Sunday, June 20, 2010

One too many “dumb guy” commercial…

I think I’ve seen one too many "dumb guy" commercial the other day… I mean the kind where a 20-something acts like an idiot with a woman the same age who is evidently much starter than him and saves the day. What’s more – in those commercials guys are shallow and appear to only like sports, cars, and sex basically. That’s the message. I don’t care for cars but I do like sports and sex, so yes the statement is partially accurate probably but this kind of commercials is twisted in a much more profound and disturbing way.

My interpretation is the following: in our society there remains huge inequality between men and women – and that starts right in the cradle and continues through childhood, teenage years, to adulthood up to Corporate America C-suites or other circles of power where women are still vastly under-represented. And for the same job there is still a difference in compensation between men and women in most professions.

So, the way our society (or rather how corporate America and Madison Avenue see it) compensates with this continued state of inequality is to portray young men and women 1) in a totally stereotypical and grotesque way and 2) in a manner where the balance of power is reversed.

Not only are women way smarter than men in those vignettes of our society but they are the ones in control, making up for guys’ dumbness, solving problems, and saving guys’ blunders.
The rationale of Corporate America and Madison Avenue is maybe that women will feel good about themselves watching those commercials and men will feel less guilty about their actual dominating position – unless they are too dumb to get the gist of those jokes of course…

I don’t know how others feel but I find this whole thing (those silly commercials and the wicked sub-text) infuriating frankly… I like humorous commercials but instead of giving us a false sense of comfort about equality and fairness in our society, they should bring up those issues in a humorous yet substantive way and we as a society should push much harder to resolve them. Let’s not keep our eyes off the prize…

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