Fathers As Idiots

This has come up a lot today, in various blogs.

Ann Althouse reminded me about advertisers who rely on the “men are idiots” meme as a sales gimmick (See the YouTube clip that she added at the bottom of her post).  I lost my patience with them long ago – and my sense of humor, I suppose.  Remember these?

Two of the best (or worst) of the ‘All Men Are Morons’ category come from vastly different companies.  Home Depot’s Smart Wife / plunger guy commercial is one that will reign in infamy. Of course what they are selling is that it is unusual for a woman to fix things around the house.  Well, it might be to the home center’s ad agency who think that the people in ‘flyover country’ will find it amusing and then rush off to the lumber yard, but really its not.Another one is the Smart Wife whose husband does the robot dance while she installs Vonage for their home phone service.  It may be a requirement on the installation instructions but most of us will never know.  Until they fix the 911 issue for good and for keeps without forcing users to install third party software, and then explain what you do when the lights go out and you need to report it, you’re better off with at least one dial tone copper land line into your house.  Period.  See the article about Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP (which this is although they don’t tell you that).  Address of Article- http://themediadesk.com/newfiles3/voip.htm

Whether or not the Comcast digital cable ‘birthing room’ commercial is just about how stupid men are, or how obsessed with food they are depends on your take on things.  And this is one of the few that feature a solo black man as well.  Suffice it to say, it is offensive no matter who the actor was.

Kinda like the Ready Whip commercial where the guys refuse to eat the pie or drink the hot chocolate until the woman squirts the canned whipped cream on it.  Never mind that in the pie version the can has been sitting on the counter in the diner for who knows how long when the stuff absolutely requires refrigeration to keep it from separating.  It’s an idiotic commercial, and that’s all it is.

In a race to the bottom, the “Men Are Idiots” ploy is surpassed only by the “Fathers are Idiots” gambit.  It’s good to see that someone shares my concerns.

When Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel did a feature on “men-as-idiots” advertising in 2004, she says she was “astounded” at the amount of mail she received, almost all of it critical of the way men are portrayed in ads.  In a Washington Times article in January, advertising-industry journalist Todd Wasserman described getting a similar reaction to a recent article he wrote on anti-male ads.

In case you were wondering, it’s not just men who showed this concern.

Our campaigns have drawn widespread support from women, who generally do not like to see their sons, husbands and fathers put down.  As Rose Cameron, senior VP-planning director and “man expert” at Leo Burnett, says: “One of the great markers [society] looks to about the intelligence of a woman is her choice of husband.  So if advertisers position men as idiots in the husband scenario, then you’re commenting on her smarts.  Women have told us, ‘If you want to get on my good side, you do not show my husband as the idiot.'”

That’s wise advice.  Think they’ll take it?

Explore posts in the same categories: Personal, post-modernism

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