Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stereotypes

On my way to work for the past couple of days, I have heard the same commercial for Meijer, the grocery store I shop at. It's a group of women chatting, making fun of their husbands for all standing around the grill and laughing at how possessive men are of their grills. One woman says, "Yeah, but at least it keeps them out of the house." Then they all laugh knowingly.

This commercial is annoying for several reasons, but the main one is the implication that all men are just bumbling idiots who women have to "put up with." Darby and I are always annoyed at this depiction of men on TV. There's one particular commercial (I think it is for Stanley Steemer) that shows a man attempting to make a smoothie without the blender lid on. The smoothie flies everywhere as the voiceover says something like, "With kids, pets, and a husband, it's no wonder you can't keep your house clean."

These commercials do not in any way appeal to me. I mean, if men were that incompetent, why would we marry them? I didn't grow up with that model, and I certainly don't live it now. I would never think Darby incapable of fixing his own lunch, cleaning up his own messes, or operating a blender. I must confess, however, that I do sometimes tease him about his inability to find stuff in the refrigerator or cabinets...sometimes you have to move stuff around. :)

So, why is the stereotype of the bumbling husband still so prevalent? It seems like it must resonate with someone, or the advertising wouldn't be effective. Are women really living in marriages like this, where they just want their husbands to stay out of the house and out of their way? How sad. Do these commercials bother anyone else? Or, am I just taking them too seriously?

4 comments:

Kalyn Gensic said...

They bother me. BJ isn't like that at all, either. He does chores all the time around the house, and he doesn't even screw them up. Like, at all. In fact, if either of us is a bumbling idiot, I'm pretty sure it's me.

The Lances said...

Well I for one, cannot lie. There are times I would like Jamie to stay out by his grill. Sometimes it's easier to get stuff done when he's out fo the way! :-) Although, for the most part, he is quite helpful around the house. But I'm SO with you on the having to move stuff around in the cabinets to find something. Seriously, it's not that hard to move it three centimeters!!! :-)

And for the record, I'm not allowed to touch his grill (which is fine with me... then I don't have to cook!)

Matt said...

More than just commercials, it's every sitcom or cartoon that has been popular in the past decade: Everybody Loves Raymond, Still Standing, According to Jim, King of Queens, The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. It seems that the bumbling idiot husband has entrenched himself in the American television viewer's mind.

Anonymous said...

Every kids show, especially Disney- both parents are dumb but the Dad is usually a complete idiot. Part of it is, at least in kids shows and books, just a literary tool to get the parents out of the way so the kid will have the adventure, face the crisis etc.
But I think some of it o-in advertising and our general culture might be some feminist backlash. Women have been (and still often are) have been marginalized in the workplace and in society and (dare I say it?) in our churches for so long, the only place they felt "superior" was the home. Even though many women are now quite successful in the workforce, it is now become a "habit"
That's my psychological musings for thw week!

Tere