“Hello, Internet!” Dan gestures his traditional greeting, smiling more brightly than he has in his past few videos. His dimples are more in evidence, and there is a brightness to his face. His cheeks seem to have filled out a bit, and he has less of a hollow look to him. He is sitting on the edge of his bed with its familiar black-and-white duvet, fairy lights shining cheerily behind him. His old Tonberry plushie is visible in the background, leaning against the pillow.
“Today I’m here to talk to you about cordless hammer drills and chocolate golf balls.” He pauses for dramatic effect.
He tilts his head inquisitively. “’What do these things have in common?’ you may ask yourself. Well, the thing they have in common is that they are very specifically marketed to men, and I find that sort of gender-specific marketing highly offensive. ‘But you already talked about this issue in your last video about feminism,’ you may reply with your annoyingly accurate memory. Well, that video was more about historical oppression and Disney princesses and assumptions about feminine passivity, and this one is more about how societal expectations of men based purely on an arbitrary physiological trait, which is to say, ‘We have dicks, and companies like to make us aware of it at every opportunity and sell us objects and ideas based on that fact,’ all of which is, of course, utterly ridiculous.”
Dan pulls out a white box of Lindt chocolate golf balls and holds it up in front of his face, only his brown eyes showing, and rolls his eyes down to stare at it dramatically. “Exhibit One: Lindt chocolate golf balls. I keep seeing these in shops, and they irritate the hell out of me.” He pulls the box away from his face and holds it beside his head to look at it. “Why would a chocolate company feel a need to make a product related to sport? I mean, what does chocolate have to do with sport in the first place? And why choose a sport with so little representation by women? I mean, they didn’t choose volleyballs, or footballs, or fucking shuttlecocks, but golf balls. And who plays golf? Mainly old white men, that’s who. And Tiger Woods, but … you know … he also has a dick. Especially if the stories I’ve heard have any basis in reality.”
He opens the box and removes two of the chocolate golf balls, gingerly weighing one in each hand and gazing at them with open disgust. “Not to mention the obvious symbolism.” He looks at the viewers and grimaces. “Do I really want to eat some metaphorical testicles? Um … no thanks.” He puts the balls back into the box and then tosses the box over his shoulder, where it bounces off the bed and can be heard crashing to the floor behind him.
“Exhibit Two,” Dan intones, and pulls a cordless power drill box into frame. “You may remember this cordless power drill from my first video after I got my own flat. I waved it around and said it was a symbol that ‘I’m now a MAN!’” Dan turns in profile to stare at the box and grimaces again. “What a load of rubbish.” He then hefts the box a couple of times and says, “This thing is fucking heavy. I’m going to put it down.” And he sets the box on the bed beside him.
“In this day and age, plenty of women live on their own and learn how to fix things in their flats, just as men have to do when they first live alone. Putting screws into walls or fixing a faucet are not gender-specific activities or skills—we’re all capable of Googling how to do them—and the fact that EVERY single power drill I saw at the shop had a photo of a man on the box offended me tremendously. I mean, it might be even worse if they had specific ones with photos of women on the box, maybe a pink box, marketed specifically to women, like women need a different kind of power drill. What does gender have to do with home DIY? Nothing. But this kind of packaging only perpetuates the societal expectation that men will buy and use products like these, and that women won’t. And I, for one, have never used the stupid thing except as a prop in videos, because I’m just not into DIY.”
Dan removes the cordless power drill from its box and presses the trigger to rev it a few times, staring at it with wide eyes. Then he turns to look at the camera, the drill still visible, pointed upward at a safe distance from his head, and intones, “And let’s notice, AGAIN, the obvious symbolism.” Dan sets the drill on the bed and leans back slightly with both hands on the duvet behind him. He licks his lips in a mimicry of seduction and performs some vague hip thrusting movements, lifting his butt off the bed repeatedly as he moans, “Oh baby. Check out my … cordless power drill!” then rolls his eyes. He puts the drill back in the box, makes as if to throw it over his shoulder, then visibly rethinks the action. “Okay, no. I don’t want to break my lamp or something. We’ll just put this on the floor.” And he moves the box out of frame, placing it on the floor near his feet. “But in my mind, I’m tossing it. Just so you know.”
“I feel like this sort of marketing perpetuates a stereotype of men as golf-playing, power drill-wielding towers of machismo, and that’s not me, and that’s not most of the men I know. I mean, Tyler Oakley is just as much of a man as Evan Peters or John Cena or Kanye.” Dan stops abruptly and brings a single finger to his chin, clearly thinking deeply for a long moment.
“Okay, no.” Dan looks regretful, shaking his head slightly. “Nobody is as much of a man as Kanye.” His dreamy facial expression is clearly exaggerated for comedic effect. “But you know what I mean. And trans men are just as much men as anybody else. I mean, I met Jake Edwards and Alex Bertie, two other British YouTubers, at Summer in the City, and they’re just as much men as me or Taylor Lautner.” He holds up a hand. “Not that I’m comparing myself to Taylor Lautner. Though, you know,” his hand lowers to stroke his belly, “under this shirt, I totally have Native American werewolf abs.” He nods gravely.
“But none of this matters anyway, because gender is just an irrelevant, artificial construct probably created primarily to make sure that the ‘wrong’ people didn’t marry each other or have sex. But, hey, society’s working that one out now, or making progress on the issue, at least, so just … screw gender. It sucks as a concept and doesn’t help anything or anybody.”
“To be honest, I don’t even identify as a man … I don’t rely on some specific part of my physical anatomy to define who I am… I identify as a person. So I’d appreciate it if companies stopped trying to market things to me based on the contents of my pants. And I’d appreciate it if society stopped trying to define us all by physiological traits we have no control over without extensive, expensive surgery.”
“So I’m here to say to you … don’t let anybody else tell you how you’re supposed to be, regardless of what your body looks like. All that matters is that you’re happy with who are, that you feel comfortable with yourself, and that you surround yourself with people who support and accept you. Maybe you like being a man, maybe you like being a woman, maybe you identify somewhere in between or reject the entire concept. It’s all good. You be you, and be happy. That’s what’s truly important.”
Dan looks earnestly into the camera. “I know some of what I’ve said in this video is controversial, and some of you might disagree with me, but I’m interested to hear your thoughts, so write them in the comments or tweet me @danisnotonfire with the hashtag #genderthoughts, and let’s get another discussion going. I think that, regardless of your position, this is an important issue to talk about and think about, so let’s do that.”
A thumbnail appears in the upper right and Dan gestures to it. “In the meantime, click here if you want to check out my somewhat related previous video, ‘Why I’m A Feminist.’ If you liked this one, I think you’ll find it interesting.” He waves his hands in front of and around his face and continues, “And click on my face if you’d like to subscribe to my channel and see more videos like this one.” His hands stop moving and his eyes are warm when he adds, “And thank you to all of you danosaurs who have been subscribing or re-subscribing recently, because it helps encourage me to keep making videos about things that really matter to me, like this one.”
Dan’s smile broadens again. “So, anyway, that’s me, and I’m over and out. Have a good one, and be happy.” Dan gestures a simple salute of his hand from his forehead, the screen explodes into fire, a boom reverberates, and the video ends.