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Dear media: My husband is not a moron

1st August 2008

Dear media: My husband is not a moron

posted in Personal |
Homer Simpson - Mini automatic 1970

If a person from a remote, foreign nation wanted to visit the United States and first researched our culture solely by watching television and reading magazines, they’d probably think that most American men are hopeless idiots.

There’s the popular glass cleaner commercial in which a balding man with a pronounced gut wakes up in his easy chair and thinks he must be in the wrong house. His thin, beautiful wife smiles patronizingly on as he franticly runs around the house until he runs stupidly into the glass paneled wall. Then there’s the Kohler commercial in which a married man spies a hot female plumber next door, so he proceeds to pour everything but the bathroom sink into his own toilet. His, of course, thin and beautiful wife surprises her open-mouthed husband as he’s pouring dog food down the drain. And then there are the not-so-funny commercials, like the one Snicker’s manufacturers recently pulled in the U.K. In the commercial, a man is speed-walking down the street when 1980s icon Mr. T comes barreling around the corner, firing candy bars at him and calling him a “disgrace to the man race.” The ad ends with the tagline “get some nuts.”

From Homer Simpson to According to Jim, today’s media men are often depicted as bumbling, lazy, incompetent idiots who drink beer and nosh on nachos, have no clue how to cook, clean or rear children, and who will buy most anything if its sold by a cute girl in a bikini. And I’m not the only one to notice.

I read a health magazine while at the doctor’s office last week. It’s one of those kinds of magazines that is obviously underwritten by corporate interests and distributed only in doctor’s waiting rooms. There was an article geared towards women who are concerned that their husbands have gotten fat and lazy. I don’t have the article to quote and it’s not available online, but here’s the gist of the tips they give to wives:

1. Remind your husband that he can’t enjoy that vacation or retirement house in the Bahamas if he’s dead (presumably from the dread fat).
2. Tell your husband he’ll have sex more often and enjoy it more if he’s in shape.
3. Sneak vegetables into your husband’s meals.

The patronizing undertones and gender stereotype reinforcements are obvious, or at least they should be. Outside of the assumption that fatness and fitness are exclusive, the first two tips assume that a man cares more about status, money and sex than he does about his own general health and that only by dangling carrots of ostentatious wealth and the implicit threat from a wife to withhold sex will he be goaded into eating better and exercising. The last tip assumes that men will not eat vegetables of their own free will and therefore are in need of their naturally nurturing and maternal wives to covertly sneak broccoli florets on their pizza or spinach in their burritos. Once again, we’re reaffirming gender stereotypes through our associations with food.

My (thin) husband happens to fit the stereotype: He’s vegetarian, but he hates most vegetables and he’s one of the laziest people I know. Oh, he works very hard at what he does professionally and he’s a dedicated and talented musician, but if given the chance to go running or to sit at home playing video games, John Madden Football wins hands-down. He likes corn and French Fries — all the “bad” vegetables — but he rarely eats anything colored like Kermit and has an especially visceral reaction to raw tomatoes. But this isn’t just a ‘man thing;’ his mother also hates most vegetables and overall, my hubby eats a fairly healthy diet. I do worry sometimes about Brandon’s diet and inactivity, but I’m his wife, not his mother or his doctor. He knows what his body needs to be and stay healthy and doesn’t need me hem-hawing over his weight with reminders about our future beach side retirement house or threatening a cessation of conjugal relations until he sports a six-pack. Nor am I going to insult my husband’s intelligence by “sneaking” vegetables into his food.

It wasn’t that long ago that male-dominated advertising firms paternally marketed products to women using over-the-top stereotypical imagery instructing women on what kinds of coffee to buy to please their husbands or the best products to land or hold onto a man. Not that such marketing still doesn’t exist, but thanks to feminism, most advertisers today refrain from caricaturing women as downtrodden housewives or hare-brained office girls. Sadly, instead of working to eliminate stereotypical gender roles altogether, it seems the pendulum has only swung in the opposite direction.

