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Letters from Proxima Thule

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Slider, You Stink
So I went to the drug store yesterday because my deodorant is starting to irritate my skin and I needed to switch brands.

justbeast   said: "Oooh! I discovered a new kind that doesn't have aluminum in it, but has silver ions instead!"

And then he became extra adorable and explained with excitement that this is how you make water holy in Russia, by sticking a silver cross in it, because silver purifies, and even his mom kept a jar of water with silver coins in it in the house and gave it to him to drink when he was sick and he's like a walking novel, this guy. I entertained thoughts of holy deodorant and was mildly excited to try the stuff.

Cue the drug store.

A sea of pastel blue "girl" deodorants. A sea of black and red "boy" deodorants. The silver ion stuff is made by Degree. It is only available for boys.

For girls? It says: "Body Responsive for Those Emotional Moments!" and has a picture of a swishing dress without a body in it.

Degree for men has a black case with deep sparkling blue accents, and says Silver Ion Technology in Star Trek font with a picture of a silver atom below it.

And I start to get mad. What the hell is this patriarchal segregating shit in my deodorant? Why is there a reference to emotions on about 50% of the deodorant for women? But the men get SCIENCE on theirs, and not those icky emotions, because they don't have any, even though of the emotional sweaters I know, practically all of them are men. Not to mention the weird sexual undertones of the hip and breast emphasized headless and legless body image and the phrase "body responsive" right next to it.

The thing is, men's deodorant smells like an Abercrombie & Fitch store. It makes me choke. I don't even like it on men. Especially since Axe came on the scene with their patented Date Rape and Douchebag scents. (TM, I'm fucking sure.) So I stare at the stupid girl section for like 20 minutes, because I cannot support this Emotional Moments bullshit, and both Dove and Secret (what is WITH these names?) irritate my skin. Also Tom's of Maine and that crystal crap don't work.

I kept thinking: ok, if you want to be assholes and insist it's the 50s, fine, but if there was a single black case, even if it had a silver swirl or something on it, it would stand out in this pastel miasma, and every girl ever would buy it. Slap a silver necklace on it, I don't care, but I want my magical holy Russian science deodorant!

I kept thinking: omg, it's science fiction and fantasy. The boy's products have atoms on them, the girls have magical sparkles. The boys' say Arctic Edge. The girls' say Gentle Showers. IT'S SO BLATANT. HOLD ME BACK I AM GOING TO RIOT RIGHT NOW.

I kept thinking: we have taken a wrong timeline and are in a grim meathook dystopia. This is morally wrong. WHY DO I HAVE TO SMELL LIKE GENTLE NON-THREATENING SHOWERS OF CHERRY AND FREESIA?!

I ended up buying the silver ion science fiction strong man penis metal boys rule girls drool deodorant. I picked the least strong smelling one and will just live with it. It's not like I like the baby powder girls's scents, either. I want my silver ions, goddammit.

Degree, you suck. The only Emotional Moments (which WAS trademarked, as if Degree owns emotions now) I experienced today were blind rage at being genderfucked by your marketing department. Is there a scent for that?

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I always buy deodorant from the men's section, mainly because I haven't found anything truly unscented in the women's section. (Both genderstoopid sets of artificial smells make me want to rip my nose off.)

I haven't found anything unscented in the men's section either. It's all douchebag club scents.

I have had this moment, this exact moment, in the deoderant isle before. Also, wtf men get to avoid aluminum while women just have to suck it?? Love that cancer-causing agents are gender-specific.

I know! And what cancer is it most linked with? Breast cancer! So slather it on right next to your tits, girls!

And lo, you took marketing lead and alchemised it into PURE RANT GOLD. Gah, I love you.

I hope the silver helps. I've tried finding non-aluminum stuff too and IT irritates me. The crystal stuff was the worst. I've tried alcohol-based ones that just feel gross, so I'm grudgingly back to Secret.

I kinda wish we could just do away with this social convention. Maybe we'd learn to communicate via pheromones.

