SocImages has done deodorant a number of times. We’ve seen that Degree deodorant uses extreme gender stereotypes in their advertising (for their totally non-natural looking products). Analysis of deodorant advertising also reveals the compulsory nature of femininity and the beauty imperative for women. Men don’t have to worry so much about their armpits because men’s and women’s armpits are completely different. Or rather, women’s armpits are different, and men’s armpits are just armpits.
Here’s another example of men-just-are / women-are-different, this time from Tom’s of Maine. Only, are these even different products?
True, the women’s deodorant mentions it’s “gentle on sensitive skin” (which is what you get when you shave your armpits, I guess). But that’s much less noticeable than the color difference. And, what’s the difference between “unscented” and “fragrance free”?
The label on the back of the human deodorant (left) says hops is not only “odor fighting” but also “helps inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria.” The women’s product (right) has hops, too, but their’s apparently is only “odor fighting”:
As for the “chamomile and aloe” mentioned on the women’s, the ingredients labels show that they both have aloe as well as hops. But it is true that the women’s has chamomile while the human’s has cymbopogon flexuosus, or lemon grass, which actually is an antifungal agent.
Maybe it is reasonable to have these two products. Maybe the average women beats up on her underarm skin so much that she needs something soothing in their deodorant, so the company that sells them a deodorant might not be the villain. But, it doesn’t have to be all about gender (not all women shave, and some men do). How about a totally gender-neutral ad that said, “if you’re a human being who has been shaving and/or waxing your armpits for years, and they get irritated by deodorants, this one is for you.”