This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
He is the modern, successful alpha male that all women fall for and dream of. Clad on the images of suits and sportspeople, he has little or no hair and always grooms himself to perfection because women love a smooth skin and good-smelling man over a brute. The better and more advanced your razor, the better the look. He embodies success in every area of his life. He always gets what he sets his mind to and knows that life favours the well-groomed. Wall Street, the court or pitch, the classroom, the BBQ or garden party. Always looking to the future, never to the past. Look the part and it will all come to you. You‟ve worked hard to get to where you are. Shaving brings you status and pleases the women in your life. Own it. Historical context: Hugh Hefner‟s rise of the Playboy Empire – it is acceptable to always be surrounded by beautiful women and lead a hedonistic lifestyle with no consequences.
THE FEMALE PLANET
Third-wave feminism in the 80s and 90s gave rise to “The Vagina Monologues” and “Sex and the City”. Women challenged double standards: if men can‟t have an erection, it‟s a medical emergency. If women can‟t orgasm, no one seems to think much of it. No more revered wives and virginal girls or femmes fatales that get knocked down in films. There is no “Penis Monologues”. Slowly, it came to be that men could face harassment charges for looking at women in the wrong way. Men lost custody charges for no other reason than just being…men. In quite a lot of Western countries, fathers disappeared from children's lives. Even Disney princesses went from being passive, temperate daydreamers waiting for their prince to come (1937-1960 Snow White & Cinderella) to being gutsy, stubborn and the heroes of their own story (1995-2009 Mulan & Pocahontas). Historical context: More girls than boys have been born in the last decade, producing a female marriage squeeze with more brides than grooms. This means someone has to get „squeezed‟ out of the market for partners. Started in the 70s with the hippie & sexual liberation movements and slowly took over the world, except for countries where men are more numerous and polygamy or birth control is in action.
WHAT’S BECOME OF MEN?
Women continued to make huge strides in many social spheres, including jobs and education (In 2011 they surpassed men in advanced degrees). Main breadwinners no longer, men are less sure about their place. Whatever camaraderie they had in the early generations to either establish social norms or to help each other in hard times is pretty much not observed these days. Church and the army, main bastions of masculinity, rigour and discipline are less and less widespread. With more women than men, men have a wide choice of partners and women (at first unconsciously) become emancipated in order to ensure they get the best spouses to ensure survival of „good genes‟. More men could find partners without having to do much, but nowadays a lot more is expected of them and more educated and intelligent women hold them to higher standards. As a response, in most Western cultures, some younger ones have formed and embraced a "Jackass culture" that keeps men in perpetual spring-break mode. If women ultimately decide, why try harder? Behold the man-child and its many forms. Even some modern toys lost their 'expiration dates,' markers that designate the time children are expected to abandon them. This helps deny the historically essential transition from boyhood to manhood. Behold the man who finds it hard to tell the
difference between toys and genuine adult pleasures. In developing countries, these frustrations manifest themselves in the form of uprisings or wars.
SOCIAL DISRUPTION: TODAY’S WORLD AND MEN
Back to the world of facial hair, men can‟t avoid shaving – however, their facial hair sends out a lot of cues to women, genetically hardwired to read faces and respond to emotional cues in voices. A moustache can stereotype a guy as a young fogey to a woman while a beard earns him a „creep‟ label, rather than the „sage‟ he was aiming for. Men also chickened out of shaving for fear of rashes and burns and are now afraid that even though they‟re nice guys on the inside, their choice of facial hair will say the wrong thing about them. They don‟t know what women like; one day it‟s a baby face, the next it‟s stubble. Nowadays they‟re going through a lot of anxiety about jobs, unemployment, debt, studies and being locked into careers, trading down for less ambitious jobs than before the downturn. There‟s no certainty: the alpha male bankers bribed us with money we didn‟t have for too long. It‟s not a look to aspire to. There‟s an inner turmoil as we shift from one era to the next. We‟re all told to purge and simplify, put up with austerity, keep our head low, not stand out and hope to see things transformed. Gone are the escape-route dreams which involve the dramatic quitting of a job for a career making artisanal chutney over open fires in copper pans. They don‟t want to become corporate drones but they can‟t afford to walk out on a job either. There has to be a better way to stick it to the man. They’ve been made to feel like impostors. Successful by most standards, including their own, they think it‟s due to some mysterious fluke or great effort that they can‟t repeat or look they can‟t recreate. They‟re afraid to celebrate their achievements big and small because it‟ll expose them for the frauds they are – that they can‟t keep up the image their partners expect of them all the time. The thought
of having a family and not being able to provide financially and emotionally horrifies them. As adults, and equally as men, they must realise they have responsibilities to partners, families, and communities beyond their own need for experience and pleasure. Life isn‟t a solo job. Even though you don‟t need to marry nowadays, deep down inside, these men want partners, not live-in enemies. They‟re tired of being depicted in media as clueless, incompetent bumblers or witless brutes in a world of emancipated women. It‟s not cute or funny or ever was. They don‟t want to be accused of seeking “submissive women” when they just want partners who won’t try to emasculate them to make themselves feel “liberated”. This is the man shaving brands forgot. It‟s important because man‟s interests (sexual or otherwise) are forged at birth and during adolescence and don‟t change much across his life. Women‟s vary broadly: what she‟s interested in at 25 is not the same when she‟s 45. Young ones need adventurers, mothers need a father to their children and as they get older they need a companion. If men can fill those three roles over the decades, they‟re lucky. Good news for men is that roles don‟t change, the average age has shifted. This is important to anyone under 35 – 35 is the age when you know who you are but it's not too late to do something about it.
