there’s an interesting thing that’s been happening in the world for the past few years (maybe longer; this is just my radar) – the man bash. it’s become totally acceptable, and even somewhat encouraged, for men to be portrayed as total idiots in the world of pop culture, advertising, and even somewhat in our real lives.
maybe this came about as a byproduct of feminism. in order to boost women up to the same level as the fellas, the faster track found us elevating the ladies while simultaneously knocking the boys down a few pegs.
the past decade or so of television has been ripe with man-bashing. hugely popular sitcoms like “everybody loves raymond,” “king of queens,” “according to jim,” “home improvement,” and countless others have made millions (and made millions laugh) at the expense of guys. the bumbling guy who somehow lands the superhot wife, has a couple kids, and becomes a laughably incompetent father, barreling and fumbling through this thing called life, to the delight of audiences (interestingly, both male and female) around the world.
advertising winks knowingly at moms, seemingly assuming that dad isn’t responsible for much to do with household or kids, and that even if he was, he’s too dumb to know the right brand of peanut butter to buy. ragu came under social media fire recently for a spammy twitter campaign that targeted dad bloggers and then proceeded to directly insult them with their video of what it looks like when dad has to make dinner. (adam singer has a great writeup of this whole disaster over at future buzz).
even among real world people, there’s this underlying current of “he just doesn’t know what he’s doing.” women i know (even women i know and love) often insult the men in their lives, sometimes explicitly and sometimes thinly veiled or through pointed and public jokes. i know for a fact that many of these women would be devastated if their partner spoke to or referred to them in the same way.
so why is it ok to man bash? ladies, haven’t we reached a better place of equality, a level where we don’t need to man bash to create or advance our own success? guys, aren’t you tired of the man bash lurking around every corner, where your real and valid contributions as a husband, father, provider, and a generally competent human being aren’t constantly being questioned or overlooked?
equality is a double-edged sword, and wielding it properly means acknowledging that it’s not ok to consistently marginalize, mock and ridicule half of the population. maybe it’s all in good fun, and maybe it’s not – but at least in my world, it’s totally last call for the man bash.