Boy de Chanel: Assigning Genders to Makeup?

The makeup industry is going through a big revolution in terms of new products and markets. Its most recent attempt at diversity has included the male demographic. Most recently the luxury makeup line, Chanel, has come out with a line of makeup made exclusively for men. The line named, Boy de Chanel, was first introduced to the South Korean Market on September 1, 2018. Boy de Chanel is certainly a big step for men in makeup, but could the simple act of having makeup designed only for men actually provide more exclusion than inclusion?

The collection includes foundation in four colors, an eyebrow pencil in four shades and a matte moisturizing lip balm. The limited color range for the products is an issue in itself, as the four shades are on the lighter side of the spectrum and excludes a large number of skin tones. The foundation is selling for $108, the lip balm for $56 and unfortunately the price for the eyebrow pencil was not listed as the products have not yet landed in American markets.

Chanel has created a landing page for Boy de Chanel where those interested in receiving an alert when the products will be available online will be able to sign up for notifications.

In Chanel’s statement for WWD, the company stated, “By creating Boy de Chanel, its first makeup line for men, Chanel reaffirms the ever-changing codes of an unchanging vision: Beauty is not a matter of gender, it is a matter of style.” However, by simply creating a product listing “boy,” in the name, it alludes to a sense of division, not style. By assigning a gender to a product, one automatically excludes the rest of the market, and although it seems as if Chanel is staying neutral on the matter, they have brought up some controversy in the makeup community.

(Source)

Although makeup has a history of being targeted towards women, purposefully assigning a gender to a makeup line could be controversial to the many individuals that don’t identify as male or female, or to the men that already wear makeup. Gender roles, although sometimes helpful, do not always need to be assigned to a product or line. However, having a line specifically targeting men is what so many individuals have wanted for a long time.

The makeup line, though, is doing something that many other companies have been scared to do and is breaking boundaries for men in makeup. Although they are not the first to target men, as Tom Ford released a makeup line for men earlier this year, Chanel is certainly helping society to address a topic that many choose to ignore. For the individuals that have never felt comfortable buying makeup targeted to women, their time is coming.

The simple act that makeup is being targeted towards men is something innovative that once would have been unheard of. The line is doing what men have been craving for so long, and it is understandable that there are plenty of mixed emotions about the line. The makeup line itself is not in aims to help aid in any way issues that men might run into when using makeup, such as hiding stubble from their beards, so it is unclear if the line will be doing anything special compared to its existing lines targeted towards women.

The line will become available worldwide in Chanel’s boutiques in January 2019.