Written by Dotty Winters

In The News

Clean jerks

Detergent especially for men? Unsurprisingly, Dotty Winters has got some other ideas.

We may have to remove this photo soon; it's just too manly for us.

We may have to remove this photo soon; it’s just too manly for us.

The US market now offers a choice of three different male detergent brands. They come in manly bottles that look like car oil and have musky-cologne-inspired scents and rugged boy-marketing (and names like Dirty Boy). The makers say they aim to provide more choice for men and break down gender stereotypes about who should do the laundry.

At first glance this seems ridiculous – like grenade-shaped bath bombs, moustache oil and Jeremy Clarkson – simply more evidence that masculinity has become a fragile concept. A grown-up, commercialised version of the belief that boys won’t play with pink things (a claim which is patently false as many willies are pink and they play with those ALL THE BLOODY TIME). But then I wondered if they had a point.

Yesterday I did the laundry; it was my turn and we’d run out of pants. I delicately scooped the pretty coloured powder out of the designer-inspired celebration canister with my Hello Kitty laundry scoop and sprinkled it into my crushed velvet Cath Kidston washing machine.

“Just look at the name, BOLD – they may as well have called it Vaginal Suds, it is so exclusionary.”

I felt deep satisfaction and joy as I inhaled the floral scent which had been tailored to appeal to my girly, shoe-seeking nostrils. Then it hit me. I had been blinded by female privilege.

Poor men, it must be horrid to constantly battle the horrific oppression of being excluded from laundry. I am confident that branding is the main reason they aren’t (on average) doing a fair share of household labour.

Just take my washing powder of choice, BOLD. You might not have heard of it; it has only been available since 1974. Just look at the name, BOLD – they may as well have called it Vaginal Suds, it is so exclusionary. I assume they rejected the strapline ‘not for boys’ because you would never get away with an advertising slogan which was so blatantly discriminatory.

The design is awful too. For a start it is blue, which everyone knows was a ‘girl’s colour’ in Victorian times. And it features science-words and the sex parts of flowers, which will definitely befuddle manly-minds.

Clearly the need for male detergent is urgent. This is the very finest in positive action, because as we know, being excluded from something that you didn’t want to do, is very much the same thing as being excluded from things that you DEFINITELY want to do. Fact.

I jest, of course. The proof of any new innovation will be in the washing; in a few years when men are doing an equal share of laundry I’ll wish I had been more supportive. If this product achieves its lofty aims I will be delighted, even if I accidentally fill my car up with fabric softener when I get the bottles confused (girls be ditzy).

Who would ridicule male detergent other than the very worst sort of Feminazi? After all, perhaps this will prove to be a massive breakthrough for gender equality. If it is, we must go further; there is no room for complacency. I am getting moving with product development for the following vital innovations:

DirtyBoy detergent. For MEN.

This doesn’t even need a caption to poke fun.

• Megaldiron™: An iron shaped like a shark. We must stop excluding men from domestic chores, and nothing says ‘manly’ more than a bitey sea creature. It beeps and gives you points every time you obliterate a crease. We are going to need a bigger ironing basket.

• MoustacheBlasterz™: A gun-shaped facial epilator. Ladies, stop hogging all the facial insecurity. We can make men feel like shit about their natural bodies too. Guys, spot a moustache appearing? Aim an epilator gun at your head. Grrrrrr.

• Manpons™: just like tampons, except they are steel-grey and exempt from VAT (we aren’t savages). Why should girls get to have all the five-day bleeding fun?

• FlayGun™: spud peeler for boys. Gents, we care about your potato-ey bumps, that is why we are creating the five-bladed peeler; the best a mash can get.

• PunchBag™: Anti-wrinkle serum, for yer balls.

Right, think that is First World equality sorted; what’s next?


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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.