For a long while, Apple was the underdog of the world. It silently became a leader – like the quiet dog that bites hard. Based on austere aesthetics and design principles, it turned plastic and brushed metal into the new gold. Through no coincidence, its poster boys were all men embodying contagious determination and Buddhist-like calm while pursuing their dream with aggression in the background and behind closed doors: Jobs, Cook, Ive, Mansfield. Men who made products for themselves and for the sake of doing them well. Globally speaking, Obama‟s “yes we can” also personified the same determination that moved a nation out of its comfort zone to vote with the first black president. They are the people and brands that persevered when others gave up and finally had their talents recognised. Last but not least, the Japanese earthquake also reminded people of what collective resilience and stoicism in front of adversity means. Historically, it felt just right and it‟s almost like the planets aligned for them: most of the world is slowly crawling out of a recession. It‟s rejecting trash-luxe and excess (e.g. Gallianos and P Diddy‟s of this world), celebrating the hand-made, not the line manufacturing, the tradition that global factories cannot catch up with or recreate. It looks for discipline and restraint. It rejects the „young fogey‟ look and carefullycrafted hipster haircuts, style over substance and collective daydreaming. It celebrates buying more but buying well, micro-breweries instead of watered-down
lagers and spirits, football teams and managers that are like true commanders going into battle and not celebrity breeding grounds for expensive disappointments. Effort is ephemeral, hard to measure and incredibly difficult to deliver on a regular basis – it‟s about what you do not because you have to, but because you can. Just like with shaving: the routine men are missing from their lives.
IDEOLOGY & TACTICS
Based on the idea that men enjoy the fruits of their labour more than women do theirs, what do they fight for, if they can't fight to win in a world dominated by women? They fight for power and they fight as a way of voicing their objections. King of Shaves needs to step away from the status-obsessed alpha male because just shaving won‟t turn you into a hero these days. Shaving is one of the first steps to gaining back territory and starting to be taken seriously again. Shaving isn‟t easy but nowadays nothing is. No one wants to see you succeed when they have not. We‟ve all swept today‟s possibility under tomorrow‟s rug until we can‟t anymore. We started learning our own lessons. Knowing is better than wondering, waking is better than sleeping. The biggest failure, even the worst mistake beats the hell out of never trying. Unhappy and unsure? Don‟t give up because it‟s hard; give up if it‟s no longer worth it to you. It’s not about being a better man than the rest, which you are, but making others better too. You can‟t escape the history you were meant
to make and you‟re not going to make it by looking like you just got out of bed. You have a lot of catching up to do. Everything is sold as luxury or premium – God forbid anyone just has a humble, hardworking home. Not King of Shaves. It‟s for men who don’t have it easy but are inspired by the challenge. For those who seek out large and complex jobs because trivial tasks debase them. Not a zillion blades made of adamantium*. Just enough blades. King of Shaves needs to talk to men who are looking to cultivate more powerful emotional and adrenalin rushes. They are not going to come from the outside – women are there, high on them, riding the wave. They are not going to be expensive toys because who can afford them nowadays? No one wants a doormat. King of Shaves is for the man who stands up for what he believes in because people will have to respect him, begrudgingly or otherwise. Any idiot can face a crisis. It‟s the day-to-day life that wears people down. You don‟t want to be proving everyone right – that you can‟t rise up to the challenge. Making an effort to shave every day will not go unnoticed. It requires all the courage you have left wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head. But it‟ll be worth it. You can hate women for ruining absolutely all of your friends, but you can’t blame them.
KING OF SHAVES MANIFESTO
You never thought it could happen to you. It started with a single moisturiser and now you‟re softer than that kale-scented man cream you rub under your eyes three times a day. What went wrong? It‟s been a while since you last sat down to think about who you are, what you want. You let that worry you. Stubble doesn't make you “look a little bit like Clooney”; it makes you look tired and sloppy. Shaving everywhere isn‟t the „art of manscaping‟; it‟s turning into a part-time porn star. Didn‟t you have enough problems, hair aside? So listen here. Your body’s a map and hair the invading army. If you don't control the front line, there's no reason to stay in the fight. And if you don‟t fight, why call yourself a man? When you shave first thing, you‟re like a creature of the deep slowly walking on the bottom of the ocean, crushed by dark waters. It‟s a long, lonely walk. Days, maybe weeks of growth are falling away, like your head crashing through the sea‟s briny ceiling. You‟re walking up to the beach, sun shining down. You‟ve shed the burden. The memory of the weight of those waves will live in you, the following you for the rest of your life, day in, day out. It may be messy and hard but it certainly beats not trying. Trying makes you great. Trying makes you a man. Trying lets you take in all the good things life has to offer. You can hate women for what they’ve done to other men, but you can’t blame them. Take it like a man and get shaving, not putting on „designer stubble‟. It‟s about making the effort and looking your best even when no one‟s watching. Signed, King of Shaves