As gender begins to take a back seat in beauty, Imogen Matthews investigates the new opportunities opening up for brands
CoverGirl announced James Charles as its first CoverBoy
Gender has been much in the media recently, with numerous terms bandied around to highlight diversity and equality issues.
Genderless, gender neutral, transgender, the third gender – all are starting to be accepted in common parlance, and nowhere is this more marked than in beauty, where brands and even product categories have long been differentiated according to gender. Little by little, gender stereotypes in beauty are changing and creating new opportunities for brands to target consumers in a more equitable way.
The demographic most likely to reject traditional gender stereotypes is millennials, aged 18-34. More experimental and individualistic by nature, they are using social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, to express their own personal brand through their appearance. GlobalData’s consumer research confirms this trend, showing that 61% of men globally aged 18-34 prefer to be unique and stand out from the crowd.
“This means that there is a growing rejection of traditional gender stereotypes, both in beauty and the wider gamut of gender-specific product offerings, in the quest for uniqueness and expression,” maintains Jamie Mills, Analyst at GlobalData.
Caitlyn Jenner for MAC
Society’s acceptance of people who do not conform to either male or female has been slow. Transgender, that is the idea that someone could be born into the wrong gender identity and wishes to change, was long considered to be taboo. The shift in the perception of changing sex happened when several high profile individuals made the decision to come forward and speak about their identity, bringing the issue out into the open. They include former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, who transitioned in 2014 and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, member of the famous Kardashian family.
MAC Cosmetics’ announcement of its partnership with Caitlyn Jenner for a lipstick called Finally Free paved the way for cosmetic brands to hook up with non-typical models to front advertising campaigns. L’Oréal Paris was one of the first to get guys involved with its #YoursTrulyTrueMatch campaign last summer, featuring its first male blogger and make-up artist Gary Thompson, aka ‘The PlasticBoy’, alongside a selection of women from across the colour spectrum of ethnic diversity. L’Oréal Paris UK has since . . .
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