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."
Thanks, annmb. I can appreciate why some women would want to put men down (considering that man has patronized woman from day one). But, two wrongs most certainly don’t make a right.
In this instance, male bashing undercuts the self-image and confidence of boys and young men. And, we’ve seen the kind of damage alienated young men can do (ie Sandy Hook, Columbine, etc). We don’t need Hollywood and Madison Avenue to further exacerbate a volatile situation.
Thanks for the comment, Matt. As the former slave turned conquering Union soldier said to his captured, erstwhile owner, ‘Bottom rail on top now, massa.’ Sadly, certain female copy and screenwriters are having a field day with their male-bashing (and, are absolutely clueless about the collateral damage such stereotyping is causing).
As a single dad, I applaud you blog post. I’m not sure when the “Mommy Bloggers” became the Queens of Consumer PR. Personally, I don’t have time to be a Daddy Blogger; I’m too busy taking care of my child. I just hope the Mommy Bloggers are enjoying all those free products consumer marketers send them to “review.”
I don’t blame you for feeling frustrated at being ignored, portrayed as clueless and marginalized. Most women have learned a thing or two about that over the course of their lives. Which is why we all should know better. Men and women deserve equal respect and an equal voice, whether it’s in silly television ads or the workplace. I don’t subscribe to the notion that one has to lose out for the other to gain. No one should. In fact, when both sides are equally valued, the result is always better.
Thanks for the comment, Linda. The other problem with the all-male bashing, all-the-time messaging is the impact it MUST be having on our nation’s youth. Do young girls automatically believe their male peers are complete idiots because TV tells them so? And, how do guys overcome the built-in inferiority complex that Hollywood and Madison Avenue have been carefully nurturing over the past decade or so? It really is disgraceful.
Great post, and you remind me that the other group that has been left out of this national discussion is women who are childless by choice. Actually, I am terrible with diapers and am a bumbling fool around such things. The TV ads and TV sitcoms don’t portray us very accurately, either. We’re a silent minority within a silent manority. ):