We, that is L and I, were talking yesterday about TV adverts. She’s noticed how all the kids in adverts these days seem to be pushy little miniature adults who boss grown-ups around. Look at the new Werther’s Original commercial or the latest Fruit Pastels ad for examples of that. Another issue with adverts these days is the portrayal of men. Commercials have turned men into a bunch of wimpy girls.
Cosmetic companies have been selling expensive gunk to women for years in collusion with magazines such as Cosmo using BS science made up in some marketing department. It seems you can’t buy a bottle of shampoo anymore, it has to be a total hair nourishment treatment. Magazines eager for advertising money have colluded with the cosmetic companies to rip off women in this way for a long time. But now they are doing it to men too. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen moisturiser adverts aimed at men with the same kind of patronising pseudo-science they normally try to fool women with.
Away from the world of girly men such as David Beckham and his Gillette ads, something else has happened to the portrayal of men. They’ve been castrated. Where are the heroes or the manly role models? Men are fair game in commercials now. Women are routinely shown treating them like pets, servants or weaklings. There’s no outcry, no marching in the streets, we just have to put up with it. We’re wimps and that’s that.
But remember the glory days? Remember the Milk Tray Man? Of course he was an odd bloke. He would skydive, ski and face numerous dangers all to bring a box of chocolates to the object of his desires. One did wonder though why his girlfriend was ensconced in the Schloss Adler. Was she a high ranking Nazi too busy fighting the war? The Nazis didn’t invade Switzerland but Belgian chocolate mustn’t have been hard to come by. Our favourite theory is that she was such an embarrassingly ugly troll that the Milk Tray Man kept her locked up on top of a mountain, only occasionally visiting with something for her to stuff in her appalling maw.
Anyway, I am wandering off the point. Which is that I can’t think of many manly role models in the popular media anymore. There’s none in pop music. A bevy of gay music managers have ensured pop is dominated by boy bands and singers with girly voices. When did you last hear a young and successful singer with a voice like Paul Rodgers? Men are the downtrodden in advertising now, fair game to poke fun at all the time. Is there only so much strength shared between the sexes that we can only have one powerful one at a time?
Should I be lucky enough one day to be blessed with a son I wonder what role models will exist for him that help him know what it is to be a man? Certainly none of the simpering emasculated simpletons we see in adverts. I suppose it will be a diet of Connery James Bond movies and of course Where Eagles Dare for my son. I’m not claiming men are downtrodden in society, but just looking at adverts these days you’d think we’d replaced the patronised, abused, downtrodden women of adverts past with men, rather than just creating freedom for both.