What are some other ‘man as dope’ type commercials, TV shows or other depictions in the media you’ve noticed? Do you find them offensive? Is there a double standard in the media in how men and women are portrayed?

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There are currently 47 responses to “Dear media: My husband is not a moron”

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  1. 1 On August 1st, 2008, pennylane said:

    “Sneak vegetables into his meals.”???? Do they know it is not legal to be married to 5-year olds?

  2. 2 On August 1st, 2008, micabelle said:

    My male roommate showed me that Snickers commercial in an indignant state the other day. Why does Mister A represent the pinnacle of manhood now?

    There is a washer/dryer commercial out right now that really bothers me. I don’t even know what brand it’s for (how’s that for effective advertising?) A woman (pretty and thin, of course) is doing laundry, and her children are complaining that their clothes are too clean. Then her husband complains that he “can’t work with all this quiet.” It’s not as offensive as some of the other ones you mentioned, but it implies that he is childlike and can’t do anything for himself (including the laundry I guess.

    The thing that really bothers me about these things is that even though the men are portrayed as bumbling, fat, lazy, etc. and the women are the ones who usually do the housework, parent more effectively, and fix the men’s problems, the men are still in control of the household at the end of the day. “According to Jim” is really guilty of this. Even though his wife is a much more competent adult in the household, he’s still “the man” at the end of the episode.

  3. 3 On August 1st, 2008, devil said:

    “Remind your husband that he can’t enjoy that vacation or retirement house in the Bahamas if he’s dead (presumably from the dread fat).”

    But dying slowly and painfully from his wife’s constant nagging is okay?

    Ladies, your husband is not going to change, because men don’t change. As Rita Rudner said, that pie’s already baked. If you want a different flavor, get a different pie.

    I don’t watch TV now, but in the 1980′s we had Roseanne Connor’s husband Dan who was a worthless baby of a man. He rarely earned a living, wouldn’t help around the house or discipline the kids. He was, essentially, another kid for Roseanne to raise.

    Sounds like TV hasn’t changed much since then in its portrayal of married men.

  4. 4 On August 1st, 2008, goodbyemyboy said:

    I was in a bookstore one day and saw a cookbook (I have blanked the title from my memory) about recipes to sneak vegetables into your husband’s food. How condescending.

    Tell your husband he’ll have sex more often and enjoy it more if he’s in shape.

    That sickens me. What kind of protests would we have if a men’s magazine suggested to men that they should withhold sex from their wives until the wives lost weight? Not to mention the conflation of “thin” with “in shape.” And “enjoy it more”–like fat people can’t enjoy sex? Why on earth not?

  5. 5 On August 1st, 2008, Toni said:

    I’ve been feeling the same way about commercials for so long!

    The one I hate is for a yogurt. The woman is on the phone talking about how she’s on a diet and eating cheese cake and boston cream pie. We all know that she’s talking about yogurt in those flavors. But the dopey husband in the background – ears perked up, head titled like a dog who just heard his master’s car in the driveway – is frantically digging through the fridge looking for these hidden treats. Then the wife turns around and says, “Honey, what are you doing?”. As if he was snooping somewhere he shouldn’t be. Trying to sneak a snack behind her back, or mess up her perfectly organized fridge. Her look and tone of voice were exactly what you would use with a 3 year old who just opened the fridge and is now squeezing mustard all over the floor.

  6. 6 On August 1st, 2008, Bree said:

    One of the more recent examples is “The King of Queens,” which used to air on CBS but is now in syndication. You had Doug, an overweight driver for a UPS-like company, and Carrie, his gorgeous wife whose job escapes me, but she worked in a law office. Of course Doug was the buffoon who couldn’t do anything right and was lazy around the house, while Carrie was the intelligent nagger who withheld sex to get her way. Then add in Carrie’s dad who lived with them, and she had two guys to look after and nag.

    Of course, thinner guys don’t escape this stereotype either. Everybody Loves Raymond is a perfect example. Ray wasn’t fat, but he hardly ever helped Debra with taking care of the house and raising the kids, and came off as dumb and uninvolved.

