I saw an advertisement for AARP Life Insurance Program that grabbed my attention. Why? Because it was a kitchen-table conversation in which the guy was not only not clueless, but actually knew what he was doing*. The woman was skeptical, but the guy was right. He even got to say “I told you so.” How often does any of this happen in commercials.

They couldn’t leave it at that, of course. Then the hinges fell off the cabinet and he was reminded that he had some chores around the house that he needed to get done. The slacker. He looked sheepish.

* – Within the framework of the advertisement, of course – I have no idea whether AARP Life Insurance is “right” for anybody.


Category: Theater

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5 Responses to She Had To Be Right In The End

  1. Peter says:

    Male-bashing commercials like this one have been bothering me for years. It’s gotten to the point that I sometimes find it difficult to watch television, simply because sooner or later a man will be humiliated in this manner. Thank God for Tivo.

    As for why these commercials are so common, there likely are a few different explanations:

    1. Most non-sports TV programming have predominately female audiences (though you’ll see these commercials during sports shows too).

    2. Men can laugh at themselves, while women cannot, at least in mixed-gender contexts.

    3. Everyone knows that the clueless men in commercials aren’t real, and that after decades of feminism men still generally run things.

    Still, these factors don’t make the commercials appropriate.

  2. Kirk says:

    I hear commercials are written this way, as women make 85% of all consumer purchases. So, no one wants to irritate them.

    Something that might bother women though: there are no fat chicks in beer commercials. Also, on many TV shows, men are with women who are much better looking than they: King of Queens, that show with Jim Belushi whose title I forget, Seinfeld. (The women Costanza dated were, for the most part, stunning.)

    I’m sure there are numerous other examples. (Family Guy?) I would think many women would feel that an unfair burden of beauty is put on them by these shows.

  3. Becky says:

    I can’t even begin to count how many women bashing and chauvinist commercials there are out there — even though I agree that this one is pretty bad.

  4. trumwill says:

    The thing is, Becky, as far as commercials go, this one isn’t bad. The guy was actually right about the insurance (and his wife was wrong)! That’s so unusual that I was quite startled.

    Could you name some of those commercials? The closest that I am aware of is beer commercials, but none specifically come to mind. Even in the testosterone world of beer commercials you still got the Cedric the Entertainer commercials that left men to laugh at male ineptitude (which I did – those commercials were at least funny) and more recently where two guys are at a bar and shown up by a woman who knows where Budweiser Beer is made.

    I’m not doubting that the commercials are out there. It’s quite possible that I don’t see them cause I’m not the butt of their jokes. Or perhaps I see them as aimed at a particular kind of woman (such as beauty pagent contestants) rather than women as a group. I suppose you could similarly see the anti-male ads directed mostly towards married men (with with-it wives), which is a subgroup. At least six of these ten are directed at married men (and fathers), anyway.

    The late, great Bobvis blog discussed some women taking offense at some Axe ads, but it was hard for me to get worked up because it is the kind of thing that I am used to seeing with men or because I didn’t see why they were offensive. One had a woman acting really stupid in front of a guy she was hot for (cause he was wearing Axe) and another involved a quick sexual tryst in an apartment rewinding to their meeting at a grocery store or something. The first case is no different than the aforement Cedric commercials and the second struck me as cute and harmless.

    Again, it may well be because I’m not the target, but I don’t see the same sort of stream of ads with men and women where the woman instead of the man comes across as incompetent and the man collected. It doesn’t really bother me the same way that it bothers Peter, Kirk, and others, and sometimes I really like the ads, but for one reason or another it seems pretty slanted to me. The Axe and AARP Life Insurance ads stick out in ways that Cedric and Dopey Dad ads don’t because the latter seem more typical.

  5. trumwill says:

    Kirk,

    There are plenty of things to piss off women about television and you nail one of them. Overweight men are allowed in Hollywood in ways that overweight women rarely are. So when they pair off unequally, it’s almost always to the male’s benefit. I have come to believe this actually has quite a pervasive effect in leading undersocialized men on about what kind of women they can get. I actually meant to mention something about that in my previous post about the dating ineptitude of some guys.

    Also worth noting about those shows (What I’ve seen of King of Queens and World According to Jim), the overweight men are also Dopey Dad or Peter Pan types married to with-it women. This irritates guys because of our portrayal of incompetence but also girls because it suggests that it’s their duty to take care of us and pick up the slack for us. Becky was actually the one that first pointed that out. I posted about it here.

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