Saturday, June 14, 2008

Top 10: Worst Male-Bashing Ads

This post has been making the rounds. I am opposed to all forms of bashing, but it seems there is still free-reign to bash males, especially in commercials, sit-coms, and other forms of supposedly humorous entertainment.

In all fairness, this stuff is pretty harmless in most ways, although it does represent an underlying animosity toward men. But most of us shouldn't be so thin-skinned that we are "hurt" by this. Maybe annoyed, but not hurt.

What these do represent, however, is a rather unhealthy view of men.

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Top 10 worst male-bashing ads of the year

AT&T commercial - Credit: AT&T

You’ve seen him plenty of times on sitcoms; he’s the dumb, bumbling, idiot dad, husband and boyfriend who appears useless at everything but bringing home a paycheck. The message: Guys are dumb and women have to lead themn called Children Now found that two-thirds of kid respondents described men on TV as angry, while respondents from another group’s survey said men were portrayed as corrupt on TV by a 17 to 1 margin. Clearly, this is no laughing matter.

To highlight companies pushing anti-guy messages, we’ve compiled a list of the worst male-bashing ads from 2007 and 2008. Whether husbands are portrayed as useless, stereotypical men or absolute airheads, our list of worst male-bashing ads exposes them all.

Check out which worst male-bashing ads are the main offenders.

Number 10

Pizza Hut

Need to cook a meal? Better call for pizza because you surely can’t do it on your own. In this worst male-bashing ad, Pizza Hut rolls out the tired stereotype that men are completely useless in the kitchen. Take a look at the real world, however, and you’ll see a much different picture than the one painted in this worst male-bashing ad: Men still dominate professional kitchens as chefs. You can take your pick from the tons of male celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Of course you use the microwave, but you can also boil an egg, grill a great steak and even prepare vegetables. You may have grown up on your mother's cooking, but now that you are grown up you can be the master of your kitchen -- even if advertising insists you can’t.

Number 9


Apparently, men are pushovers and women are the superior voice in relationships. It’s unclear what product or service this No. 9 worst male-bashing ad is pitching, but its cliched message comes in loud and clear. You’ve seen this script play out on sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens all the time. The formula in this worst male-bashing ad is simple: Man + Outside World = Dumb. Clearly, whomever came up with the concept wasn’t doing much heavy lifting for an idea; they simply repackaged the “dumb man” character as a more literal representation -- a caveman. Warning: blood may boil after repeated viewings.

Number 8


A guy is in Las Vegas, probably for a convention, and he’s never gambled before. He gets a taste for it, and loses money at the tables. Sounds like it could happen, right? Now here’s the AT&T version: same setup, but the guy calls his wife to report how much fun he’s having and explains in the naive tone of a kid going to school for the first time that he lost “chips” he wasn’t aware were worth money. Believable? Sure, as a science-fiction plot in which men are house pets. In the real world, even the crazy guy who bets his life savings has brains enough to know he’s not playing Monopoly.

Number 7


While men are regularly called dogs, Whiskas is comparing men to cats. In this worst male-bashing ad, a guy is lazing on top of a sofa. When company comes over, he slides down and asks his wife if they brought food. He finds out they haven’t and he slumps over the edge of the couch like he has an antisocial personality disorder. The message revisits classic male stereotypes: Men are simple, unrefined creatures that need to be given direction. This is similar to previous male cliches on sitcoms like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement where men were reduced to having three interests: sports, food and power tools. This worst male-bashing ad suggests men are still cavemen who just happen to live in houses. Watch and cringe.

Number 6


Does this sound familiar? Guy propositions girlfriend/wife for sex, girlfriend/wife rolls her eyes/yawns/laughs and retorts with a variation of: “What’s in it for me?” Cue laugh track. Sitcoms and comics have squeezed every inch of life out of male sexual inadequacy jokes that they’ve now become as limp as their punch lines. Not for Domino’s, however. Clearly, they didn’t think this comic horse was dead and beat it a few more times for laughs. Here again, for the millionth and first time, is the joke of the under-performing man. Watch our No. 6 worst male-bashing ad and contribute your own groan track where you see fit.

