Hello, men. If you’re standing in the deodorant aisle wondering whether or not you should pick up that Old Spice, theres now scientific evidence that says yeah, yep, you probably should. According to a study, women perceive men who wear deodorant as “more masculine” which is news that feels diametrically opposed to the notion of masculinity in general, but hey, I’m not a scientist, I’m just a blogger.
From my admittedly-limited understanding of “masculinity” as a construct, I’d think that smelling sort of “unclean” — not showered, a tiny bit rugged, maybe like woodsmoke? — would be the deisred scent to communicate just how masculine you really are. Manly men are manly because they do shit with their hands, break things, and bumble around a house building bookshelves while also dead-lifting the washing machine and playing GTA: Fuck Shit Up. Men are manly because they probaby don’t give a shit about smelling “good” and just want to show you how hard they can crush beer cans and whateInforming my narrow worldview of masculinity and its discontents is a cartoon character named Gaston who eats a bajillion eggs a day and can break leather belts strapped around his neck by sheer force and nothing else.
It’s fair to say that my understanding of masculinity is limited, but it’s also fair to say that as a woman who likes men, I have spent little to no time thinking about masculinity with regards to deodorant use. But, science, that tricky minx, is here to fuck up my world view and set me right. Here’s what that study had to say.
In this study, the researchers asked women (and men) to rate the masculinity of men’s faces, and separately to rate the masculinity of their body odor with or without deodorant. Interestingly, the women’s masculinity ratings of the natural body odors tended to match the masculinity of that man’s face; however, deodorant destroyed this association, meaning that men with less masculine faces were still perceived as having a masculine body odor.
I see! So if a man looks like Gaston and can eat all of the eggs and mow the lawn and explain my period to me, he’s already so masculine that he doesn’t needed the added benefit of smelling like his own Natural Musque™. Great news for manly men everywhere who rip telephone books in half and wear a lot of compression gear to enhance their muscles. But, the unfortunate twist here is that this masculinity injection by way of Old Spice (or Axe Body Spray if you’re Matt McGorry) really applies to men who already have biology working in their favor.
The masculinizing benefits of scented deodorant were only applicable to men whose faces had been rated as “less masculine” in the first place. Men whose faces were rated high on the researchers’ masculinity scale saw no increased masculinity rating from wearing, or not wearing, deodorant.
Okay, so if you’re a man who has a face that isn’t traditionally “masculine” – basically Zac Efron’s body, but a face – then you’re out of luck anyway. Furthermore, if you’re a masculine manly man with pecs like a firm ass and a jawline that could cut glass, all that deodorant’s going to do is make you not smell like a bison. for Science always wins, whether you like it or not, suckers!
Original by Megan Reynolds