Hard-core gendering

Now visible on tv and on the net: Manly Bands, wedding rings and engagement rings for real guy guys: deeply masculine bands that avoid the mere prettiness of so many of the usual rings (and any possible associations with femininity) — and are advertised with over-the-top testosterone-steeped prose.

An ad from the net:

Need a wedding band that’ll make you wanna run up a flight of stairs to the Rocky soundtrack? These bestsellers’ll do the trick.

The content is about achieving great physical prowess, emulating a winning prize-fighter. The style of the text is studiously informal (that’ll, wanna, bestsellers’ll) and slangy (do the trick) — guy talk.

The copy on the company’s site is in fact much more elaborately gendered as masculine than this.

And then there’s the name Manly Bands.

manly bands. A fairly elaborate form of half-rhyme, in which the paired words have rhyming initial parts — /mæn/ and /bæn/ — but different following parts.

Then on the sociosemantic side, the item manly. Basic facts from NOAD:

adj. manly: [a] having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage and strength: looking manly and capable in his tennis whites. [b] (of an activity) befitting a man, especially in a traditional sense: the manly art of knife-throwing.

Near-synonyms include virile and masculine, but manly has a “poetic” feel to it that makes it sound faintly ridiculous in some contexts. To my ear, it’s more than a bit over-the-top in manly bands — like you should drop your voice to basso in pronouncing the manly.

Rings for real men. From the company’s site:

Buying a wedding band doesn’t have to suck

The best damn wedding rings period. Free shipping on most rings worldwide. Free Warranty. Freedom for your hand to look like YOU want it to look.

Whether you’re looking for men’s wedding rings or engagement rings, we’ve got you covered. Use the menu above to browse through the different manly materials we offer like damascus steel, tungsten, carbon fiber, wood inlays, and diamonds. Here at Manly Bands we only create really cool wedding rings for really cool folks, so if that’s you, and I’m sure it is, then click around to see what appeals

(Note: suck; best damn)

This is still quite modest, and the “How we work” section is jokey and self-mocking:

Each Manly Band is birthed from a different kind of manliness, wrapped with fire and testosterone and then shipped off with courage and kindness from our impenetrable warehouse fortress in Lehi, Utah, or our manly ring making lair in Canada.  [the site then provides ordering details]

The site caters to various different sorts of guy guys — there’s a section recommending wedding rings specifically for sports fanatics, beach bums, and burly guys.

But then we get to the actual rings, and the write-ups are absurdly overgendered.

Start with the names of the rings. The list of most popular styles (each indexing a type of high-masculine man):

— in tungsten: The Cowboy, the Baller, the Rockstar, the Gentleman, the Instigator, the Model, The Whiz

— in black zirconium: the Fitzgerald

Two examples, the Baller (could it have been cruder?) and the Whiz, with their ad copy.

(#1) One of several rings in brutal black; this is in black plated tungsten

Be the Baller: Fast cars, hot girls. You are the consummate bachelor who finally decided to settle down. Exude confidence with this sleek look.

(#2) Going more for a classy appearance; this in tungsten with 14k rose gold plated sleeve

Be the Whiz: Maybe it’s because you’re innovative as hell, but figuring out new business ideas is much more your jam than jewelry. We give you, a band to rule them all.


2 Responses to “Hard-core gendering”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    We give you, a band to rule them all.

    This line makes the whole thing worth it (at least for Tolkien fans). It also permits me to mention my brother’s first wedding ring (i.e., the ring he wore for his first wedding [of two altogether]), which was a plain gold band, complementing the slightly more ornate gold band worn by the bride. He said it looked like his idea of the One Ring. (As far as I know, nobody ever tried the experiment of putting it into a fire to see if an incantation in (Mordorian) Black Speech would materialize.)

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