Home > Uncategorized, Visual Culture > Visual Culture: Advertising and Gender Policing Part 2

Visual Culture: Advertising and Gender Policing Part 2

September 30, 2010

Miller Lite beer has a whole advertising line of television commercials based on the gender policing of men.  I know these commercials have been around for a while; I’m just getting to writing about them now.  The message is that men should care about the quality of their beer as a gender trait and ones that do not in these commercials are found to be lacking in other areas of manliness and thus cross the border of masculine to feminine.

These are probably amusing to people because it is an attractive woman who rebukes the man for not staying within the stereotypical gender identity boundaries.  Other men may offer rebuke, but it is not the direct stare, head on rebuke in this commercial from the female bartender:

These are sad and pathetic for holding up the gender binary system of man as being “not woman” and woman as being “lesser”.  If the man is portraying something deemed stereotypically female, then he is lessening himself; the source of lessening is womanly, feminine, female.  If you are struggling to understand this, make a list of all of the cusses, swears and insults you can think of.  Then cross off the body parts that a man or either gender possess (i.e. dick, asshole); you are left with a preponderance of derogatory terms for females.  I bet you can fill a whole page of them.  I found them in the comments section of YouTube.

The message is that women are lesser, ineffectual, diminished.  If something is called “gay” the understanding of it being derogatory is from feminization [of the masculine].  These commercials encode this gender binary visually with brief theatrics surrounding a man portrayed as stupid through assigning something female to him.  The character is in jeopardy of becoming the lowest thing possible, a woman, and needs to “man up”.

What may be more horrifying are some of the YouTube comments on some of these commercials.  I found these in the comments for the first commercial embedded above with the “carry-all” shoulder bag: a comparison of misogyny versus someone’s bewilderment over the gendering of an object.

Sadly, there seems no end to this madness and visual marketing is powerful in perpetuating it.  I promise you, I’m not laughing.

Prior article: “Visual Culture: Advertising and Gender Policing”.

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