Wednesday, March 3, 2010
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to
interrogate interview Michael Kauffman (a Canadian writer on gender equality working with Dove) and Sharon MacLeod, who works with Unilever. So here are my verging on overly invasive incredibly appropriate questions, and their answers!
tN: Was there a specific reason that you became a gender expert? While gender is fascinating, most people wouldn’t even begin to think of becoming an expert in it — can you explain the allure of it that pulled you in?
MK: I became interested in gender, as I feel it is important for men to speak out in support of gender equality. This comes from our love for the women in our lives and the belief they should, in no way, be second-class citizens. After all, men still make about $1.45 for every $1 women make, men still control many governments, the economy, the media and religious institutions.
Gender equality is also important for men. Even though men have power in male-dominated societies, we pay a price for the way we’ve defined that power. We’re supposed to always be tough and in control and have no feelings. This is impossible for any man to live up to.
tN: Working with Dove, did you notice a specific philosophy towards gender, and if you did, could you tell us more about it?
MK: I was pleased to be asked by Dove to work with them on this campaign aimed at men. We both think we need to encourage men and women to have an authentic discussion about what it means to be men in an era of increasing gender equality. We’ve got to get beyond the macho-hype that has been bad for both women and men, and examine and celebrate our relationships with women, children and other men.
tN: Why would a company choose to create a body care line specifically for men, rather then a gender-neutral one?
SM: Men and women have very different personal care preferences. For many men, purchasing personal care products continues to be a chore born out of necessity, and many men have low expectations of their body washes and soap. However, men tell us that dryness and irritation are their top skin complaints, which led Dove to develop a new range of products specifically formulated for men that offers effective care with the added benefit of leaving skin comfortable.”
tN: We’ve been seeing a lot more men’s lines over the past year or two, from hair dye for men to “guyliner.” Can you explain this push for male personal care?
SM: We’ve always been proud to offer a product that’s viewed as a solution for the whole family – and now we’re excited to be tailoring our line-up with products specifically designed for the unique needs and tastes of men. We know that 40 per cent of current Dove Bar users are men, which is an indication that Dove products are already delivering the results men are looking for. The new Dove Men+Care range of products now gives men the option to choose a product that has been specifically developed to suit their tastes, including a range of masculine fragrances and size and shape of the bar for better handling in the shower.
Now, I feel guilty saying this, because Dove has always been wonderful with their PR personnel, but: is it just me, or do these answers sound
really a little scripted to you? I feel like they’ve been read off cue cards — is that just me? I do know that I trend towards being unusual casual online, so maybe it’s just the PRspeak that’s getting me! Thoughts?
Anyhow, while I was mulling mulling mulling over this interview, I was also checking out some of the new Men+Care products (including the awesome new scrubby thing) and will be reviewing them soon. Mmm, they smell great (and by extension, so do I!) I said it a few days ago and I’ll say it again: I feel a giveaway coming on!
(Yah, I keep mentioning that. Why? Well, I figure if I repeatedly promise one, I’ll a) remember what I wanted to include in it, and b) remember to actually get my ass in gear and do it!)