Posted by: Ophelia | February 11, 2009

What about the men? Cracked Edition

Cracked made a post about the 8 TV Ads that Hate Women (how did they narrow it down to 8 I wonder). It features the tried and true women like shiny things, housework, yogurt, and can’t drive stereotypes. The comments however come out with “what about the men”.

This is so true, but what about the ads that all show the blatant (and completely insulting) stupidity of the Average Male.

Man: “Honey, I can’t seem to get the hang of painting this fence with my face, no matter how much asphalt I use.” (cut to shot of Woman using the Wagner Power Painter and looking at her husband as if he’s just the CUTEST little stupid mammal.
Or what about the commercials for cold medicines?
Man: (in a whiny, childish voice) “My nose is all runny, I’m coughing and my tummy hurts. Also, my penis seems to have eliminated my ability to remember how I cared for myself before you came into my life and asked for large diamonds.”

Woman: (with condescending smile) “Here you go, man thing. They make medicine for that now. Have some DayQuil. Maybe you’ve heard of it.”

Now how about an article where men are shown us complete stereotypes. The article would be 100 pages long.

sharing-houseworkFirst you have to get past the presumption that the commercials that show men as idiots are more prevelant than the ones that are meant to make women appear shallow, useless, or not good enough without x product. Once you get past this (if you can–it’s hard to wrap your mind around this type of logic), it’s time to pay attention to that thing behind the curtain. It’s good old patriarchy and it baked you some delicious gender rolls.

Advertisers are working under the presumption that women are the main consumers of the household, so they gear commercials towards them the majority of the time. You’ll notice that practically any commercial for laundry detergent, bleach, toilet cleaner, windex, or the like have women demonstrating how the product will keep their family from imploding. I think that showing men as bumblers goes towards the mothering aspect women are supposed to cultivate–even before they become mothers.

It goes to the concept of the better half–that men go out and work but they just can’t figure out anything around the house ladies! Now it’s your time  to shine and take care of your family with (insert name of product here)! The prevailing notion seems to be that men don’t know about cooking, cleaning, child care, how to care for a common cold, etc. because they aren’t supposed to–ladies this is your job. The commercials these men are complaining about are equally unfair to both genders. The guy gets shown as a doofus and the woman gets shown as the savvy consumer–rather than the more likely situation of an equally stressed, irritated person who wants to know when her husband forgot how to do anything for himself. These commercials are supposed to make women feel better I guess, that the home is truly their domain and the men just can’t handle it.

Instead they just reaffirm the whole housemaker ideal but buttress it with “your family is actually helpless and they’ll wither and die if you don’t make them prepackaged foods, do the laundry, care for their illnesses, spray fabric deodorizer and much much more.” On the flip side you have the commercials geared towards men which show women as helpless to resist whatever they’re selling, remember Axe commercials? How about shaving creams, diamonds, flowers, hair coloring and the like?

Sexist advertising is sexist advertising, no matter who it is directed to, “what about the men” ignores the idea that the commercials that show women helpless over jewelry and the commercials that show men helpless over anything mildly domestic are two sides of the same coin. We’re complaining about the same thing–really.

*Any idea what’s going on in that sharing housework picture? It looks like he’s folding the laundry and she’s throwing it away–maybe he didn’t use enough fabric softener.



  1. Commercials during football games are the worst. My husband is a big football fan and will watch every game that’s aired. I absolutely hate the commercials. The beer commercials are ridiculous.

    There was also a commercial that aired a few years ago for some sort of frozen pizza (DiGiorno, maybe), where there were some men watching football in a backyard asking their wife to order them a pizza, but the woman came out with a frozen pizza that was so good they thought it was delivery. The men in the commercial were bumbling baffoons, and of course the woman is serving them their pizza while they sit on their asses watching football. That one used to drive me nuts.

    I also hate when I catch a glimpse of the cheerleaders when my husband watches football. When I was a kid, the cheerleaders wore sweaters and skirts. Now they’re wearing what seems to be something that’s more like beachwear.

  2. I had really enjoyed that post on Cracked. But at the same time I knew the comments would be a train wreck. I hate being right.

  3. 3 things:

    “It’s good old patriarchy and it baked you some delicious gender rolls.”

    1. Are you suggesting that as a man he’s had some role in creating patriarchy? I’m pretty sure we ALL inherited it just the same. I hope I read that wrong.

    2. I think his larger point is that sexism against men generally goes unnoticed or at least unacknowledged.

    3. Sexist advertising, for the most part, takes different forms when directed at women than when it’s directed at men. The fact that it far more often takes a comedic form when launched at men (usually through shaming) isn’t an issue you can ignore.

  4. I don’t intend to be snarky but as to point 1. the quote makes more sense when attached to its context

    “Once you get past this (if you can–it’s hard to wrap your mind around this type of logic), it’s time to pay attention to that thing behind the curtain. It’s good old patriarchy and it baked you some delicious gender rolls.” The phrase indicates that patriarchy is the motivation behind sexist commercials geared towards men and women–not that any individual poster on cracked has created patriarchy.

    2. I felt their larger point was to suggest that one form of sexism is worse/being ignored since they seem to think that the commercials aren’t two sides of the same coin.

    3. No where did I suggest that because the commercials attempt to take a turn for the comedic (when geared towards men and women) makes it less sexist. The entire post is about how advertisers try to pull the wool over consumers eyes by using gender stereotyping. It isn’t about how comedic advertising is better/worse/different. And if you’ve read the blog before you’d certainly notice that humor is never accepted as an excuse or explanation for sexism.

  5. The men of our generation, or the previous generation, or the generation prior to that may not have CREATED the patriarchy, but we’re also the group of people doing the least to change it. Especially us white males, since we benefit the most from it.

  6. “It’s good old patriarchy and it baked you some delicious gender rolls.”

    Hahahahahaa! Next, could it bake me some partriarchy pie, plz?

    Also, as for what is going on in the picture, they are clearly “doing laundry” as a front for poppy seed cultivation. Just look at those rolling fields out their window–they’ve even got some already in bloom in their flower box!

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