No! Men Will NOT Be Men.

I'm back to my favourite rant on gender stereotyping in the media. The Seagram ads are the latest on my hit list. Take a look at this one:

Seriously! A husband cannot remember his wife's name? And that can be excused as 'Men will be Men?"!! Even our male centric mythological texts did not let off Dushyant so lightly when he forgot his wife Shakuntala.

Here's another:

Man forgets his wedding anniversary and decides to buy a diamond ring as a peace offering. Bigger the offense, larger the size of the diamond.  After all, who needs to remember trivial stuff in life like a wife and marriage! Grrrrr. And when they do, they fall back on the old stereotype of diamonds being a girl's best friend. Shut the woman up with a shiny rock.

And yet another:

Man looking devastated. Leads you to wonder if someone has died. But no! Its worse. His wife's trip out of town has been cancelled! Men will be men!

Apart from portraying woman as:
1. Not worthy of being remembered 
2. Greedy and hankering after jewellery
3. So unbearable that husbands eagerly await their departure from the home - I think these commercials also portray men in poor light. As people who do not care for their wives enough to remember their names. As people who would bribe their way into their wives' good graces rather than be contrite and admit to making a mistake and as people who seem to find their wives' presence insufferable. At least the men in my life do not live up to THIS stereotype. 

My father is a wonderful man and a devoted husband. Going against the tradition of celebrating 'shashtiyaptapurti', he preferred to celebrate his golden jubilee wedding anniversary instead. Read more about it here: Celebrating Milestones

Like my father, my husband is also a caring human being. And what I love most about him is the amount of attention he gives me! He has his faults of course. But I have never wanted for attention from him. He misses me when I'm away and certainly knows how to make anniversaries special :) 

The reactions to these commercials have generally been good with people liking the humour, the acting and the music. One reaction says that since advertising for alcohol and tobacco are banned, the companies have to turn to these kind of 'humourous' methods. But why does 'humour' always make women the butt of the joke and present them in unfavourable light? 

No doubt, the commercials are entertaining and the actors very talented. Overall stylishly created commercials by Ogilvy. But I think they've gone over the top with the stereotyping. I know this refrain is so oft repeated that it is passe - but I think it bears repeating. Media needs to be more responsible in the way it portrays gender relations. And, we, as a society, need to be more alert to the sub text in these seemingly 'well crafted' and 'entertaining' commercials. 

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9 Responses to No! Men Will NOT Be Men.

  1. I agree with you that such ads are cheap in taste and the ad men believe making fun of 'wife' evokes mirth amongst menfolk.There must be other creative ways of making their products popular than through these unpalatable jibes.

  2. I agree with you Deepa. It is a reflection of Patriarchy and the way our society views men as "being men". They are brought up like that and any aberrations are made fun of- this thing that the ads ( particularly the Seagram ones) are trying to promote is called Machismo You might like to read more of this in one of my posts

  3. Sandhya says:

    I love to watch advertisements. Nowadays most of them are very entertaining barring some like the ones you have quoted here, Deepa. These advertising agencies are in the ancient era. I don't think these will become popular or memorable. These are cheap in taste.

  4. Rachna says:

    I agree that ads must be a little more responsible before portraying stupid stereotypes in the name of humor. The same must apply to those referring to dowry, unwanted girl child, dark skin etc. as well. Some ads can be very creative and humorous too.

  5. Quizzerix says:

    Well written...and thanks for the nice words :)

  6. Deepa says:

    Glad to see most of you agree with my position on these ads. Unfortunately, they seem to be popular. And my rants about the stereotyping only seem to evoke the response 'Take these things at face value. Chill'. But even at face value they are offensive dont you think?

  7. Bhargavi says:

    I find the seagram ads in bad taste too. Yuck!and they definitely aren't funny.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Such ads pressurize men to fit into such stereotypes of manliness. Also note how the wives are busy in the background while the men are shown to be sitting, forgetting and sulking.

    Or maybe these ads should be used to show why divorce rates are increasing - because some men would rather live like bachelors.

  9. When it comes to portrayal of women and stereotyping of the genders, things are just going worse. Surprisingly, media seems to be doing the exact opposite of what it should given today's era.