Advertisers are well aware of feminism. They have been scolded, boycotted and sued for their contributions to sexist imagery, misogynist diatribes and cultural stereotypes. In this postfeminist landscape, bikini girls are now repackaged, diluted and reconstituted as somehow less sexist and quite frankly, boring. Men are the new fodder.
We can now witness misogyny and misandry. Is this the equality that has escaped us for centuries? Misandry – the opposite of misogyny – is the new trend in advertising. The dumb husband, the slacker father and the horny bachlelor are the hot stereotypes this year. Objectifying women is so 90’s.
Why haven’t the Limbaugh’s of the world united on this attack of their masculinity? Why so many erectile dysfunction ads lately? Is it the Male Hysteria of our times? Do we need a Desperate Husbands phenomenon to waken the brothers from their oppression?
It is unfortunate that we can’t sell bleach, beer, hot dogs, razors or internet access without degrading somebody. Much of these negative campaigns are more than a mere battle in the gender wars. There are classist and racist ideologies embedded in this hyped consumerism.
Advertisers stick to their philosophical roots. Create a manufactured need and they will buy. Create a feeling of inadequacy and they will purchase. Appropriate cultures and alternative ideologies and they believe in the demand for new and improved.
The holy grail of advertising is Sunday. There is much ado about nipples or the lack of. There are promises of sensitivity and moral reform. I can’t wait. I’m betting we will see plenty of penis shields (jock straps) and malfunctioning wardrobes (rumor has it Paul McCartney won’t be wearing any underwear).
Is it ironic that President Bush chose Groundhog’s Day for his State of the Union address? I predict 4 more years of cultural winter.