A Manly Paper Towel

As weird as this may sound, but today while in office hours with another professor, I finally noticed the relationship between Brawny paper towels, their logo and the literal definition of the word “Brawny”. According to Dictionary.com, Brawny is defined as muscular; strong. Similarly, the paper towel is also advertised as being one of the strongest and being able to clean up anything it encounters.

The man that is pictured on the paper towel seems to represent Connel’s idea of hegemonic masculinity which she believes “has the central advantage of locating male dominance not solely to the microlevel and the inter-personal dynamics of the family, but to the macro-level and the public sphere” (p.588). This paper towel figure illustrates a strong and masculine persona. His posture exemplifies a man who is powerful and essentially an over seer. Additionally, his broad shoulders and muscular arms are things that are associated with men and strength, thus only encouraging the hegemonic masculinity ideology.

I can honestly say that societies expectations of men, and the idea that they should be strong prevented me from making these connections earlier. But now that I have noticed it, I am once again surprised by the ways consumer culture continues to perpetuate gender stereotypes.


Will our society ever able to franchise products without pushing gender stereotypes along the way?

Do these marketed stereotypes help to sell the products?



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