Selling Stupid Men: Advertising and the Myth of the Incompetent Male

January 26, 2013 / no comments

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This is a revised version of a diary I originally posted to DailyKos.

“But advertising exploits men, too!  Look how stupid they are in so many commercials! That’s as bad as objectifying women!”  Yes, it’s equally bad.  But for the women. Not for the men.  And here’s why….

In an earlier post, I explained objectification for those unfamiliar with the term, and discussed the objectification of women in advertising.  This next post  discusses advertising aimed at women that portrays men as stupid or incompetent.

Contemporary advertising does often denigrate male ability to successfully accomplish certain tasks.  Take a short detour over to Stupid Man Commercials, where many of these ads have been collected by the son of man who is insulted every time they are aired.  I’m sure you can also think of plenty of examples on your own.

I’m commenting on these particular commercials because they were posted by an offended guy as particularly good (bad!) examples of their type. I didn’t want to let my own biases get in the way.

Fiber One:  A wife uses her wisdom to trick a stupid man into eating healthy food.

Windows 7/To The Cloud:  Dad and kids keep fidgeting and moving and mess up family photos. Mom goes online to swap in better headshots to create the image of the perfect family.

Verizon: I’m not sure why the the viewer would think the man is stupid here. He’s the one who finds the cheaper phone plan.  And it’s the wife who is the butt of the joke, since she’s earning minimum wage walking around in a taco costume. (And is her “first job” being a mom? Somehow I doubt she’s an attorney.) Continue Reading…

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