Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yes, honey.

Okay, so just so you don't think I'm a reactionary, I do think people overreacted on the Method "shiny suds" ad. The lurking bubbles were creepy, yes, but it was part of the message. (While I think a bit overdone.) The commercial didn't seem to be condoning sexual predators or violence against women in my estimation. If anything, it was trying to position the ad against them.

Keeping that in mind, I'd like to draw your attention to the worst ad I've seen in recent memory.

It's the new Dockers "wear the pants" "MAN-ifesto" ad campaign pictured below, which I read about via the Daily News:



Are you KIDDING me right now? Not only is this ad blatantly sexist, but it also is homophobic and reinforces negative gender stereotypes of what it means to "be a real man," (and woman) at the exclusion of anyone who doesn't fit into this limited view. I'm outraged, to be honest. Discos, non-fat lattes, salad bars? As if gay men didn't have enough to be angry about lately. "We need grown-ups"? I need people to grow out of this kind of frat boy mentality. Insinuating that women and gay men and men not being "real men" are at fault for cities crumbling and children misbehaving? Come the hell on. I know it's just an ad. But this kind of thinking (endemic to the advertising world) whether or not it's tongue-and-cheek and whether or not it's just trying to sell a product is dangerous. It represses not only women and the LGBT community, but also MEN. Men, you should be outraged at the suggestion that you are not real men if you don't fit into this narrow box. I find this ad to be hateful.

The creepy thing is, do you know what this reminded me of? An article I read at Slate yesterday, about the Promise Keepers. The Promise Keepers is an evangelical men's ministry, which is now inviting women in to the group despite its overly patriarchal and repressive message. This is a quote from the article:

Women, many of them volunteers, have always attended rallies, but they've played a secondary role. Much has been made of the organization's overall stance toward women and its expectation, some argue, that women continually take a back seat. The Rev. Tony Evans advised men on how to reclaim their leadership roles: "The first thing you do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: 'Honey, I've made a terrible mistake. I've given you my role.' … Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I'm urging you to take it back."

Take it back. The implications of that make me extremely uncomfortable. And the similarities between the message of this extremist (in my opinion) evangelical religious group and the message of the new Dockers ad should make you a bit uncomfortable too, whether you are a woman or a man.

Oh, excuse me. I meant whether you're a "real man" or a "real woman" -- or one of those "androgynous" people they mention in this ad.

Reject these kinds of stereotypes for your own sake. Have the courage to be yourself and to respect other people for who they are. And please encourage the ad industry to do the same. Because I'm not buying what they're selling.


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