Posts Tagged ‘men vs women’

Okay I'm sick of 'manly' commercials

Posted in Ridiculum on June 13th, 2012 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

The Old Spice Guy. What havoc he has wrought.When they debuted, the Old Spice commercials were hilarious. A "manly" man screaming about body wash, punching through walls, riding horses, and wooing the ladies, all in an ADD-fueled frenzy. And I have to imagine they were successful. There were parodies, remakes, follow-ups, and most recently, knockoffs.

And that last one has gone overboard. At some point, advertising decided that in order to sell a product, especially one that isn't inherently "manly," you need to emphasize that it is in fact for men, and only for real men, and women, children, and non-manly men need not patronize these businesses.

So lately, it seems like every Super Bowl commercial is trying to duplicate the success of Old Spice. Not necessarily by simply ripping off the commercial (though I've seen a few products that do that), but more by explaining that men must retake their masculinity, they must strive to be more male, and in order to become true men again, they must use [insert product here].

I think this culminated with Dr Pepper Ten, which straight up says "it's not for women." It's amusing, and it seems to me like it's probably a parody of the concept altogether because of how over the top it is, but I think that most probably don't view it that way: it's just another in an increasingly long line of manly commercials.

There's nothing particularly manly about body wash, diet soda or light beer. If these are gendered an any direction, it's probably toward femininity. Which is why Tecate Light, the most recent example of this that I've heard, explains that it is beer only for "men with character," the last word of which is pronounced in a poor representation of a hispanic-American, as though if to also piggyback on the success of Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World."

But it's not just for men with character, which one would think means interesting men. No, it's only for the manly man. You cannot wear pink. If you do, you're not a man with character. And you're not the target audience of Tecate Light.

This is somewhat related to the trend of products telling consumers not to use them, and it's ridiculous. But it's also borderline offensive. While Old Spice was just funny, and Dr Pepper Ten took it a step further, seemingly making fun of the trend, Tecate Light is neither of these things. It's not funny, it's not self-deprecating, it's just "manly."

Almost certainly, the next iteration of these commercials will cross the line. They aren't just annoying, they're going to be offensive. I've already had enough. I think it would be wise for the trend to stop here.

Traffic Laws and Stupid Boys: Why men don’t understand women

Posted in Ridiculum on October 20th, 2009 by Nathan – 13 Comments

[Adir complained to me that my posts are often too short and leave him wanting more. As a response, this post is a little longer than usual. Give me feedback! Do you prefer the shorter or longer format? Comment below.]

via: Flickr user billaday

Recently, I discussed the issue of miscommunication between the sexes with my friend Lia. She said that “boys are stupid,” a common complaint I’ve heard from women, pretty much throughout my life. And being that I am a member of the male gender, I can say that, yes, for the most part, we are pretty stupid. But miscommunication is not entirely our fault.

The problem lies somewhere between our stupidity and the fact that women tend to be confusing, impossible to read, and generally inconsistent among their gender. The analogy I gave Lia is as follows:

Each of the fifty states has completely different traffic laws. Some only allow U-turns at intersections, some allow them anywhere, some anywhere except intersections. So we grow up and we learn the traffic laws of one particular area, then one day, enter a new state, and get a ticket for breaking the law.

If every girl had the same traffic laws, or better communication about their laws, boys wouldn’t be under the speed limit in some cases and running reds in others. But this is not the case. It’s unrealistic to suggest that drivers memorize the traffic laws of every state; even if one learns all about U-turns, there’s plenty of other laws that will surprise any driver. That is, we don’t know what girls want and they don’t communicate with us. (i.e. there’s no sign in Wisconsin that says “U-turns illegal at intersections in this state.” Had there been, I would have avoided a traffic warning.)

This definitely applies in the real world, especially in the dating world of young twenty-somethings such as myself. In discussions with my male friends, I find that no man is really aware of the proper etiquette before or after a date, and even though we try our best to do the right thing, inevitably we make mistakes.