    But as long as the media continues to be afraid of watchdog groups who throw temper tantrums everytime the so-called “status quo” is attempted to be changed and the public doesn’t complain, we’ll keep seeing this for years to come.

  7. 7 On August 1st, 2008, JR said:

    My biggest problem is with the physical appearances of the couples. No matter how fat, slovenly, balding, ‘negative’ physical qualities the man has, the woman is invariably thin, well-groomed, younger than the man, etc. It’s like their telling guys they can have the hottest (by media standards) woman available, but women have to settle for whoever shows up.

  8. 8 On August 1st, 2008, pennylane said:

    I’m always rolling my eyes at the ads that imply that men who eat tofu are lesser men. Yawn. But I’m really bothered by the ad for Mike’s Hard Lemonade (I think?) where they have the guy who wants to add soy to their “hard lemonade” and they smack him down, implying his wimpitude. And how do they denote his lack of manhood? A lisp. Nice–sexism is best served with a side of homophobia.

  9. 9 On August 1st, 2008, MrsDrC said:

    These are the reasons we stopped watching Everyone Loves Raymond, and The King of Queens. Both shows started off good, then slowly the men became idiots with no thought of anyone else slowly morphed into 2 year olds who thought they were the center of the universe.

    And what really ticked me off was how the women slowly became nagging b*tch machines, treating their husband like children and dismissing every word that came out of their mouths. Because after all they were JUST men. Gag.

    No I’ll admit I sometimes wonder if I have two kids or three, but nothing like these show portraid.

    Since Hollywood obviously cant have an original idea, why not make a Mr. Mom show? Shake things up a reverse the rolls? Or even more outrageous…NO STEREO TYPES!?

    Ugh, I’m so glad we do have TV.

  10. 10 On August 1st, 2008, hlynn said:

    You can’t forget the TV staple of Family Guy. Peter Griffin takes the ‘man as a baby’ stereotype to the extreme. (However, this is intentionally to make fun of shows such as King of Queens.)

  11. 11 On August 1st, 2008, Rachel said:

    I’m always rolling my eyes at the ads that imply that men who eat tofu are lesser men.

    There was a hummer commercial once that showed a man piling racks of meat upon a grocery store conveyor belt. The man behind him, obviously a vegetarian, looked at his soy and tofu by comparison and ran out of the store and bought a Hummer. The commercial ended with the tagline “Restore your manhood.” The meaning is obvious: Real men eat meat. *rolls eyes in disgust*

  12. 12 On August 1st, 2008, Colleen said:

    I’m not sure what to think of those Mike’s ads. Part of me wonders if they aren’t trying (and I think failing) to say something about the fact that Mike’s is mostly known as a girl drink because it’s a wine cooler, not a real beer.

  13. 13 On August 1st, 2008, Rachel said:

    You can’t forget the TV staple of Family Guy.

    Big fan of Family Guy here. Somehow I am not bothered as much by animated shows like FG and The Simpsons as I am by shows like King of Queens and According to Jim, which feature real people. To me, cartoons are supposed to be fantasy, even if they parody real life, whereas sitcoms are supposed to be a reflection of real life.

  14. 14 On August 1st, 2008, DiosaNegra1967 said:

    i think it goes back further than ‘ol Homer J……most of the shows/commercials with this type of set-up, refers back to “the honeymooners”….usually any sit-com with a husband and a wife falls back on that old tried-and-true formula of, “man smart, woman smarter”….

    it’s a shame…..

  15. 15 On August 1st, 2008, Miss Minx said:

    Toni – if you hate yogurt commercials, you will love this parody I saw on YouTube a while ago… I haven’t got a Flash Player on my work computer to get the exact link, but go to YouTube and search “Target Women Yogurt.”

    Sarah Haskins’ commentary is priceless.

