Brut: The New Masculinity Police

Enjoy badminton? Use a facial product? Buy curtains? Watch out: An ad agency has decided these things are Not Manly. And before you get physically assaulted, you’d better pick up some cologne no one wears.

No kidding. This is the message behind Brut’s new ad campaign, “Some Men Just Need to Be Slapped.” On Brut’s Facebook page, you can choose between 10 different guys to slap with either a bottle of Brut or two other specialized items.

There’s “Frasier Grammar” (Kelsey Grammar), “Two and a Half Charlies” (Charlie Sheen), “Pretty Boy Vampire” (Edward Cullen), “The Incident” (The Situation), and “The Playa” (Tiger Woods). If you don’t want to slap a lazily nicknamed celebrity, you can also hit a hippie, a mime, a guy wearing a Speedo, a Trekkie, and Ken doll lookalike named Ben.

I’ll be honest, I really can’t stand any of these guys. The old guy wearing a Speedo makes me wish I were blind. All the celebrities piss me off. But the group has such an odd mix of traits and connotations that all it does is reinforce how silly and arbitrary it is to form distinctions between Who Is Manly and Who Is Not.

This game is just the tip of the iceberg of problems with the ad campaign, which implies that Brut can be used as an actual weapon against things sometimes associated with women (and wait, since when is badminton girlie?). The campaign still clings to that same narrow image of masculinity every advertiser has perpetuated for the past century, but this feels even more desperate than the rest. Companies and advertisers who can’t figure out how to appeal to men in this millennium aren’t gonna evolve quietly. No, they’ll fling a bunch of shit everywhere, stirring up as much hostility as possible to promote a fabricated gender war that exists solely to sell products.

Wear this cologne and you’re a real man. You’re not some freak who cares too much about a TV series. You’re not some ultra-feminized vampire.

It’s not that I support Charlie Sheen, Kelsey Grammar, Tiger Woods, or The Situation. It’s that I don’t agree with Brut telling you how to be a man. Do you identify as a man? You are a man—facial scrubs, cucumber, badminton and all. And letting me hit some half-baked version of Mike Sorrentino with a piece of salami isn’t going to change that.

—Photo via The Society Pages

About Ryan O'Hanlon

Ryan O'Hanlon is the managing editor of the Good Men Project. He used to play soccer and go to college. He's still trying to get over it. You can follow him on Twitter @rwohan.


  1. Hey, wait. Jack Purcell played badminton. So the next guy I see wearing a pair of Converse Jack Purcells is getting doused with Brut and set on fire.

  2. No, but men sure do consume porn far more frequently than women. What’s worse? Women empowering consumerism? Or men empowering porn? Men are just empowering a different kind of consumerism, as are women. The whole sex sells thing? Driven purely by men.

  3. These wannabe Neanderthals need to make up their minds – cucumber facials and Speedos aren’t manly, but perfume is?

  4. SLIK VIK says:

    That’s it – I’m getting a facial and putting cucumbers on face tonight while I watch the Draft and sip on my favorite wine cooler. Ok, I’ll drink a Martini instead.

    In other news – some advertising execs need to be fired.

  5. I like badminton. And unless it’s to please my wife, I personally question the guys who slap on too much cologne. Yuck.

    • There’s a nickname for that: cologne queen.

      Brut? Who ears that shit? This is a really transparent, really desperate ploy.


  1. […] everyday life, especially since they’re given so much privilege already. It’s not as if we have advertisements that tell men to slap other men for being too “girly,” or transmen/transwomen being beaten for attempting to use the restroom, or the fact that […]

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