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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the cultural and organizational expenditure of women’s labor that masculinizes beauty products, services, spaces, and experiences. Drawing from 9 months of ethnographic observations at two high-service men’s salons—Adonis and The Executive—and fifty interviews with the salons’ employees and clients, the author shows how women bear the burden of making beauty a socially enhancing practice for heterosexual men. Men sitting at the nexus of race, class, and sexual privilege are remade rather than compromised at Adonis and The Executive. The author moves the conversation away from questions focused solely on the clients’ experiences to the labor that makes their consumption possible. This helps to explain how privilege is maintained through everyday organizations, interpersonal interactions, and embodied practices; and how spaces and practices that appear to blur the gender binary may actually reinforce the status quo. The emotional labor especially women beauty workers do, the touching rules by which they are obliged to operate, and the educational work they do as experts to make men competent beauty consumers all pillar men’s access to women’s bodies, sexualities, and emotions.

Keywords: masculinity, beauty industry, grooming, aesthetic labor, cultural capital, feeling rules

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