    (Also – I hate the whole media image of the man-child… *SO* aggravating, and demeaning to my very own husband and male friends, all of whom can fix stuff, discipline children, read above a third-grade level… I think this trend has been documented as early as Neil Postman’s ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ in a chapter on the overall collapse of societal barriers between adults and children, if not even earlier than that)

  16. 16 On August 1st, 2008, Elle said:

    Still Standing perpetrates the “man as baby” stereotype *perfectly*. Actually, there’s one episode that makes me absolutely sick…

    The mom, who is typically the one doing everything and working at the same time, comes home one night to find that her husband can cook. She’s all excited about it and asks him to cook dinner the next day, since it’d lessen her load, and he agrees – except, instead of cooking the meal properly, he messes it up deliberately(all while making it again for himself). She tells him it’s okay and then orders pizza, only to find out that he’s now in the bathroom eating the food he cooked for himself(which tastes just fine). He finally gives in and starts cooking all the time, which the show portrays as him “losing his masculinity”, and thus his wife is no longer sexually interested in him. She resumes cooking and now they can happily have sex, since him doing anything but eating the food was just far too feminine for her.

  17. 17 On August 1st, 2008, SilverSeraphim said:

    Something I’ve noticed in advice columns, when women write in to ask how to get their husbands to go to the doctor, the response is almost invariably to make the appointment for him. I don’t understand that- if the guy doesn’t want to go, he’ll either cancel the appointment, or ignore it, which then means they have to pay a missed appointment fee. Doesn’t sound like good advice to me.

  18. 18 On August 1st, 2008, MrsDrC said:

    SilverSeraphim, that advice also enforces the stereo type of wives and a substitute for men’s mothers.

    I didnt marry my husband so I could mother him.

  19. 19 On August 1st, 2008, micabelle said:

    Elle- “Still Standing” really confuses me. Even though I guess the mom is shown as doing more of the household duties, they both seem like really terrible parents. Why would anyone want to watch a show where both of the parents are incompetent? At least these other shows have the mom to fix all of the husbands parenting mistakes *insert sarcasm here*

  20. 20 On August 1st, 2008, Dolly said:

    I think what’s even sadder about a lot of the shows that perpetuate negative stereotypes about American men (like The Simpsons and Everybody Loves Raymond) is that many are produced by American men. Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon produced The Simpsons, Seth McFarlane created Family Guy, and Ray Romano and Phil Rosenthal thought up Everybody Loves Raymond. (In all fairness, Tracy Newman helped Jonathan Stark come up with According to Jim). They all profit off the fact that Homer, Peter, and Ray are dumb, lazy, irresponsible, fat, etc. To me, that’s not any better than a lot of women in the media who make a profit off being objectified/sexualized. When does money matter less than the people who are being stereotyped and culturally abused?

  21. 21 On August 1st, 2008, Mindy said:

    Dr’s appointments — I refuse to make any appointments for my partner. He’s an adult and is perfectly capable of doing it himself. He hates going to the dr, but if it gets bad enough he’ll go. I gave him my dr’s phone number and he made an appointment. Now, I did take him because he’d never been there before and I didn’t want him to make “I don’t know how to get there” an excuse not to go.

    Commercials — I hate that they make men bumbling idiots, but I also hate the ones where the women are just obnoxious. There’s one that plays in the winter for some cold medicine. The poor guy is sick as heck on the couch. Wife gives him medicine. He starts to feel a little better and she shoves the shovel in his face so he can go shovel the walk now that he can actually get up without falling over. That kind of stuff irritates me to no end. YOU are incapable of shoveling while he’s sick of a dog?

  22. 22 On August 1st, 2008, Jolie said:

    I facilitate groups for violent offenders charged or convicted of domestic violence. I use each of the exact same commercials sited in this article to ask the men why is this is the way media is portraying men in america? I then juxtapose commercials that objectify women and generate a debate on gender stereotypes. All of this is in an effort to uncover their underlying belief systems driving their continued use of aggression. I am glad you highlighted this issue.

