Monday, February 21, 2011

Male Bashing

Male bashing is on the rise, especially on television. My husband is the first person who brought it to my attention. He expressed indignation at some of the commercials on television and the way they portrayed men. Then, someone mentioned it on Facebook with the idea of how the supposedly funny commercials would affect the self esteem of young boys as they grew into manhood. Do we want them to think the world looks at them as a laughing stock?

No! What has caused the rise of said commercials? Possibly the increase of women in the workplace as they travel up the career ladder and gain equal footing with men. This is good. I'm proud of and for women. I'm one myself. The status was hard earned and well deserved. But, does their success lessen the role men play in the workplace, home, and the world?

Of course not. Women wanted equality and got it. Some women no longer want to be treated like women, don't believe men should open doors for them, etc. Personally, I like being able to provide for myself if necessary, but enjoy the perks of being a woman. And by golly, when a man opens the door for me, I say, "Thank you."

I don't want our young boys to see men portrayed on television and elsewhere as boobs. I want them to see strong men who're not afraid to change a baby's diaper but still able to defend the world if necessary, and strike romance in their love's heart. The type of men we romance authors want our heroes to be.  

I think the majority of women today want to be on equal status with men, be partners in a relationship, each contributing with their strengths and their spouse/partner supporting their weaknesses. It'd be nice to see commercials depicting this view.

Of course, this is my opinion and you may feel differently. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and please, share some examples of those commercials guilty of male bashing.

Thanks for reading and writing!



  1. Linda,

    I agree with your sentiments, so I can't add to the TV portrayal of men. Just the commercials for Two and a Half Men give me the shivers. What I'm finding in our Tuesday night fiction writers group is that a majority of the women either don't include men in their stories or, if they do, the men are thoughtless, ignorant and/or useless clods. I often feel some trepidation when I turn in a chapter for critique and I have a handsome, smart devil of a hunk being kind to my heroine. Ronnie

  2. The pendulum has swung from "I Love Lucy" (a dingbat who landed on her feet because her husband, another dingbat bailed her out) to a dangerous portrayal of doopy men.

    The truth is in the middle. We should stand up for the good guys and fix the wagons (already circling) of the lesser men.


  3. I agree with both of you. I don't watch much TV but both my hubby and I groan at the stupidity of the commercials they have. I like to see the puppy being pampered in the toilet paper commercial. I understand men and women bashing each other when they are going through a divorce but it doesn't lessen the pain any and only makes for more hard feelings. This is definitely not a proper way to portray how an adult is supposed to act and children always pick up and emulate adults.

    Young boys and even young girls should not be subjected to this type of advertising, let alone adults.

  4. Absolutely agree with you, Linda. It's the same here on UK TV, although I think it was even worse a few years ago. I'm all for equality and I love that women have more power (sometimes), but I do think men and women have their own strengths within that equality. And a lot of what's happening today certainly emasculates men.

  5. I so agree. I don't watch much TV, like Kat, but what little I see really disturbs me. I raised my three sons to be strong, caring men. It infuriates me that men are protrayed as
    not quite all together. What happened to Father Knows Best? But then look at the decline of morals and you can see it happening everywhere.

  6. Actually, I'm sick and tired of the way they depict both sexes. I guess my age is showing, but most of the dialogue in commercials and programming centers on bashing or making fun of people, be it male/female, left/right, or even parent/child. We've grown a generation (or 2) of children who've seen themselves as precocious children who've gotten laughs at spitting out spiteful language. Teenagers as well as young adults play video games that on the one hand is pretty much like reading a short story with various endings, yet on the other hand can create an attitude of control. What bothers me most is the role reversal instead of working together. Men who are afraid of what to say or do around women for fear of doing the wrong thing, and women who take advantage of that and end up being controling themselves. I know that has been going on for a long time, but it has become complicated leaving the door open for bashing.

  7. Absolutely agree. men and woman period are portrayed in all the wrong ways in the media and honestly, looking at today's youth, it's having a bad effect.

  8. Reading the first paragraph of your blog I thought “Heck, yeah! It’s about time THEY got the bad end of the stick instead of us women!” But then the estrogen overtook the testosterone and allowed my brain to function correctly. Oops, I guess that could be considered male bashing.