Erm, having been to a lot of cons, I don't want people to just walk around with their normal scent. It's not good.

(thunderous applause)

You have sent a copy of this to Unilever Products (the makers of Degree), right?

The Crystal stuff seems to work for me, but I actually enjoy buying men's frangrances in shower gel and shaving creme (not Axe of course).

It doesn't work for me at all. I think maybe because it's not an anti-perspirant.

I think next time I buy deodorant I'll be switching to the boy stuff. I can't wear powder deodorants because they cause awful awful medical reactions, and all the gels smell awful. I'm sick of smelling like "Lilac Lavender" or "Winter Apple" or whatever. The body lotion I purchase smells much better, and not like I'm a sixteen year old teeny-bopper out to get to second base this weekend.

The Crystal stuff seems to work for me, but I actually enjoy buying men's frangrances in shower gel and shaving creme (not Axe of course).
SEO Packages

A free Ed Hardy shirt for the purchase of the Axe Date Rape and Douchebag two-pack....

And a hat tip to you, sir!

I can't stand the flowery scents they use in women's deoderant.

I generally stick to the cucumber ones cause they're ther least offensive, to me, of the women's scents.

All the men's scents are too strong. Ugh. Or I'd wear them in a heartbeat.

Ye Gods, I hate the deodorant aisle. Segregation in deodorant, shaving supplwies, hair dye, shampoo... Even worse: look at the difference in prices between shaving items aimed at women and those aimed at men. There's a definite markup for pink razors. Good thing I don't like pink...

I've settled in, deodorant-wise, to the "unscented" version of Secret, which happens to smell rather lightly of a somewhat masculine cologne.

Were there unscented unisex deodorants, I would buy them in a heartbeat!

Yeah, Secret's what I had to switch from, as it was causing small bumps under my arms, which Dove did too a few years back until I switched.

I use boys' razors, definitely. I don't need a pink gel vibrator-razor with flowers on the handle. WTF are the flowers for? I'm razoring. Will they fall beneath my blade?

I use Mitchum, unscented. Marketed to men, of course, (I'm a Mitchum man, my ass...) but it works well and does not stink like either Flowers-n-Herbs or Musk-n-Cedar-R-Us. When they say it's so strong you could skip a day, they mean it.

Yeah, my exhusband used it, which of course means I'm pavloved against it.

Um... I hate, really hate, to detract from the beauty of that rant with a mundane product recommendation.

So I'm gonna do it real fast and then run away. (Has aluminum, sorry.)

Mitchum Sensitive Skin Unscented <--- actually is

This is the kind of shit that makes me feel like everything we fought for in the 60s and early 70s was totally in vain. Some things have gotten better, to be sure, but mostly in the corporate world, and even so not very much. This sort of gender segregated marketing? NOTHING has changed.

(I worked one horrible Giftmas season at Toys R Us during the debacle that was my last stint living in the Bay Area. My domain was the Pink Aisles. They were filled with hideous Bratz dolls and faux babies and Susie Homemaker crap that dated back to the 40s for ghu's sake. This is the way we iron our clothes. I still have nightmares.)

I don't get it. A black case deodorant would sell like crazy among girls. How do they not see this?

(Deleted comment)
I bought Gillette shave cream at the store because it was 1. No-nonsense 2. Didn't come in a pink can and wasn't called "Caress" and 3. Was a lot cheaper than the girlie-branded shave creams. Having decided to shave my legs for the first time in 3.5 years, I was damned if I was gonna give in any more than I had to.

Stay out of toy stores or your head will explode. Then the staff will have to get a girls' house-cleaning toy set out of its pink packaging to mop up the goo, and a boy's blue-and-green dump truck toy to haul the goo away.

Oh but it's all INNATE don't you know? Girls just NATURALLY want to clean, and boys just NATURALLY want to destroy things. You can't fight it! It's natural! And in no way enforced from birth!

My personal attempts at rebellion are renaming my stink products. My mother's scent is called "Moonlight Path," which I renamed, "Midnight Dirt," and then, logically, "Night Soil."

