(AD)SENSE and SENSIBILITY: The Zero Sum Game

Are these the fruits of democratic capitalism? Our peace dividend? The sexual double standard, the Beast, seems alive and breathing. It never went away; it just shape shifts into new contexts that seem superficially compelling but are basic repackages of an old theme: gender and politics; reinforcement of the patriarchal norms. In an age of globalization this seems more appealing in society’s more male dominated than the West.

Ultimately its an equation on the formula of militarism, racism and consumerism that inhabits and directs the daily life. Beer brands and other consumer product companies will always hold a distinct  advantage in advertising over the consumer.Alcohol related products are practically expected to use humor, and have long been allowed some degree of gender stereotyping;  it appears  they welcome outcries of “sexism” as worth the negative publicity.

If an approach is called out for not being politically correct, all the better.In case you can’t see the detail,in the ad below, the gist of this particular chart is that a man’s process in drinking a beer is only a few steps – man drinks beer, which leads to meeting woman, which leads to a bed – and you can make your own assumptions – and that “path” stops). Women, on the other hand, have a much more complex array of life options related to their drinking -woman drinks martini, meets man, heads to that aforementioned bed, and then on to the broken heart, white knight and other options-.The basic idea is that men are simple, and women a complicated, materialistic, and by extension hysterical. Call it male projection of fantasy and fear.

Jack Shepherd. Buzzfeed. "I know that I, for one, immediately start thinking about marriage every time I meet a guy. My new male neighbor waved at me the other day, and I ran out and bought a wedding dress, just in case. The other thing here is the assumption that a) the viewer is definitely a man and b) of the two options, the “man’s” life is always preferable.---Gwen Sharp

Back in the early 1950′s the identity issue was framed in more primitive terms. The post WWII mens pulp magazines were a window into a time when being a man was clearly a very distinct achievement, but much less related to consumption than it is today. The centerpiece of the magazine was thus the cover which showcased glossy, colorful, and evocative artwork. The publisher would have an artist draw up a wild cover and then a writer would build a “true” story around it.

menspulpmags.com---Of course, Mega Piranha was, er, spawned by the classic 1978 movie Piranha and it’s sequels — which are descendants of movies and TV shows from the 1950s and 1960s that used scenes of water boiling with piranhas as plot devices. Those, in turn, were inspired by tales of voracious piranhas in books and magazines. Teddy Roosevelt is generally credited with starting the mythology of flesh-stripping schools of piranha in his 1914 travelogue Through the Brazilian Wilderness. He dubbed them “most ferocious fish in the world” and described a feeding frenzy that quickly turned a cow into bits of bloody bone (an event now believed to have been artfully staged by Teddy’s native guides).---

Today’s men’s magazines emphasize control over oneself and the conquest of women, as do these vintage magazines, but instead of tests of strength, cunning, and fighting ability, they emphasize conquest through consumption. The message is to consume the right exercise, the right products -usually hygiene or tech-related-, the right advice on picking up women and, well, the right women. In contrast, these old magazines pit man against nature or other men; consumption has not yet colonized the idea of masculinity.

These “men’s adventure” magazines catered to men of a different generation and reflected the taste and sensibilities of those men. The readership largely consisted of GI’s who had fought and survived WWII, men who had experienced both adventure and gruesome death and violence. In contrast to their experiences overseas, life back home seemed dull and mundane. Their wives and families who hadn’t experienced the horrors of war had only vague notions of what things had been like “over there.” In a life that seemed sterile and scrubbed clean, men’s magazines were an oasis of the kind of unfettered manliness and grit the men were used to. And to the men who hadn’t served, the magazines were a chance to live such adventures vicariously.
Products of the time, the magazines were certainly not politically correct. Instead of articles about $10,000 watches and luxury vacations, the pages of the sweat magazines were filled with “true” (typically fictionalized or embellished) stories of war, survival, crime, safari, and the Old West. A favorite theme was the showdown between man and wild flesh-eating beasts and critters. Stories of men rescuing women from the torture of savage natives or cruel enemy armies were common (as were tales of powerful Amazonian-like women and man-capturing gangs of female dominatrices). But the magazines generally adhered to the philosophy of famous salesman Elmer Wheeler, who said to “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” The headlines of the magazines were far more lurid and sensational then the actual stories inside the magazine. ( Brett McKay, Kate McKay)

“It implies that, when men allow themselves to be influenced by femininity (women?), they lose something instead of gain something. Feminism is often similarly presented as a zero sum game: when women won something, men lost something. This, of course, puts men and women at odds and encourages the denigration of femininity and anti-feminist initiatives.” …

YOUR DAD WAS NOT A METROSEXUAL. H didn’t do pilates. Moisturize. Or drink pink cocktails. Your Dad drank whisky cocktails. Made with Canadian Club. Served in a rocks glass. They tasted good. They were effortless. DAMN RIGHT YOUR DAD DRANK IT…..Your Mom wasn’t your Dad’s first.  He went out.  He got two numbers in the same night.  He drank cocktails.  but they were whisky cocktails.  Made with Canadian Club.  Served in a rocks glass.  They tasted good.  They

e effortless.


---Gwen Sharp: fat/ugly girls are sometimes presented as helpful props for more attractive women; the other side of this equation is their use as cautionary tales for men, the trap that awaits guys who let their guard down. Sure, by drinking too much you could, say, get in an accident, get alcohol poisoning, send out an ill-thought-out tweet about hating your boss, or any number of other things. But omg gross! You could also end up having sex with an ugly woman, thus ruining the entire night!

When the Motorola Droid smartphone debuted last fall, Verizon marketed the phone as a manly man’s device, referring to its biggest competitor – ahem, the iPhone, although not mentioned specifically – as a “digitally clueless beauty queen.” The Droid, on the other hand, was portrayed, in automobile vernacular, as a cross between a Porsche and a monster truck. Every man’s dream ride, right?

Now, in new TV spots, Verizon is putting its own phone in a traditional, feminine role. The question is whether targeting the “mom market” will backfire. Will some women be turned off by the portrayal? Will men consider it to be too fem? The ad says the Pre Plus is “smart enough to keep up with mom.” Hmmm.

…The first video shows a couple driving on a road trip with the man in the driver’s seat and the woman being what you might call obnoxious, distracting and annoying to her boyfriend. He passes over his Samsung phone to her and she essentially mellows out and keeps quiet. The second video depicts a young man at a board meeting that is totally enthralled in his phone and yells out statements about games he is playing that just happen to correspond with what his boss wants to hear. I imagine that the first message about gender roles pushes more sensitivity buttons than the second as it really is showing Samsung as an efficient tool for shutting up your irritating girlfriend. Is this funny or sexist and is it crossing any lines?


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