    I'm afraid that I often utter deprecating generalizations about men – yes me, the mother/grandmother of three young men. The motivation for this male bashing is the frustrating experiences I have had with the men in my life both past and present. So in order to make myself feel better, I bash. Not that it make me actually feel better - just makes me appear to be the harping stereotypical female that men have labeled women for years. Male bashing, female bashing, gay bashing, fat jokes, etc. I think that any kind of bashing says more about the basher than the group being bashed. Any type of “bashing” should be socially unacceptable.

    I do not believe male bashing is on the rise because of women in the workplace or women gaining equal footing with men. In my opinion, it is just another of those trends in movies and television. One show, commercial or movie makes a killing making fun of a certain group of people and then all the copycats come out. Give the people what they want, right? Unfortunately people then find it socially acceptable to bash said group – “Hey don’t bet mad, we’re just joking around.”

    I agree with you Linda. I want my sons and grandson to grow up to be well rounded men. Able to be a supportive, equal partner to their significant others. I want the same for my daughter and granddaughter. So my new, New Year’s resolution is to monitor my way of speaking. And maybe I will write a protest letter or two.

    I would list some examples male bashing commercials but I cannot remember any specific ones at this time. I will mention the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Four academically smart young men who cannot get a date and are awkward in the social arena. They would be labeled as geeks. I love this show but none of the characterizations could be considered role models for young men.

    Thanks Linda, for bringing up a great discussion topic. Thank Larry too.


  9. Its been going on for a long time. Without getting into politics, blaming men, especially Anglo men, for every fault in the world has been accessible for decades in the media, generally because men tolerant it and never organize to fight back.

    I remember an EEO class I was forced to take. There were about 5 Angelo's in the class, but the instructor and the group did not realize I was part NA and grouped me in with the Anglo men. They then allowed the other diversity groups to verbally assault the Anglo men to "teach" them what it was like (I kid you not). I was the only one that stood my ground and did not tolerate the BS, the rest just sat like a flock of sheep being fed to a pack of wolves. The lady next to me remarked, "I'm so sorry for what they're doing." I replied, "DOn't sweet it, you get used to it after a while."

    I taught my boys there is injustices and intolerance from all sides and most are blind to the venenomos nature of their scotomas. You just have to learn to deal with it. Fortunately, more and more men are starting to stand up. About six months ago one of the local car dealers was running a commerical that bashed the heck out of men. WHen I called to complain the reception admited she had received several dozen calls, including from mothers and wifes, and they took it off the air.

    People have to stand against nastiness no matter who it's against. Its what I taught my boys and what I'm teaching my GD and neices now.


    Big Mike

  10. I don't notice "bashing" much, probably because DH and I fast forward thru the commercials during our shows (we DVR them). What I HAVE noticed is the trend to continue to market to women for certain products, like dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, vacuums and such, as if we women are still homemakers of the I Love Lucy days.

    That's why I love it when a commercial comes along (like the one about the man who falls in love with his minivan) that breaks the conventional "norm". I'm more likely to pay attention and buy that product.


  11. Yes, I've noticed the man bashing. Women bashing has become more subtle, and instances where we encourage our children to lie and be deceptive go unchallenged.

    Stereotypes and bashing are the meat of commercials, and as you point out, for the so called humor.

    The last day of my composition classes I have students look at commercials and find the not so 'hidden' message. It's amazing what they point out--so there is hope.

    Good post, Linda. This is a topic that needs more exposure.

  12. Wow, I left for a while and came back to all of these comments. Wonderful!!!

    What kind of fiction does your writer's group write? I'm not interested in reading anything that portrays either of the sexes as ignorant or useless.

    Yes, Julie, those two were portrayed as dingbats but I guess because all of the cast were so funny I didn't think much about it at the time.

  13. Kat and Rosemary,

    One of the commercials I hate is the one where the father serves dinner using a helicopter. It splashes tomato sauce all over the dauther and flies into the china cabinet. I usually enjoy commercials if they're good ones, but agree bashing of any sex, etc. is distasteful. One of the superbowl ads bashed the elderly.

  14. I agree, Allison, though the show sterotyped women as homemakers. At least mom wasn't dumb and was a good wife and mother.

  15. I don't really notice the bashing, but then again, I'm so used to our nation censoring everything that I miss some of the obvious. Just saying. And if our kids are messed up, it's our fault, not the tv. We can turn it off. I'm with you Linda, I don't want my boy feeling less manly because of a commercial, but I try to take full responsibility in his upbringing and I will turn off the TV on occasion when it gets out of hand. I'm glad you noticed this and I'm sure as a teacher you saw many years of the effect the media had on children.

