Readers, a question.

I think this is a bit of a first, explicitly asking for what you guys (and in this case I’m particularly interested in what the male IDed among you think) think about a representation of masculinity.

Back in March (about here) I posted a video of a Dove commercial that aired at the Superbowl. I was a little on the fence as to whether or not I was offended by it; whether it was prescriptive of identity, or satirising it (not that these things are exclusive).

My question to you, my male ID’ing readers is, do you find this advertisement offensive? And if so how?

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5 Comments on “Readers, a question.”

  1. Nick Says:

    Not troubled by it at all …. a little fluffy & sort of funny, but not offensive.

  2. Ampersand Says:

    Definitely prescriptive of identity. I wouldn’t say that I was “offended” by it, because that would imply that I care about it much more than I do. But it’s a commercial endorsing sexist norms of masculinity, in service to a product that no one needs (can’t both sexes use the same soap?).

  3. Margo S. Says:

    As a female who has been involved in health policy for a long time and in men’s health for about 5 years, I have to admit some affection for this ad because…well, because of the humorous (and, I thought, pretty fair) way it portrays, in nanoseconds, the various roles that men play and the challenges they face in doing so. What is the alternative? What would a commercial look like that did not endorse sexist norms of masculinity?

    As for whether both sexes can use the same products: my macho Aussie focus group of 1 says that it’s all about the fragrance: the women’s stuff (e.g, spray deoderant) is too flowery. But he’d be happy with generic brands as long as the scent was OK.

  4. Daniel Mang Says:

    I see the first part of it as satire. But that’s evidently not the way it’s meant to be understood, this is just flexible masculinism. The film tells you two things: You have to go through this, there is no alternative. And you can come out of it more or less unscathed, and have reason to be proud you did it. Both not true, and politically reactionary statements, in my mind. And then, once you have done your duty, once you are mature and have successfully adapted to masculine existence, you could ease up a little and start taking care of yourself more. This I see as recuperation of a potentially progressive critique of old style provider masculinity in the interest of consumerism: men can be a bit sensitive now and caring about your skin is no longer just a fag thing, so let’s sell them some cosmetics.
    I am also annoyed by the implicit suggestion that the ideal middle-class smoothness and relaxedness the image of this ideal Dove man in the second part projects is attainable for everyone.
    The way I see it, elements of social critique have been recuperated here for the purpose of selling products. I am against private ownership of the means of production and all the rest of it, so I find all advertisement offensive. But when advertising twists and recuperates elements of dissatisfaction with society, in this case a prescriptive gender regime, using them to actually affirm the norm, I find that particularly offensive.
    So, I object to this piece because of its reactionary message about the necessity and possibility of adapting to norms of masculinity, because of its consumerist and depoliticizing recuperation of unease with classic masculinity and its positing of a middle class norm. And I hate it simply because it is advertising.

  5. popupsncockups Says:

    Hi, I am a, suppose masculine gay man(mickey maguire shameless) is closest, estate is almost identical to where i grew up, the thing about the ad and my type of masculine, is that although it’s lad attitude, we are very into cleanliness, personal hygiene is top of the list, and these kind of ads really do work amongst us lads, they have set us free really, because we are openly allowed to be vain, these kind of ads have been forcing the issue for us, if anything we are more masculine, same product, packaged slightly differently is necessary,lynx is very male, there are slight differences, a guy doesn’t want to be using same products as his partner, great for advertisers as well, twice the money, it works for everyone, gay men included, as we are also a necessary accessory for the straight guy, it’s become a way of saying to the world i am a sorted secure man, plus it looks good if he wants to chat a girl/woman up. male masculinity has radically changed but managed to keep hold of being a sexual male, personally i love it, my sexuality is also not the main thing, being gay working class is normal now i am not even referred to as gay first, i love it, masculine men have come of age.


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