There are lots of ways to remember that you are a cis hetero dude in the U-S-A. You can, for example, look at your paycheck and assume, with some confidence, that it is probably bigger than the woman's sitting one cubicle away from you. But for those looking for less, ahem, subtle confirmations of the their masculinity, there is an entire world of branded products that fly the manly man flag high.
And now there is a Tumblr to document all of these products in their macho glory. Writer Eliel Cruz told Fusion that he started Masculinity Is ~So~ Fragile after he read the headline of a recent piece asking, in all seriousness, where all the manly journalists had gone. (Actual quote: "Ernest Hemingway. Ernie Pyle. Jack London. Christopher Hitchens. Whatever happened to journalism as a manly profession?")
"I've seen so many things that I just thought were absolutely ridiculous, and I saw a headline about manly journalists and, as a journalist, I thought, 'OK, I'm doing this," he said. "That's really what pushed me over the edge, seeing my profession be so unnecessarily gendered."
So Cruz started looking for products that were given the Ernest Hemingway treatment, so to speak. Some he finds on his own, some are submissions from other connoisseurs of masculinity, like this soap that comes with an action grip—a manly action grip—in case you need it on the run!
Or these sandwiches that come in "girly," "manly," and "macho" sizes.
The Patriarchy (TM) and The Man (TM) mean that the world provides pretty endless fodder for the Tumblr: "I walk into Wal-Mart and just look around and start taking photos. It's kind of ridiculous," he said.
And while it's an obvious vehicle for mockery—"Bod Man," a body spray for dudes with especially ripped abs, is a personal favorite—rounding up these products in one place is a pretty straightforward reminder of how narrowly enforced gender is, from the packaging of kids' toys to men's razors.
"It's just outrageous…the moment we start allowing masculinity and femininity…or recognize that people don't fall so neatly into those two categories, we see a revolt," he said.
So what happens if a many man eats a girly sized sandwich? "I think if it's not a manly man sandwich he might choke. If it's soap, his skin might melt," Cruz said.
"I mean, realistically, nothing," he added, sounding slightly more serious. "It's a fucking sandwich. It's fucking soap."