  16. Anna, Joanne, & Barb,
    Yes, we've become a bashing society. It seems our sense of humor has lost it's SENSE. The things we think are funny are off. Blondes have gotten a bad wrap for a long time.

  17. BM, I guess I just didn't notice until my husband said something. I don't know what an EEO class is but can't imagine a group being allowed to bash others in the class. Good for you on the car ad.

    Becka, I saw a commercial recently where the husband and wife were racing to see which vacuum cleaner was picked up the best. That's the only one I've seen lately where both were cleaning the house.

  18. Good point, Rachael, about turning off the tv when you disapprove. Sometimes they're over before you realize their intent. Being responsible for what they watch is key.

  19. I hate those commercials and sitcoms that paint men as idiots just as much as I did the earlier ones where women had to be dumb and simpering to attract men. I think the ad agencies have run amok trying to appeal to female audiences at the expense of men. It strikes me the pendulum has swung too far from the original when dumb women were the norm and their male counterparts always had to bail them out. But what I dislike even more is when Mr. Clean or someone of his ilk comes in and teaches a woman how to clean house with his special product. And who remembers the shamed woman whose husband got teased because he had "ring around the collar." I wanted to yell at the guy to wash is dirty neck!

  20. Jeez, I guess I don't watch enough TV to notice a trend happening. Bashing anyone to sell a product is unacceptable and trying to portray a conflict by bashing adds up to being a bully. I don't have the patience for such behavior. I still see a lot of stereotyping for women in the workplace but "we've come a long way baby". If you remember that jingle, I was furious with 'baby'. Linda, I always say thank you to whoever is holding the door open for me. I married a man who is very secure in his masculinity so through the years we know which job each prefers or doesn't mind carrying out. As for my grandchildren...I don't think they think this way, hmm. Grandma will be on the prowl.

  21. I enjoyed your blog. I find in the era of disposable families the bashing of either doesn't help.

  22. I am glad you commented on this, good point Linda. I noticed it to a degree myself, but I pretty much tune out the commercials. My husband and kids are usually the ones watching the TV. As a mother of three boys, I agree with Rachel. It is all about how they are raised. Mine know better than to be disrespectful to anyone. I do still keep and eye on what my 11yr old watches on TV and what video games he is allowed to play.

  23. Male or female, we are all part of the human race and endowed with innate value. Those of us who see this may bear the greater responsibility for showing ourselves to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. At least there is some hope for tangible progress/change in this way. Easier said than done, I say, as Sam and I discuss the grocery list. :)

  24. Hi Judy,
    Oh, yes. I remember ring around the collar and Mr. Clean. I do enjoy some commercials when they're entertaining and not condescending.

  25. Thanks for stopping by, Susan and Cathy. Yes, I remember the jingle. You know, my latest release also deals with some of that stereotyping. Glad I put it in there. Interesting word, Cathy--disposible. I'd never thought about families today as being disposable.

  26. Good for you Nese. I agree it's all in the raising of kids.

    You're an interesting couple, Sam and Linda. It's obvious you two share in all things. Awesome!

  27. My husband and I don't watch a lot of TV and what we do watch is usually recorded so we can zip through the commercials. We've both commented when we do see commercials that most of them would not make us want to buy the product or do what ever was being promoted. We have an equal opportunity relationship. He does as much cleaning, washing of dishes and clothes, cooking etc. as I do...sometimes more. I hate it when men or women are bashed. I have a girlfriend I went to high school with (45 years ago) and she used to send me tons of e-mails a day....all men bashing. I finally blocked her. Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

  28. Hi Peg,
    Thanks for stopping by. My husband and I both comment on the good commercials, too. And then there are times we ask, "Did that make any sense to you?" Maybe it's our age.

    Sad about you high school girlfriend.

  29. I hate male bashing television, I am sick of it, let us reward, love and thank the good ones, male and female and punish the bad, both male and female, but I also hate that this gives a false impression of what marriage to women is, the cascade commercial, the new disgusting gorilla glue, yeah if you get married this is what will happen to you, women will make fools of you, male bashing commercials hurt both sexes, and marriage, it is like they want women`s rights and marriage to fail, it hurts us all, but I also can not stand anything romantic, not a romantic bone in my body, but if anyone cares, please put in a good word to Tom Matlock he withdrew from ceo of the good men`s project, and he has a just point, he was attacked by feminists, he was one of the good guys, please let us all reward and love the good guys, peace out, kiva