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Friday, February 29, 2008

Because you're not that guy...

Have you seen these commercials?

The number of gender-limiting messages we receive through commercials on a daily basis is mind-blowing. Obviously, commercials are meant to tell us to think a certain way in order to persuade us to buy a product, but when we allow it to shape our mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors it can be really dangerous. You might disagree with me or think that I have over-analyzed this commercial, but I think the limited emotional ability of men this commercial presents is absolutely destructive to masculinity and femininity and relationships.

I would invite you to view it again and really consider what messages are being covertly sent about "that guy" and "regular guys" and what it is saying, in general, about what it means to be in healthy relationships.

I would also invite you to consider the following questions: Is there really something wrong about being "that guy"? Is he any less of a man for painting her nails? What's wrong with being that genuinely in-tune with your partner? Is it really necessary to call out that guy's masculinity because he chooses to invest time in becoming more intimately known with what his partner really desires rather than merely investing money in a materialistic gift? What kind of message does this send to young men and boys about the “acceptable” way to act? Which guy do you prefer "that guy" or the "the regular guy"? Do we have to be only one or the other?

David Belt
Man Up! Coordinator


Anonymous said...

I'm so excited that you picked this ad! I was watching it the other day with some of my friends...(all females) and we had an interesting discussion about it. We all agreed that we would rather have the guy who wants to spend some time with us (the pedicure doesn't hurt), than a man who drops a few bucks for some jewelry.
If buying fancy presents makes someone "manly", frankly that's not the sort of man I would want to date!

John said...

hey man, yeah, I spending time with partners gets a bad rap...and it takes good men to stand up and say there's nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with your partner.

however, i think this commercial might be painting a different picture that needs addressed as well. The man they show is a man who is subservient. They aren't spending time together, she's reading a magazine, and she looks up to 'approve' of his work...the man they show is shown as a servant of...not in relationship with. That's what gets me...rather than show that man can spend quality time with their partner, they paint a picture of dudes bein whipped...that's what irks me.

Anyway, thanks for the blog dude...i'm in KC working at a youth center and would love to chat with ya sometime if you interested.

Darcy said...

Speaking of gender-limiting messages this relationship only paints one very specific type.... a heterosexual one. As commericals continue to seep into our mindsets, attitudes and behaviors and we look around to try to find a healthy heterosexual one its even a bigger challenge to find a gay one or a bi-racial or one that doesn't feature super models. To me, I think its important that we continue to challenge mainstream media to create advertising that engages and uplifts our society rather than reinforce unhealthy stereotypes.

David said...

I hear what you are saying to a point but when you say "whipped" I fear that you have bought into the stereotype. That term is so charged to me it is hard to unpack. It is used when the man acts subservent to his partner but I don't hear it used towards the partner -- as if that is expected. If my partner cooks me dinner and while she does so I read the paper or watch the news, nobody thinks anything of it. But if I paint her nails while she reads the paper, then I'm whipped. That's messed up to me.

Anonymous said...

A few of us guys were getting tired of seeing these ads which will be playing until Valentine's Day is done. We can't stand the Jared's commercials either.

As for these commercials and the new one with the guy washing her dog instead of going to hang with the guys while she was out. We thought somebody should create a Best Buy commercial where the girl decides to do something for her man instead of going shopping with the girls. It does become a problem with these commercials and can try and tell us that women still don't have to spend money to be in a relationship. But with these commercials can show that they expect men to have to.

Anonymous said...

I've performed this kindness for my wife since she became an invalid.

As a man who has proudly served in the Rangers and currently teaches combat pistol shooting, I don't consider myself, "That guy."

I cannot express how gratifying it would be to personally express my feelings to the party responsible at Barclay marketing.

Also, I guess it goes without saying that I will never set foot in a Helzberg outlet.