  23. 23 On August 1st, 2008, dragonfly said:

    All of Sarah Haskins Target Women spots are hilarious. The most recent one on birth control made me laugh so hard I cried. The one on wedding shows was also hysterical. What they heck…watch them all! You can find them on YouTube, but sometimes the quality is pretty bad. They are made by current.com, so if you go there and search for “target women” you can find all of them. I think there have been about 6 or so made so far.

    Back to the topic, the commercial that is really bugging me right now has the “husband” making some sort of pink smoothie in a blender but, whoops!, he forgets to put the lid on. Cause, you know, grown men do that all the time. I’m not sure what they are even selling (paper towels, maybe?), but it drives me crazy every time I see it.

  24. 24 On August 2nd, 2008, Eilish said:

    All these shows and commercials are the reason that my husband and I watch very little network television. There is so much great stuff on Discovery Channel, TLC, History, etc. and they don’t make a habit of portraying men like idiots. We can’t escape the ads, but you do the best you can. As the mother of a son, I find this especially disturbing. The portrayals of fatherhood in most shows are awful! I would never subject my husband or son to watching one of these men-bashing shows. Besides, they’re just not funny. Wouldn’t the premise of two clever people playing off of each other have far more comic possibilities?

    Some great, non-man bashing shows that we do enjoy: Bones (smart men and women working together, imagine!) Numbers (math is sexy!) Coupling (on BBC, fantastic and really funny, it plays on stereotypes without beating them to death). All of these shows are fun for men and women to watch without being demeaning to either, IMO.

  25. 25 On August 2nd, 2008, MizFit said:

    THANK YOU for saying all this and far more articulately than I.

    It’s funny (not really) how so many women get up in toned arms against the media for *women* and yet hath rolled their eyes at me when Ive tried to make this same point.

    THANK YOU.

  26. 26 On August 2nd, 2008, Andrea Learned said:

    It is indeed a pendulum swing. TV shows and advertisers got a lot of grief for shows that seemed to highlight the negative stereotypes about women (“wifeys” who cook, clean and take care of the kids) and so now they figure the solution is to go all out showing women as brilliant and thin, while the men all around them are dumb and out of shape – the polar opposite.

    I’m seeing (or hoping I see) a generational shift, in that younger men and women were not raised with so many of the traditional gender roles/conflicts that Baby Boom and older people were. Stepford wives and bumbling dads will not be relevant to this crowd at all – thus, TV viewers for example are shifting in droves either to Internet entertainment or BBC, HBO, SHOWTIME – and, in general, more complex/sophisticated/relevant writing style/life depictions.

    This is a very interesting discussion and it is great to see so many women chiming in on it.

  27. 27 On August 2nd, 2008, Emma said:

    One of the things I really loved about Medium was the fact that the husband was portrayed as very intelligent and as a very careful, caring father. Sad when that stands out the most compared to all of the other shows now.

  28. 28 On August 2nd, 2008, Misty said:

    How astonishing to find this post here. Whether you can admit this to yourself or not, it is feminism that is directly responsible for the demeaning of masculinity in the media (and in life, but that’s another topic).

    The point about Roseanne being a typical example of this trend is significant. Roseanne was a deliberatley feminist show in placing the wife as the centre of power in the family; and typically, this meant diminishing the man to the status of an imbecile.

    The trend that you describe is a case of reaping what you sew. What did the feminists THINK was going to happen when their ideology spewed so much venom against men for decades, blaming them for all of the world’s ills? The only logical consequence was exactly what has happened — a systematic dismantling of the male identity into the caricature that exists today.

    Are the feminists uncomfortable with what they are seeing now? Are they now saying, “But we didn’t want THIS?” Well, that’s a little bit like academic Marxists saying that the Soviet Union and the Gulag were never what *they* wanted, or the French Revolutionaries saying that the guillotine was never what *they* wanted. Revolutionary ideologies invariably lead to these kinds of nightmares.

    And I’ll tell you something else — it has only begun. The very near future will see female characters in the media made even more domineering and all-powerful, and male characters demeaned and weakened still further.

    Congratulations. Your ideology won. I hope you like the world you’ve created.