My own "Rain-Drenched Leaves," I call "Moist Bush."

I know it doesn't change a damn thing, but it makes me feel better.

...I do not want to smell like rain drenched leaves.

I used to have this very same issue until I found a Vanilla Spice Chai deodorant. I protect it like it is gold. I should really buy fifteen bars for the day they discontinue it. I know it's going to happen. I can rarely find it in stores.

I use Adidas' Cotton Tech. No aluminum and no patronizing pictures, just a white container with purple text. And it smells nice too.

Beat me to it! Awesome stuff.

That is a whole lot of rage right there. You need your own late night talk show.

Did Degree give you boy cooties?

I haven't used it yet. I'll let you know if I suddenly crumple into a pile of inappropriately gendered goo.

I always buy by sniff test. And I don't care if it's male or female. The hubby and I wore the same one for ages. Then he switched to something else because of allergies. Then I decided I didn't like the white marks anymore and went to a lightly scented female brand.
Luckily, I've not had allergies to any of that yet. Even though I have to be careful of the lotion I put on, as those can cause rashes.
Funny what the body will and won't be allergic to.

On the one hand, I buy gender neutral hippy deodorant both to avoid the aluminum and to avoid the baby power scent of infantilism that the mainstream deodorant wants to slap on me...

on the other hand...I love it when you rant. ~snickers~

While I'm sorry for your blood pressure being raised by rage, I do enjoy that you vent it here.

I agree on all points: good rant, too bad it's necessary.

I like my hippie deodorant -- something mild and tea-tree flavored, my concession to the rest of the world even though I *do* prefer people-smelling-like-people.

I wonder if con-crowds smell different than hippies? most of my time among the unwashed has been with hippies who eat off the farm, rather than fanboys who eat out of plastic bags. I imagine it might contribute to different experiences.

hippie smell (Anonymous) Expand
God, I LOVE the smell of men's deodorant. Especially Lynx. And yes, these people are fucktards who must be punished.

I am really scent sensitive. I love scents and perfume, but if it's one of the sorts I don't like I can't breathe.

I loathe a lot of my deodorant and antiperspirant options. None of them smell like I'd like to smell as a guy. Likewise a lot of soap and body wash. More, I hate the marketing aspect.

You're absolutely spot on about this fuckery. Like you, all I want to do is be clean and not smell bad. Why can't I without being shoved into a truly revolting example of gender binary?

It's funny, girls I know happily switch to boy brands, but I don't know any guys who would switch to a girl brand. Even though I kind of like cherry and freesia scented boys.

I hear ya there. For a long time I *did* use antiperspirants with aluminum, because they were the only unscented kind I could find, and I liked that they worked by keeping you from sweating, not by covering up your stink. The Almay stuff doesn't seem too bad as far as gendered marketing - it has a picture of a leaf on it, and that's about all. But again, aluminum.

Of course, I recently learned just how bad that stuff is, so I reverted to Covering Up Stink deodorant. I'm using some "softly scented" Secret, which smells like baby powder, which I hate. Plus I feel like I get to the end of the day and, well, stink. (My husband tells me this is not so, but I guess I'm ubersensitive because I've been to WAY TOO MANY CONS that smelled of geek).

I dunno. I wish BPAL and Lush made deodorants. Or I wish I could get some unscented silver ions.

My favorite wrinkle of gender stoopid about deodorant? Secret's "Athletic" scent smells like a mens' deodorant.

It smells "like dudes."

Deodorant, in general, angers me because, as Duckman once so accurately put it, "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make an antiperspirant that works past lunch!"

Edited at 2010-02-07 07:32 pm (UTC)

My aunt is very into drinking colloidal silver for health - it's supposed to be good for colds, etc.

reply to colloidal silver (Anonymous) Expand
I remember when Degree was a unisex brand and everyone just smelled "body heat activated - shower fresh"... I miss those days. Now I just smell like an artificial apple when I sweat. Or a strong tropical drink. Either way, it's as my S.O. puts it, "You smell like GIRL!!!"

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