Personal care products and cologne are reaching a new audience: pre-teen boys. “Lyn Mikel Brown, a psychologist at Colby College and an author of a new book, ‘Packaging Boyhood,’
said the products gave boys the mere illusion of choice. In fact, she
said, they often preach an extreme, singular definition of masculinity
– at a time developmentally when boys are grappling uneasily with
identity. ‘These are just one of many products that cultivate anxiety in boys at
younger and younger ages about what it means to man up,’ Ms. Brown
said, ‘to be the kind of boy they’re told girls will want and other
boys will respect. They’re playing with the failure to be that kind of
guy, to be heterosexual even.’