  29. 29 On August 2nd, 2008, Andrew McAllister said:

    One of my posts was entitled “The Hunt for the Vacuum Cleaner Gene.” Sounds like we have some of the same ideas! :)

  30. 30 On August 2nd, 2008, twincats said:

    Say what?? These stereotypes have been in place since before television (Ozzie & Harriet, anyone? and what about Spencer Tracy and Audry Hepburn movies?)

    Get real. Even better, do a little research about what feminism is really about. Or do you think that women need to go back to being chattel?

  31. 31 On August 2nd, 2008, Dolly said:

    Misty, I disagree with what you’re saying. The idea that as women become empowered, men must in turn become their inferiors seems rather narrow-minded. You talk as if feminism were a parade of horrors, stripping guys of their manhood and turning women into ball-busting dominatrixes, one terrible generation after another. I think if this article shows anything it’s that feminists are very concerned with the identities of both men and women and haven’t been intent on “blaming [men] for all the world’s ills.” In fact, I think what’s great about this article is that it opens up discussions on feminism to men. When guys realize feminist topics like portrayals of gender in the media apply to them, they’re more inclined to talk about other issues as well. I also think there’s a huge difference between criticizing television ads for creating/perpetuating stereotypes and Marxists regretting the Russian gulags where people were starved and worked to death.

  32. 32 On August 3rd, 2008, Jackie said:

    I’ve noticed this in alot of advertising too. In my opinion, I think people assume that the main people who watch TV are still women, which I guess is based on assuming that the majority of women still stay at home and practice at being dainty housewives? It isn’t funny anymore, because it’s been done to death. Move on, get an original idea, God forbid!

    There was one for Yoplait where the woman is talking on the phone, and saying how she eats key lime pie and other yogurt flavors and still manages to loose weight, while the husband is looking in the fridge like “Duhhh where is the pie, I don’t see it?” However, in my opinon I really dislike Yoplait’s current ads in general. The girl who wears the grey sweatshirt seems to be condescending to everyone, like the seamstress ad. Where she talks to the fat seamstress, like she’s an idiot who doesn’t understand the difference between out and in.

    I don’t know what Yoplait is trying to say with their ads. Maybe it is more desirable than I realize, to be the queen bee woman who talks down to everyone like an idiot outside of high school. Or, stereotyping thin people as behaving as if they’re better than everyone, which makes one wonder why someone would want to eat Yoplait so they can become a shrill hatemonger of a woman? Maybe Yoplait missed the memo, being a total b***h isn’t cool anymore. I don’t even know if it ever was cool to begin with.

    It really confuses me, cause I see how that girl behaves in the Yoplait ads and it makes me NOT want to buy their product. Perhaps because I’ve been through depression, which caused me to behave in some sense like a condesending b***h to people. I don’t see what’s positive in an ad saying, “Eat our yogurt, and you can feel free to talk down to everyone like they’re complete idiots.” Could someone explain this to me? Someone explain how eat our food and feel free to be a b***h is a good marketing campaign?

  33. 33 On August 3rd, 2008, WackyLisa said:

    Thank you for this post.
    I’ve noticed a lot of male bashing in and out of the media. It’s a sad and disturbing trend.
    If nothing else, the lack of mutual respect shown by couples towards one another is sad.

  34. 34 On August 3rd, 2008, pennylane said:

    Sarah Haskins is fantastic!

    Misty, I would recommend going to any feminist blog (Feministe, Pandagon, Feministing) and look up their posts on shows like King of Queens. Those shows are NOT feminist, nor is there anything about those stereotypes that remotely resembles feminism.

    And, while the dumb Homer thing sometimes bothers me I forgive The Simpsons because they have Lisa, one of my favorite female characters ever.

  35. 35 On August 3rd, 2008, HeatherRadish said:

    The idea that as women become empowered, men must in turn become their inferiors seems rather narrow-minded.

    And yet, there’s so much feminist literature that espouses exactly that. Funny, isn’t it?

