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Superbowl Ads vie for pathetic White male audience

February 8, 2010

We wear no pantsThere’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about the theme of the Superbowl ads.  Over at Jezebel they have a great collection all under the theme of men who’ve had their souls sucked out by women and who must somehow reclaim their manhood.   Overall, I agree with them.  But I’m not really all that angry, but more…intrigued.  All of the commercials that make up the collection are aimed at White men.  The picture to the left is from the Dockers ad featuring men not wearing pants and singing about it.  A voice over then announces: “Calling all men, it’s time to wear the pants.”

This is part of a larger ad campaign that is calling men to wear the pants and to basically take back their places as men in the family (including by disciplining the children as they should be).  A friend of mine wrote to them about how sexist and infuriating this was to women and she was responded to by someone signing with a female name saying they did not mean to offend anyone, but not much else.   My whole gripe with the Dockers ad is that it’s DOCKERS.  Since when has wearing Dockers been manly??  From what I remember, Dockers are the pants men who don’t own a suit put together with a poorly chosen navy jacket when they’re forced to go to something formal.  They are far from masculine.

But I digress.   The entire reason I wanted to write this post is because I seem to have noticed something that I haven’t seen on the blogs…all of these commercials are targeting WHITE men.  Pathetic, wife/girlfriend dominated, dirty underwear wearing, WHITE men.  So I’m sitting here wondering, what is this telling us about the state of this demographic? Superbowl marketing campaigns are not cheap, so if you’re going to put hundreds of millions of dollars into something it better be good – “good” here defined as reaching your target demographic in a way that will stick.   So what we have is a few different companies who are all competing for the attention of White men who feel like they have been emasculated and that they are treated like children by the women who nag them into acting like grown ups.  Because otherwise they would probably just act like teenage boys for as long as they could get away with it.  That’s just sad.

But how have we come to this? This is where I get stuck.  When families were more traditional, and in families that still are, it was a great moment when a boy became a man.  And he was the one who set the rules in his house and taught his children how to behave blah blah blah.  Wasn’t there a whole notion of men who were desperate to get out of their family responsibilities because they basically had to bear them alone? And now that they don’t get to do that they’ve turned into pathetic idiots? (By the way, this almost turned into a post about who the hell is dating these men, but I had to pick one!)  Why are white men disproportionately affected by this?  Well this actually comes as no surprise, since White men are constantly threatened by the masculinity of other races, especially Black and Latino men.  So ad campaigns are now taking advantage of the mentality that White men are searching for a way to masculinize (my word…yes I know a better one probably exists) themselves.  And what better way to do this than by driving uber-masculine cars, drinking uber-masculine beer, wearing uber-masculine pants, and even washing with uber-masculine Dove soap?

Black men, on the other hand, have it all down.  Even from a young age.  This is my favorite commercial so far:

I laughed and thought it was cute.  Was that wrong?  Should I be mad that they’re stereotyping Black males as being sexual (the man eyes her butt as she walks away) and aggressive (the slap) and uber masculine from the time they’re about four years old (“Don’t touch my mama”)?  Maybe, but sometimes I just want to be entertained.

Oh, and Geaux Saints!!


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