my skin peel to oral medications that made me nauseated throughout the day. For me, it was not until I cleaned up my diet and removed specific foods as well as developed an extensive skin care routine that I was able to achieve clear skin. I use toners, oils, exfoliants, SPF, moisturizers and various cleansers in my routine, and I also cut out dairy and processed foods in my diet as much as I can. It does pain me when I hear people say “just drink water and wash your face,” because if it was that easy, then everyone would have clear skin. That method does work for some people, but not for all, so that brings me to my point: Are people who use all-in-one products silly or smart?

Well, my answer is neither. Hygiene is something that is personalized to each individual. Just because my skin care works for me does not mean it would work for another person. If something is working for you, how can someone call it silly or smart? What I will say is that I am pro-hygiene, meaning that I am all for washing your body and taking care of your skin, no matter what product it is.

I think a conversation like this should be turned a different way and we should address the lack of hygiene in many straight males. Someone tweeted that you are gay if you use wipes in the bathroom. Another argument I’ve witnessed is on SPF and chapstick. I’ve heard someone say you are gay if you put all that stuff on your face. Again, coming from a gay man, how does that make you gay? I will say that I did not start using wipes until a straight man showed me the amazingness of them, so the topic of hygiene is not necessarily sexuality based. However, hygiene discourse often brings out the fragile masculinity of some straight men. Like, c’mon, is smelling good and being clean really gay? The answer is obviously no, but how did we get here? Why is self-care often included in the debate surrounding masculinity?

I think our society would benefit from any type of hygiene routines. I do know that not everyone has access to hygiene products, but if you do, then why not use them? Straight men, listen to me. It is not gay to be clean. Use 10-in-one or use specific products to fit your needs. Use whatever works for you and makes you happy, and do not criticize other people. Close your mouth, and open your butt cheeks.