I find it curious that, once again, the plight of the average Joe has been completely overlooked in the media frenzy surrounding Sheryl Sandberg's book, 'Lean In' and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to end telecommuting.
Yes, Virginia, the hyperbole's been all about the dearth of female CEO among the ranks of the Fortune 500 big-wigs (the distaff side represents a scant four percent). Sandberg's divisive tome has been punctuated by countless sob stories about the 600 or so, displaced Yahoo telecommuters impacted by Mayer's let-them-eat-cake decision. The Y600 ALL seem to be either single moms or moms running households, raising two kids, working three jobs and living a hellish life overall.
But, what about men?
If the media deign to cover us at all, we're either portrayed as:
– Autocratic and out-of-touch (see: The College of Cardinals).
– Bumbling, fumbling fools who can't add numbers or change diapers (see: any current commercial).
– Or, need our smarter, female partners to come to our rescue and save the day (see: the plot of any TV sitcom).
But, don't just take my word for it.
Doug French and John Pacini feel the exact, same way. That's why they've launched the Dad 2.0 Summit. As they'll tell you, Messrs. French and Pacini were fed up with being hidden in the rear aisles of the wildly popular Mommy Blogger summits. They were fed up with major marketers either ignoring or dissing their gender.
In a recent New York Times article they listed just a few 'dumb male' campaigns by Madison Avenue, including:
– The Huggies commercial that showed a group of fathers and their babies, with a voice-over that said, “To prove Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable: Dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for five days." Talk about a low blow. Literally.
– A P&G Tide detergent ad that showed a stay-at-home father folding laundry and referred to him a 'dad-mom'. Talk about emasculating.
– And, then of course, there was the Procter & Gamble TV spot that ran throughout the 2012 London Olympics called, “Thank you, mom” and saluted women for nurturing Olympic athletes. The campaign would lead viewers to believe the Olympians were the products of in vitro fertilization, immaculate conceptions, or both.
I realize women are relishing the spotlight at the moment. They're also hotly debating whether Sandberg and Mayer are right when they say women CAN have it all without sacrificing relationships and parenthood. I wouldn't know.
But, I would ask women marketeers to show they, are in fact, superior to we inferior males. Don't repeat our age-old mistake of patronizing and marginalizing the other sex. It's not only repellent. It'll cost you market share in a major way.
I think it's time to launch a counter-movement called The Silent Manority. Speaking for many of my brothers, I can tell you we're mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore. In fact, I think I'll even pen a new anthem for the cause: "We are men. Hear us roar, in numbers too big to ignore."