[sic] For Media Literacy (CFML), acknowledges that entertainment is socially useful for millions of people. The CFML seemingly endorses the statement that, “All television is educational.” Which I’d agree with. Thus, if women are controlling the spending of 80% of the economy, they’ll continue to be targeted by advertisers who require agreeable programming which fits with the feminine narrative and its view of the world. The system will weed out any narrative that doesn’t conform to the product that advertisers want to buy. Unless men organize themselves better, the ‘education’ will continue to be self-reinforcing feminine fantasy.
A sketch by the comedian Bill Burr asks the question: how can it be that there is no reason to ever hit a woman? A man of course SHOULD never hit a woman. That is clear, he says, and anyone who does should go to jail. But why do we need to make such absolutist claims? Are there really no possible precipitating events that might give someone a reason? Not a justification, but a reason? Burr is a comedian, so he deliberately picks an uncomfortable ledge to balance on, but his underlying point is clear: why are men in particular forbidden to feel or think or be in certain ways? Society recognizes instigation and taunting as provocations to encourage anger. It is penalized in sports, both the NHL and NFL hand out penalties for taunting, and instigation. There’s a reason.
Through constant social reinforcement, men are told to be quiet and strong. Then they are blamed for not communicating a description of the masculine experience, and as a result, men have had the male experience defined for them, by the only equality possible, the only valid viewpoint – the feminine one. Alternatively, if men do explain masculinity it’s dismissed as unacceptable, which is a denial of its validity.
A lady friend of mine noticed an ad on TV which was promoting sunscreen one evening. The commercial began by stating that we only have two millimeters of skin to protect us from the sun. Then a footnote flashed briefly across the screen, quickly indicating an average of two millimeters of thickness. Aside from the absurdity of the statement, ‘of skin protecting us from the sun’, the commercial shows a blond ‘Barbie’ woman on a beach with two young kids. Then fades to another warning – “Stay protected with skin protection factor of 60.” Passive consumers get the spin – ‘Women, you need this product for your protection.’ The ad then claims, “It is Canada’s number one recommended brand by dermatologists for kids, and women.” Why not men? Aside from fear, what message does that ad send? How about, Men look after yourself, because ‘Barbie’ and won’t. “Despite their thicker skins, American men have a greater incidence of skin cancer than women. According to the Centers[sic] for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2006, 57% of people diagnosed with melanomas of the skin were men, and 65% of those that died were men. These scary statistics should serve as an impetus to educate men about the need for daily defense[sic] against sun damage while providing solutions targeted to male skin.” That was from The International Dermal Institute, a private skin-care training company. The figures are slightly different in Canada, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, 23% more men are diagnosed with melanoma than women, and 64% more men die from melanoma cancer than women do. Regardless, it’s stale beer, we know the stats.
Consider the ad telling NFL viewers that they can become the worlds most Powerful fan…if they get XYZ technology. Or the truck commercial selling Guts and Glory, and a vicarious adventure extracted from a make-believe, romantic, and nostalgic past. A deep voice narrates that, “Cowboys lived by an unspoken code – the code of the west.” And sure enough, one precept of – The Code, “Is to talk less, and say more.” In other words don’t communicate. The message is: Buy this truck, and you’ll be a Strong and Quiet Cowboy. You’ll have Guts and Glory. And maybe a monthly payment. The ads aimed at men in this make-believe narrative are about purchasing – Power, and being the strong, quiet male stereotype. See male suicide rates for the strong silent type. The ad message for women is: Be afraid. Purchase protection, and purchase beauty.
It is not the responsibility of the government to create awareness campaigns, it’s up to citizens. Perhaps men’s issue/rights organizations need a team goal? A team challenge? Women are not about to organize men’s groups, or look after men’s health. So men are going to have to communicate louder, clearer, and more often if they want to make positive change.