A common example comes in the manners I display as a Southern gentleman. Thanks to conditioning by my mother from a very young age, I always hold doors open for women, allowing them to go in before I do so. However, though most women enjoy this treatment, I have noticed that some (let’s call them ultra-liberal New York types) find this to be offensive or even chauvinistic. Frankly I find this ridiculous, but nonetheless, it is the case.

More importantly, I have heard from many female friends that the post-date call is a serious point of stress. Some men call too early and sound too eager, but most men don’t call until much too late, causing their dates to think they are disinterested. This seems to be a major point of miscommunication, but really it all stems from the problem that different women have different windows of when the call should come, yet very few communicate what that window is.

Because there was no feedback in these and other situations, that is, no traffic signs or flashing lights from a cop car, men are often left in the oblivion of the murky inter-gender pit of miscommunication usually described in books with titles suggesting interstellar origins of the sexes.

Ultimately, I don’t think the onus is on men to become smarter or on women to become more consistent. But I do think it would be nice if the female highway patrol would let men off with a few more warnings before making arrests or issuing fines.

Male Space

Posted in Ridiculum on August 9th, 2009 by Nathan – 2 Comments

Today is the one month mark of when I started this blog and revitalized I originally started writing this post about the New York Senate crisis, which ended hours before I posted my first entry. If you’re interested in that, I recommend reading the Wikipedia article. Instead, here’s a continuation of a discussion I had yesterday at lunch.


I had just read this New Yorker article by Ben McGrath about a “man cave” that was discovered and raided in the New York Capitol building in Albany. Apparently, night shift janitors had built, in a corner of a parking garage, a lair “stocked with sofas, fridges, a TV, and the latest copy of Cannabis Culture. There, while on the clock, they allegedly watched DVDs of ‘M*A*S*H,’ rolled joints, and napped.”

The article had a conclusion to draw, but it didn’t actually do so, instead preferring to present all the support in favor of the conclusion, without ever actually coming out to make the point. The point that the reader was supposed to figure out was this: the janitors’ behavior was acceptable, because men no longer have space to call their own.

The Argument

So to prove this point, McGrath tries multiple arguments. He states that “one of the janitors, after nine years on the job, was earning less than thirty thousand dollars a year,” as if a low salary is excuse to do a poor job or even break the law. He also quotes an architect who identifies what he calls “male space,” which went from being the den to the garage to nowhere, as even the garage was “effectively neutered” by “Sheetrock and the Container Store.” The same architect suggests that if the situation had been women and the lair had been decorated “with neat chairs and a mirror and a makeup cabinet,” society would state, “Oh, the poor women; it’s because we didn't give them a sitting room.”

The point seems reasonable enough, and the architect goes so far as to say that society panders to “thirteen per cent African-Americans and fifteen per cent Hispanics,” but not “fifty per cent males.”

The Discussion

So I read this article at lunch to the people around me, mainly Linda, Lynda, Heidi, and Chava, and asked what they thought. Everyone seemed to think the idea was ridiculous, with Lynda stating that there’s no female space either. I suggested that perhaps the entire house was female space, in that men don’t want seventeen pillows on the quilted comforter in the bedroom or nicely framed photos on the pastel walls of the living room, but rather, as McGrath suggests, “knotty-pine panelling and mounted moose heads.”

Lynda didn’t buy my argument though, suggesting that it was in fact ‘shared space,’ not ‘female space’ and that women don’t need space of their own. Linda and Heidi agreed. Chava tried to make a joke about the kitchen being female space.

Chava said that in her house, each family member got to decorate one room as they wanted it. I pointed out that a friend’s family had just built a “man room,” replete with a humidor, wet bar, and big-screen TV for the men of the family.

So the question is: what do you think? Whether you read the article or not (it’s short, so you should), what is your opinion? Do men or women need space that they don’t have? Is the behavior of the janitors excusable? Does this all point to, as McGrath calls it, a “budding crisis in American life”?