By this point in history, dear reader, you must surely have noticed that there’s a certain bias against the male gender in advertisements and sitcoms. I don’t worry so much about sitcoms because they’re not coercing me to consider the purchase of a product and no one watches them anyway.
But advertising is a different story. Consider the following scenario: I’m relaxing in front of the idiot box and a commercial starring a couple airs. They could be walking through the park, shopping, driving in a car, whatever. But the woman will be portrayed as all-knowing and wiser than Methuselah, even if she looks no older than 25, while the man will do or say something stupid. He will be belittled by the woman and the commercial will end. And then another will appear, with a stupid man thrown in the mix somewhere.
The ads don’t even have to contain women. Advertisements for alcoholic beverages routinely make men on their own look idiotic. OK, alcohol and idiocy often go hand in hand, but still, why do we never see just how hideous members of the “fairer sex” get when they’re loaded? Furthermore, the guys in the beer or alcopop commercials usually aren’t even drunk yet.
By the end of this barrage, after I’ve been not-so-subtlely told that I must be a hopeless dolt simply because of my gender, I’m expected to seriously consider the purchase of goods or services from companies that have just insulted not just me, but my male family members and buddies.
Remarkably, it’s not just white men who are on the receiving end of this bigotry. If a black couple is portrayed, the guy receives the same awful treatment. This is perhaps the only instance in which you can actually make a black man out to be a dumb-ass and get away with it.
It’s a shame because, in the past, commercials were quite good at taking all the bits and pieces of our daily routine and making light of them. The tricky or annoying situations we so often find ourselves in, regardless of our gender, were being made fun of. It was effective but harmless humor.
Now advertising executives have taken it too far by twisting the logic to make men the constant source of what makes those bits and pieces of daily life so irritating. It doesn’t do women much justice if advertisers think that there must be a man-bashing element to their sales strategy.
I think it’s good and healthy for our society that women are now respected in a way they certainly weren’t 50 years ago. Unfortunately, the live-and-let-die mentality is not being displayed here. Now that they’ve asserted themselves, the feminists in the news, entertainment, and advertising industries have been hell-bent for years on turning the tables and “getting some get-back” with men.
The impact this of insidious attitude on our advertising cannot be denied. Young males watch TV, get this garbage soaked into their brains that there’s something wrong with them, and then grow up to be emotionally deficient, reckless, and possibly self-loathing. Testosterone and low self-esteem do not make a good combination.
This “men as privileged” mindset is bunk. As Glenn Sacks and Richard Smaglick point out in their article “Advertisers: Men Are Not Idiots,” ”Yes, men do make up the majority of CEOs, politicians, and powerbrokers. They also make up the majority of the homeless, the imprisoned, suicide victims, and those who die young.” But one can only suppose that’s not a concern to militant feminists in the ad industry and their left-wing, cojones-lacking sympathizers who are clearly given a reason to continue to make fun of men and all that’s wrong with them.
It was believed at one time that men did not care how they were portrayed. But a 2005 study conducted by advertising company Leo Burnett Worldwide found that four out of five men were concerned by the anti-male bias in commercials and found that men suffer from an identity crisis.
In an age where soundbites are crucial, and no one has the time or wherewithal to delve into the logic behind them — especially when it’s erroneous — how people are portrayed is a serious matter. It’s time advertisers put the focus on selling their products, not pursuing agendas or pushing propoganda.