At a time when everyone seems to be getting everything wrong all of the time, it’s really nice to be able to say “This brand has done something really cool.” It’s even nicer that I get to say this about Lynx, a brand that historically has been about as forward-thinking as your Great Uncle Bernard after his morning read of the Daily Mail but is now doing fantastic work challenging ingrained notions of toxic masculinity.
Toxic masculinity comes from society’s ideas of what is “manly”, i.e. being loud and sexually predatory and aggressive and strong. It’s the reason why Piers Morgan is comfortable saying that men should “man up” rather than talk about mental health problems, it’s the reason men are often ashamed to talk about abuse, and it’s the reason boys and men worry about whether or not it’s acceptable for them to cry, be a virgin, not enjoy sport or do anything else that doesn’t fit in with a super-masculine persona.
They’re making an effort to use their money to help boys grow into men who are thoughtful and confident enough to be exactly who they want to be
Obviously it’s absolutely fine for a man to be whatever the hell he wants to be, but when you’re 15 and surrounded by friends who all seem to be perfectly happy in the stereotypical role they’ve been assigned it can be hard to believe it. Boys are turning to the internet to see if the things they want to do are allowed, asking questions like “Is it OK for guys to eat tofu?”, “Is it OK for guys to take a selfie?” and “Is it OK for guys to be the little spoon?”, and this is where Lynx comes in.
Lynx’s new advert points out some of the worries that boys are searching for and invites users to check out their YouTube channel where they’ve invited Lynx ambassadors such as boxer Anthony Joshua, musician Josh Franceschi, rapper Wiley and actor Will Poulter to explain exactly why it’s fine for boys to do the things they might be worried about. These videos sit on their channel alongside their “Men In Progress” series where grown men explore different aspects of being a man in 2017 and their “Find Your Magic” advert which showed men that they are sexy and special for their individuality, whether that’s their incredible style, their gorgeous red hair, or being able to bust moves on the dance floor in their wheelchair.
Their videos are diverse in terms of skin colour, age, body type, sexuality and general style, and they all show incredibly cool men who are comfortable with being vulnerable and who are sticking two fingers up to what society wants them to be. I honestly can’t think of anything better to show teenage boys when they’re trying to figure out what type of men they’re going to grow into. And also, that Find Your Magic advert was so sexy that every time I saw it I honestly felt a little bit faint.
Yes, at the end of the day Lynx are still just trying to sell their grooming products. But they could have done this in the tried and tested formula of “man sprays Lynx on his body and girls flock to him”, and instead they’re making an effort to use their money to help boys grow into men who are thoughtful and confident enough to be exactly who they want to be. It’s good for the men, it’s good for the women in their lives, and it’s good for a society as a whole. So well done, Lynx. If you could now make an advert telling men to apply a little bit less of your body sprays, that’d be grand.