This Father's Day, I’m reflecting on the remarkable men in my life. Why are they remarkable? They have integrity, they’re selfless, they empower women and they put their families first. They show both empathy and courage when the time calls for it. And they aren’t afraid to be themselves. 

As a founder of a sustainable self-care brand that offers gender-neutral products, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with both men and women and understand their preferences, needs, and barriers when it comes to their self-care routine. My customers are roughly reflective of the population, half men, and half women, despite the fact that women typically make the majority of purchasing decisions in their households. 

I recently read a research study that disappointed me: caring about the environment isn’t seen as traditionally masculine. This stereotype – held by both men and women –  stems from the idea that sustainability corresponds to nurturing and cooperative attributes traditionally associated with women. These traits are at odds with conventionally masculine traits such as dominance and competition. This reality conflicts with my own reality – and the remarkable men I mentioned – who selflessly put their families first and make sacrifices to support the greater good. 

I share this not as a criticism of men, but in defense of them. Our society restricts men in unfair ways, distancing them from causes they may care about and routines they may want and need. Not only are men pressured to validate their masculinity with their choices, but they are also limited to scents and products that are considered "masculine." I’m often asked by both men and women: “Do you have any bar soap for men?” My answer: “Yes, we have bar soap for anyone with skin.” I loved Old Spice’s “Men have skin, too” campaign because it reinforces something we often forget: men can enjoy self-care, too. And they can choose any scent that brings them joy: whether that’s something citrusy or woodsy or herbal or anywhere in between.

Not only are these stereotypes unfair to men, but they also inhibit the progress we as a society desperately need. Caring for the environment is a universal responsibility that requires everyone’s participation. So today, and always, let’s allow men to select products they genuinely enjoy, irrespective of societal expectations. Because true masculinity lies in confidence and authenticity.

Happy Father's Day to all the amazing men leading the way toward a brighter future!

☀️✌️ Sarah

Sarah Spliethoff