GENDER ISSUES FROM A MALE PERSPECTIVE

Gathered together are a number of articles related to how men and boys are treated by society and the media. The articles, for the most part, concentrate on misandry, domestic violence and female violence and reflect an anti-RADICAL FEMINIST viewpoint. Although articles are pro-male, they are not anti-female.

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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Monday, January 23, 2006

MEN-BASHING ADVERTISEMENTS

Men vs. misandry

You've seen him in TV commercials. He's the guy who can't open a pickle jar or
take care of his kids, the husband raised by wolves, the balding, portly fellow
who leaps for joy now that a pill has solved his impotence. He's the one
scalded by hot coffee and hit in the crotch with a bowling ball, though he
doesn't seem to mind.

In the powerful dominion of television advertising, this hapless, sloppy,
beer-drinking punch line is the modern American man.

And critics say he's getting more than his fair share of abuse.

"If anything like this was happening to blacks or women or Jews, it would be
considered a moral crime," says Warren Farrell, a California author and men's
rights advocate. "We're being flooded with advertising in which either a male
is being hit by a female, or the man is simply the jerk."

Farrell, author of the 1993 book "The Myth of Male Power," is one of a small
but growing number of men - and a few women - protesting what they consider
sexist, stereotypical and even mean-spirited ads. Male-bashing, they claim, is
the last politically safe perversion.

"At this point in time, if advertisers served up women the same way that guys
are treated, it would be world war," says Steve Feinberg, chief creative
officer at the Seiden Group, a New York ad agency. "Advertising has cycled its
way through that. Right up through the early 1980s, (the message to women) was
'Spend all day obsessing over whether you have the right toilet bowl cleaner,
because that's how you define yourself.' But you can't do that anymore."

Late last year, Richard Smaglick, 40, a New Hampshire engineer and father,
launched the Society for the Prevention of Misandry in the Media - misandry
being the seldom-heard counterpart to misogyny. Among his first efforts was a
boycott of the clients of advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi because of a spot
it produced for Wyeth FluMist.

In the ad, we see Mom laid up in bed, felled by the virus, and Dad in charge of
the household - much to the glee of the kids, who march off to school in a
snowstorm dressed as if for a luau. Alas, poor Dad can't manage his own
children.

Smaglick admits the boycott had little, if any, impact - Saatchi & Saatchi
declined to comment - and he won't say precisely how big his group is. "I don't
want our organization to be assigned its credibility or lack of credibility
based on numbers," he says.

On a Web site for the Men's Activism News Network, readers have compiled a list
of companies to boycott for their allegedly male-bashing ads. The list includes
perhaps the ultimate macho-man vehicle, the Hummer, which aired a spot showing
a woman behind the wheel and a tagline that read: "Threaten men in a whole new
way."

Imagine the fallout, a man said in a posting on MANN's Web site, if the roles
were reversed and men were encouraged to "threaten women in a whole new way."

It's a point well taken, says Matt Campbell, one of the site's administrators.
"To get a sense of why there is a group of men finding the state of affairs so
outrageous, just switch the gender roles for a minute and see if it would still
be funny. Imagine having a laugh track when a woman's genitals are attacked."

Ultimately, whether men and boys take the images to heart, whether it affects
how they feel about themselves, is debatable. But Paul Nathanson and Katherine
Young, authors of "Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in
Popular Culture," say advertising merely holds up a mirror.

"We do see a statistical picture that tells us men are in trouble," Young says.
"Their suicide rates are higher, their alcoholism rates are higher, they die
earlier than women, and boys are dropping out of high school at much higher
rates than girls are. The more negative imaging you get, the more it reinforces
this. Boys can say, 'If this is the way society is going to look at us, we'll
just act that way.'"


By KATE SANTICH
The Orlando Sentinel
Wednesday, Jul. 07 2004

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