Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sexist, Funny, or What?

I don't watch much TV, but holidays offer opportunities to do the stay-in-your-pajamas-all-day thing. You know how that is, right? Anyway, I just saw this commercial today.

I thought it was funny and laughed until Bruce looked at me guiltily and with confusion. Admittedly,  we have our fair share of discussions about what is sexist or not, but in this case I just genuinely thought it was funny. Maybe it was the main character's shaking hands as he tried to pour soda over a glass of ice while running from bad guys that tipped the scales. It seemed just like something guys I know would try to do just to see if they could. I busted a gut on the closing statement about "keep your romantic comedies and lady drinks". OMG. There's a macho diet soda now? Good luck with that one, I thought.

I actually empathize with the marketers of this product. I still get the occasional comment from a reader now and again about Casey from Dating A Cougar being sexist. And he is, I mean--Hello. Being a somewhat typical, uber macho male was the point of Casey's military male character and formed the basis of his need to modify those traits enough to have the relationship he wanted with a very independent, successful female.

In the romance novel biz, Casey is called an Alpha Male. Outside the biz, Casey is just a guy. He is someone's boyfriend, husband, or father. We all know him. Many of us are in love with or in relationships with men like him. And I'm not talking about abusive men. I'm talking about the ones who hog the remotes, talk obsessively about sports, and make the occasional offensive comment that earns them a punch in the arm from the woman they care about.

If you think men like that aren't still popular, check out top selling romance novels from Historicals to BDSM. The most popular heroes are not the kind with all smooth edges and refined manners. I know because I write all kinds of heroes and like to portray all kinds of men. I feel for men. I actually sympathize the real concern behind Adam Corolla's sarcastic comment that "in 50 years we'll all be chicks".

Okay yes, there was a time I might have huffed and gotten all feminist watching commercials like this. Now I just think that being offended over such things is a terrible waste of energy. Americans in general need to watch commercials from around the world. We are so eighth grade in our sensibilities. And pay attention, women in the countries full of "sexist" advertisements have held higher political offices than they have in the US. It is not about the commercials. It is about our social attitudes and how we treat each other. Polish off your sense of humor and torture him with quotes from hygiene product commercials if you must.

Women have worked to become more like guys and I saw some good in that. But if there are no guys? Did you read Darwin's Origin of the Species in school? Or Orwell's 1984?

Humanity has survived due to biology. There is a middle ground somewhere in our society where guys can follow their biological urges to be males and still be great fathers and husbands. One comment I saw on the video was from a guy saying "dude, just admit you're into diet soda--big deal". I paraphrased and cleaned up his comment a bit, but I would bet money the guy who made it was under 30. He is quietly sexist. He will be laughing at this commercial, shrugging over the comments, and shaking his head if the company kills it due to complaints.

Okay, here's a link to the commercial. I still say it's funny, but then I write romantic comedies. The only thing funnier to me would be to have a woman standing by the jeep at the end of their ordeal pointing out to the guy that he got his crotch wet again due to his bad aim. But then that's just me. . .

Post a Comment