Number 5

Sony Cyber-shot

To make sure no one misses the joke in this spot, Sony takes an actual horse, turns it around and gets characters to talk to its rear end like its a dad. The message is about as subtle as a jackhammer: Men are horses’ asses. Like other ads, this one ignores that dads do help their kids with homework, play with them outside, sit in the audience for their plays and recitals, and also work to contribute money toward food, health and the mortgage. With a spot that caters to the lowest common denominator in such an obvious, un-ironic way, perhaps the real horses’ asses are the advertisers who, along with men, consider their audience to be idiots.

Number 4

1st For Women Insurance Brokers

Men are involved in more fatal car accidents than women. Does this make us idiots? This South African insurance company thinks so. This male-bashing ad shows a car full of guys taunting another man who’s trying to get back in their car after a pee break. The driver’s not paying attention, however, and drives off a cliff. Here’s the real story: Men spend around 20% more time driving than women. We still have more fatal car accidents, but in the past 30 years female deaths have increased 14%, while ours have declined by 11%. Plus, evidence shows that women get in more minor accidents than men. Clearly, women aren’t the timid drivers previous stats would suggest. Need more proof? Look at Danica Patrick; not only is she a female driver on the testosterone-heavy Indy circuit, but she’s a winning female driver. Accidents, then, just like modern hiring practices, are an equal-opportunity event.

Dairy Queen commercial - Credit: Dairy Queen
These male-bashing commercials make men look stupid

Number 3


In our No. 3 worst male-bashing ad, a guy tries to fit in his with his kids when he dashes head-first down the Slip-n-Slide, only to find himself crashing into a strategically placed heap of garbage bins. The moral of this story: Dads are even dumber and more childlike than their own offspring. Apparently, they’re also terrible babysitters, seeing as they’d let their kids play in an area where they could potentially plunge into garbage themselves. Watch this incompetent-dad ad and see the male-bashing for yourself. The good news is: If this is truly how men are perceived in the world and you carry a conversation, you’re a shoo-in for a CEO job.

Number 2


Stealing from Sony’s playbook, this worst male-bashing ad goes one further by saying men are not merely horses’ asses, but complete jackasses. A woman describes her frustration of living with animals while the jackass (her husband) is physically tearing apart the house around her. At the end, she sits down with him on the couch to pet him condescendingly. Wow. Forget men sharing baby duties, knowing how to vacuum, doing dishes, and picking up after themselves and others. Instead, the cliched message is that women are the civilized voice burdened with managing men and their ingrained frat-boy mindset. Instead of chanting “toga” after you’ve watched this male bashing-ad, however, you may be inclined to another chant “bullsh*t,” like at football games after a bad call.

Number 1

Dairy Queen

Meet the future man: a vacant moron ripe for manipulation. A young girl passes on an ice cream with her mom. The two sit down and a DQ employee gives her an ice cream, saying it’s from the young boy wearing “the donkey shirt.” She smiles at the boy and turns to her mom to say, “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” Insane. The idea in our No. 1 worst male-bashing ad is that guys are not only disposable idiots in women’s eyes, but they’re also idiots for trusting women. Forget that being trusting is a positive quality. Actually, the most disturbing portrayal of all is the little girl's arrogance and sense of entitlement. Warning: After watching, your awe may turn to anger; take a couple deep breaths before engaging in any further activity.

don’t be a hater

Dumb, incompetent male characters are portrayed in abundance on television commercials. From being completely henpecked to having two working brain cells, our top 10 list of the worst male-bashing ads represents the whole spectrum. If all this negativity turns your stomach, you can easily strike back with your wallet and avoid these products. For the simpler, more immediate protest, however, use your thumb and change the channel.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I looked at the videos, I did not laugh.
Then I searched for the company names in google and yahoo news. After reading about their bankruptcies and huge financial losses, and many of their loyal customers who enjoyed these types of ads, losing their jobs by the thousands, I laughed to my heart’s content.