    But I think it’s more an unexpected consequence. As women started to be more self-sufficient, men became unnecessary; they don’t grow up because they don’t need to grow up. They’ve been told they’re not necessary for child-raising, so they don’t bother to get involved. They’ve been told they don’t have to learn to fix stuff because women can, so they don’t learn. When women used to expect men to be providers and fathers, they stepped up; when women started doing it for themselves (with the government stepping in to provide), they stopped.

    *shrug* I’ve never been married, so I’ve spent my whole adult life being told by women that my opinion and experiences are worthless and do not apply, so feel free to ignore me. I expect it.

  36. 36 On August 4th, 2008, elizabeth said:

    What tends to bother me the most is that these tv shows and movies are constantly showing that men don’t ever have to grow up, that they can be children and ‘get’ perfect, beautiful women who will do everything for them.

  37. 37 On August 4th, 2008, elizabeth said:

    What tends to bother me the most is that these tv shows and movies are constantly showing that men don’t ever have to grow up, that they can be children and ‘get’ perfect, beautiful women who will do everything for them.
    (and for the record my husband loves veggies and happens to be ‘the skinny one’ in the marriage)

  38. 38 On August 4th, 2008, Rachel said:

    Misty – I don’t doubt that there are feminists who have “spewed so much venom against men for decades,” but to characterize ALL feminists as such is really offensive, assumptive and just a plain ignorant leap to make. I also find it very ironic that advertising in general, and especially top leadership positions within advertising, are still fields dominated by men. In effect, it is men who are predominantly creating the very same kinds of offensive ads for which you blame a generation of feminists.

    And I’ll echo Dolly, here. If not for the same feminism you criticize, this issue wouldn’t be the topic of discussion it is. Please check your stereotypes before commenting here again.

  39. 39 On August 4th, 2008, Rachel said:

    When women used to expect men to be providers and fathers, they stepped up; when women started doing it for themselves (with the government stepping in to provide), they stopped.

    I think this is a very generalized and overly-simplistic deduction. A host of other problems — poverty, racism, growing economic disparities, lack of education, etc.. — all have contributed to the rise of female, single-parent households. To blame this on feminism is like blaming any one group for the spread of cancer. Life in the 1950s was no halcyon Happy Days. Have you ever examined the numbers of single parent households then? The poverty rates? The numbers of unwed mothers who were sent to homes and then forced to give up their children? Obviously not…

  40. 40 On August 4th, 2008, Misty said:

    And I’ll echo Dolly, here. If not for the same feminism you criticize, this issue wouldn’t be the topic of discussion it is. Please check your stereotypes before commenting here again.”

    However, “if not for the feminism I criticise,” this issue might not exist, and wouldn’t therefore need to be discussed in the first place. It’s a bit convenient for feminism to be presenting itself as a solution to a problem that it, itself, caused.

    Prior to feminism, men were generally portrayed favourably in popular culture — certainly much more so than now. It is not coincidental that the rise of feminism has corresponded with a steady worsening of the portrayal of men in the media.

    As for the point that men are also creating these ads, of course they are, just as male professors are espousing feminism in the universities. What else would one expect? It is, after all, the dominant ideology, and if a man wants a job in these fields, he has to adopt the party line.

  41. 41 On August 4th, 2008, B said:

    Misty,

    You should go to the library and look at some of the “Women’s” magazines from the 40′s and 50′s. I don’t claim to be an expert but those that I have read make women out to be idiots that should only concern themselves with house work and the pleasures of their husbands. These “women’s” magazines were almost exclusively written, edited and run by men. Thank god we had/have feminism.

    We would probably all be better served if we just unplugged the mind numbing box and pushed it off the cliff. The crap out weighs the valuable programs that you may stumble upon by chance.

  42. 42 On August 4th, 2008, TOW said:

    I have found that in the movement to bring equality to previously marginalized groups, the opposite group ultimately becomes the belittled group. White people are nerds; men are stupid; skinny people are the enemy; and so on. It’s tragic that we have to belittle one demographic in order to raise another up where it rightly belongs.

