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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

I had originally intended to write about this commercial, which reminded me a lot of the issues I raised in the fantasy football thread a couple of weeks ago.  But then I read Pamela Constable’s article on The Washington Post‘s web site about the disenfranchisement of women in the latest Afghan elections, and it left me with some very conflicted emotions: (more…)

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I have a confession to make.  I love games.  Board games, card games, video games, puzzles–you name it, I’ve probably at least tried to play it.  And August is the time when a game lover’s attention turns toward fantasy football.  That’s why I made an impulse buy at the supermarket today: a fantasy football preview magazine.  In years past, I’ve noticed the flagrant use of women’s bodies to sell fantasy football products to men, but this year I think I’ve finally realized why this kind of objectification bothers me so much. (more…)

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Professor Bean and I, along with the rest of the East Coast, were crushed by the heat and humidity, and therefore unable to think of any sparkling topic for a blog post.

Therefore, we’re punting with this fabulous link to The Twelve Creepiest Vintage Ads of All Time over at Retro Comedy.

While all are disturbing, be sure to click on #6 so you can read what Lysol is really for!

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The fact that women still do most of the housework in most families is not news. A 2003 study, for example, found women doing 23 hours per week to men’s 11, despite the fact that the women were earning as much or almost as much as their husbands. This seems to be one area where very little progress is being made. Various articles blame evolution (men aren’t “wired” to see dirt or piles of laundry because noticing details like that would get in the way during the mammoth hunting), parents (for providing old fashioned role models), and women themselves–a lot (usually for caring about such meaningless tasks, or being so unfair as to demand that men do them according to the female standard, aka “right”).

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In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Reihan Salam argues that the collapse of the global economy is a direct result of what in the 70s used to be called “testosterone poisoning” and that the restructuring of the world’s economic patterns will lead to “the death of macho.” Salam sees the shift of power from men to women as necessary and inevitable, but his piece is hardly celebratory, since he believes men will, by and large, be unable to adapt. He ends his piece with a dramatic warning:

The axis of global conflict in this century will not be warring ideologies, or competing geopolitics, or clashing civilizations. It won’t be race or ethnicity. It will be gender. We have no precedent for a world after the death of macho. But we can expect the transition to be wrenching, uneven, and possibly very violent. (more…)

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one U.S. state (Colorado) has an obesity rate below 20%.  Americans struggle to lose weight, and the weight loss industry brings in tens of billions of dollars each year.  Weight loss products and programs are largely geared toward women; the social pressure for men to be thin pales in comparison to the concomitant pressure on women.  Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers offer overtly gender-neutral programs, but their web sites and advertisements feature very few men (none as spokespeople).  Nutrisystem, on the other hand, deliberately crafts different marketing to men and women.  How Nutrisystem’s gender binarism plays out is worth examining. (more…)

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Perhaps even more than fireworks, the barbeque is the “tradition” most associated with the Fourth of July.  And grilling, apparently, is a man’s job.  The curious calculus that transforms a stereotypically feminine endeavor, cooking, into an uber-masculine pursuit is a topic for another post, but today what I’m thinking about is what we tend to put onto our grills.  If we’re men, we are supposed to cook animal flesh.  This idea is reinforced in hundreds of articles like this one.

What strikes me about the “real men eat meat” meme is the way in which it reinforces itself not only by exaggerating traditionally masculine traits like aggression but also by encouraging the objectification of women.  Our “manly” author, Joe Reagan, describes a wrestling match precipitated by a vegan’s audacious request for a Garden Burger at the author’s barbeque party.  In response to this “insult,” Joe’s friend Ted tried to “force feed” steak to the unnamed vegan, later saying, “he wanted to screw my day with his views, I thought I’d return the favor and shove some meat down his throat.”

The aggression here is obvious, but what’s more subtle is the implicit assumption that only men belong in the category of humanity.  Reagan uses the word “man” and “mankind” throughout the article; the “real” men (i.e. meat eaters) are given names while the vegan is nameless; and feminists (whom we must assume are women) are grouped with Nazis and religious zealots.  To be anything other than a meat-eating man is to be a target of violence and derision.

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