Men in Families, Guyland, Male Consumer as Loser, and the Super Bowl

Gina Pol

In  “Boys and Men in Families”, Adams and Coltrane provide very interesting ideas on the role males play through their transition from boys to men. One of the significant themes is the ideal of separate spheres that places male and female into two separate categories. They explain that from the start, boys are taught of “masculinity as anything not feminine” through the enforcement of institutions like the family, school, workplace, etc. They are taught to be “strong”, show little emotion, and most importantly to not cry. If they failed to do any of those or showed any signs of weakness, they will be referred to as “sissies” or not being “man enough”. At a young age, they are able to recognize the power and privilege they hold in comparison to females as long as they fit the masculine behaviors.

Growing up in a patriarchal family, I was able to distinguish quickly the different spheres that I held in comparison to my brother and male cousins. My brother and male cousins were very loud children and their playtime usually consisted of wrestling one another. As the only girl in the family, I was usually forced to play with them. I joined them in the wrestling matches, which consisted mostly of me being choke-slammed. Although they allowed me to join in these wrestling matches, I knew that my older cousins often went easy on me because I was a girl. They would pick me up slowly and throw me lightly in comparison to the way they wrestled one another. Although I appreciated not getting hurt as much, I knew that the treatment I received was based on my gender.

While “Guyland” offered important insights on the role that men must fulfill in order to be considered masculine. He discusses several characteristics that make up a “real man” with some of top being “boys don’t cry”, “it’s better to be mad than sad”, and “take it like a man”. I find this reading to be slightly troublesome through the excuse Kimmel uses for boys when they are engaging in deviant behaviors. He discusses how men are suppressed into conforming to these deviant acts that they have little control over in order to maintain their masculinity. Many of these deviant acts include laughing and encouraging fights, making fun of others, and staying silent during sexual assaults, which should NOT be excused.

The reading “Male Consumer as Loser” fit in perfectly as it was time to watch the Super bowl. The reading discusses the changes that occurred in beer ads over time. During the 1950s-1960s, the beer ads consisted of mostly couples enjoying a beer together while the 1970s-1980s consisted of men performing labor activities with women in the background. During the 1990s and more recently, these ads have started to sexualize women. One of the Super bowl ads that I found most problematic was the Oikos Greek Yogurt commercial (which I have attached the link to). Throughout the ad, the woman’s movements are in a very sexual manner. At first she wipes off the yogurt with her finger and licks it and then moves onto kiss the yogurt off his lips. It is evident the first time when the man says, “Oops I did it again” and especially the second time when he spills the yogurt on to his pants that he wants her to continue her sexual acts. This interaction is a great example of how women are often portrayed sexually in ads targeted toward men viewers. Coincidentally in “Boys and Men in Families”, Adams and Coltrane mentions that oikos means family in Greek, which happens to be the name of the Greek yogurt brand in this ad as well. Instead of having an ad more associated with family, the ad portrays a man being pleasured by a woman. The ad ends with the slogan “Fuel you pleasure” to confirm that this is an ad targeted specifically for men. It would be interesting to see how these ads will to change as time progresses.

Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt – The Spill




6 thoughts on “Men in Families, Guyland, Male Consumer as Loser, and the Super Bowl

  1. Brittany Juliano

    Gina, I liked your post because I too grew up in a family dominated by men. Interestingly, while my mom insisted that I wear cute, pink clothes and play with Barbie, my brothers included me in their ‘tough guy’ expectations. The “take it like a man” mentality of Guyland did not just apply to them, but to me as well, and so despite being their little sister, I was held accountable for the same standards of my brothers. So similar to your rough and tumble play, I was also included to be one of the boys. Something that would never happen, however, is the reverse. We have both demonstrated that girls can be included in boy’s play, but that boys would never join girl’s play. I never recall any of my brothers jumping at playing Barbie, and so the point made by Adams and Coltrane in their article stands true. Boys are socialized to think of “masculinity as anything not feminine.”

  2. Haris Kuljancic
    I thought the ad was very interesting and I wanted to expand on it further. Oikos is a yogurt that is associated with eating healthy, losing weight, and maintaining a certain level of sexuality. John Stamos, an actor that most of us know from “Full House”, is used as a very attractive man and a goal for each woman. In order to obtain this man they have to eat Oikos in order to lose weight and become sexy. Many Super Bowl commercials showed how Men were interested in their Trucks, cars, and booze: all of which are materialistic items that men strive for. They strive for this things because they need the approval of other men, as Kimmel mentioned. They need the faster car, the stronger truck, etc. On the other hand, woman often times are sexualized and seeking men instead of materialistic goods. Their power comes from their ability to be with a powerful, wealthy and attractive man.

  3. Carly Ozarowski

    Your post and the comments above make me raise the question: is a women only a women in the presence of a man? Haris, as you sate above Kimmel’s idea of “Be a Big Wheel” is just another representation of power and wealth a man feels he needs and needs to show off. Kimmel later address that men act the way they do because they want to be positively evaluated by other men. Is this also not what women want? Or well, really, what women are socially told to want. Since we know boys preform for boys, do girls do a combination of preforming for girls and boys?

  4. Luis Ramos:

    Reading these articles make me feel out of place in relation to not ever feeling pressured to conform to society’s view of a boy or a girl as I was growing up and building my own identity. As a child, I was somewhat aware of the separate spheres and categories males and females tend to correspond to. My dad was masculine, my mom was feminine, but NEVER did the two try to force a gender upon me. In a way, I guess the fact that I was just a kid, and it was a time where I could be careless and what not, made it possible for my parents to be flexible with gender norms. My childhood was not predetermined by cultural stereotypes of male and female. It was more gender-neutral than anything, allowing me to explore my own roles. It wasn’t until much later on that I realize what could happen if I didn’t act masculine enough or if I showed too much emotion. People assume that you’re something you’re not just because you’re not following society’s expectations of a male. For example, what would you think of a little boy who wants to wear pink-zebra shoes? I read this article almost a year ago, and it always comes to mind when dealing with gender vs. sex issues. Check it out. You have to love the innocence and logic of the young boy.

  5. Gracie Hall:

    One thing I additionally noticed about the Oikos commercial is how it relates to homophobia and some of the themes discussed by our authors. At the end of the commercial after the woman leaves John Stamos cries out that she shouldn’t leave him alone with these two men; because presumably he doesn’t want to be seen as gay. This can be related back to Kimmel’s article, as well as Adams and Contranes and the fragile construct of masculinity.

  6. I actually enjoyed the Danos commercial. I am not sure if this is because I have become immersed in a society filled with offensive representations of women and men and I now just perceive this as inoffensive and acceptable. While I can see the troubling aspects of many beer and liquor commercials that show the fantasy women humiliating the hopeless man, I did not feel that this qualified. In this ad the man (John Stamos) and the woman both seem to be equally interested in having sex and therefore are equal partners. However the two friends come in and break up the moment in comedic fashion. Instead of the women humiliating the man, two men do. Overall I did not have a problem with this commercial even after re-watching it searching for forms of anti-feminist messages.

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