    For the record, I saw that Windex commercial the other day and thought the EXACT. SAME. THING. Enough with the bashing already.

  43. 43 On August 5th, 2008, Rachel said:

    I just came across this post and found myself nodding my head. The Hardee’s (I believe it’s Carl’s Jr elsewhere) commercials are a huge offender in my book – with lines like “without us, guys would starve.” The overall premise of the series seems to be that men are too stupid to cook their own food, and it is not manly to cook your own food – there’s another one where a guy produces biscuits for his friends that says something like “men don’t bake.” A few years ago, there was a series of JC Penney commercials that basically implied that men were hopeless with children and were only babysitters, not fathers, when the kids were in their care. Ugh.

  44. 44 On August 7th, 2008, Charlotte said:

    Rachel, I am so glad you wrote this. I’ve been watching a lot more TV than usual because I’m on summer break right now, and I’ve noticed the same disturbing pattern of gender stereotypes in sitcoms and commercials.

    And my friends wonder why I only watch crime dramas (Law & Order, CSI, etc.). Not many sitcoms make me laugh anymore, they just piss me off or bore me to tears.

  45. 45 On August 7th, 2008, Jackie said:

    “And my friends wonder why I only watch crime dramas (Law & Order, CSI, etc.). Not many sitcoms make me laugh anymore, they just piss me off or bore me to tears.” – Charlotte

    I couldn’t agree more. Even kids shows are now becoming about fat stereotyping all over the place. It’s like, you might as well come out and say “I have no real sense of humor or originality, so I’m just going to write jokes about fat people. Duhhh…” I mean like I really like Chowder, but Endive is a complete fat stereotype. Yet when you try to explain that to the writers, they don’t understand that. It’s like, it’s incomprehensible to them that thin people could be the adversary too. Not to mention the mindless appeal to making sure kids stay healthy, by going over serving sizes and going out to play. Sending kids highly confusing messages about food, involving cartoon characters they may look up to, does not make a healthy child. I mean for goodness sakes, they even had a video game putting Winne the Pooh on a Hunny diet. It was quite awhile ago, but still..

    People probably think you must be morbid or a bit off for watching so many crime shows, sometimes I get that. I guess you could tell them, “Well it’s a shame shows about human tragedy, are the only programming on TV that treat people with common respect. They don’t go out of their way to display prejudice to anyone. Sure you could say, what about non-violent shows, seems people equate non-violence with making up storylines based on emotional abuse instead of physical abuse. These shows may appear non-violent, but they do violence to people’s souls with their messages of body hate and “jokes” that amount to little more than bully humor. So ask me again why I perfer to watch crime shows, where people care for each other despite their differences, instead of non-violent shows that show people behaving cruelly to each other by emotional bullying and social rejection.”

    Are crime shows then really as bad, as programming for children that emotionally belittle them and teach that being fat equates with being a social outcast, being rejected, and that is all the fault of their own doing? I have yet to see a show, outside of Chowder I suppose you could say, where a fat character is treated with a decent amount of respect. Giving teenage bullies liscence to write cartoons, does not make for good programming.

    Is it any wonder there is such a ressurection of 80′s cartoons, at a time when entertainment geared towards children is full of irresponsible messages about relationships and treatment of fellow human beings?

  46. 46 On July 20th, 2009, “The Ugly Truth” or The Ugly Stereotype? » The-F-Word.org said:

    [...] and the dreamy Gerard Butler and set to release soon,” seems to be in of the “Men are bumbling idiots who think only with the head in their pants” genre — just check out the poster for [...]

  47. 47 On July 20th, 2009, Seegz said:

    I want to keep this handy for whenever one of my dumb friends links the portrayal of husbands/men in general to feminism. It would make their heads SPIN.

    Of course, these are the folks who think feminism and feminazis are one and the same, so what is a MAN?! A MISERABLE LITTLE PILE OF SECRETS! to do?

    But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!

    (Points to whoever gets the reference)

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