I Would Like to Weigh in on CoverGirl’s New CoverBoy on Behalf of the Mansplaining Patriarchy

Stop what you’re doing, everyone, a man wants to say something
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Everybody’s talking about CoverGirl’s first CoverBoy, James Charles. The media coverage has been positive and the comments from readers supportive. Unfortunately, no one has gotten around to asking the mansplaining patriarchy how we feel yet. So as a red-state-born, meat-eating, football-loving, gun-shooting, eight-baseball-hats-owning, married (to a woman) white man in his 40s, I just want to say … THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME.

I also want to say right up front: My approval here does not matter even a little bit. Oh, yeah, good, some straight guy thinks it’s OK for CoverGirl to have a male model. All of our gender politics issues have been solved. Now this dude can go back to playing Madden ’17 without guilt while we fight for our rights out here. This is not about my approval. It’s about saying something I know a lot of other guys would like to say but lack the platform of working for a website with a national audience: we support the shit out of this.

Why can’t there be a male CoverGirl? CoverGirl is a business, and if it thinks it can move more Colorlicious Lip Lava gloss with a 17-year-old male as the face of its company, go for it. You know who this doesn’t affect? Guys like me who didn’t even know there was a Colorlicious Lip Lava gloss until I Googled “CoverGirl products” 30 seconds ago for the purpose of injecting an article about a heavy topic with a dollop of humor through the addition of a specific detail.

And, hey, why can’t Charles and other guys beautify their faces with make-up? And I do mean beautify, because Charles is crazy good at it. THAT HIGHLIGHT, THO (I didn’t write that line and don’t know what it means but I was told it was appropriate.)

I mean, seriously. I’m the guy who goes to Chinese buffets alone and reads Sports Illustrated. I wear black socks with white tennis shoes to the mall. I am un-ironically norm-core. Makeup is not my world, but what Charles is doing here is, objectively speaking, creative and beautiful and wonderful.

Of course, this poor kid has haters, and they message him on his various social media accounts. Even with filters in place, some of the hate gets through. Do you remember being 17? Do you remember how devastating ANY criticism felt at that age? How much needing everyone in the world to like you mattered? Now imagine being called all manner of names and words by grown adults simply because you are you. Would you have been mature enough to respond like this?

“I have a thick skin, and I’m definitely not willing to let someone without anything better to do than hate on someone else behind a keyboard get into my head.”

In another interview he said:

“Breaking gender norms just comes instantly as soon as a boy is comfortable and confident enough to put on makeup. I think it’s so important to love who you are and be comfortable in your own skin.”

I’m not just rooting for Charles because he’s talented and he’s an underdog, and because it’s a free country. I’m all in because a society that welcomes everyone – well, that’s beautiful.


Joe Donatelli is Senior Writer at Los Angeles magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @joedonatelli and Facebook. He wrote The Moment You Realize Your Soul Belongs to Los Angeles.