What the media gets completely wrong about “gender roles”, and why it matters.

From their looks you can tell that they are thinking “ Mum is so hopeless, but let’s try to be nice to her”. Then Dad appears, making breakfast, organising lunches and checking school uniforms before setting off for his day at work. He is impressive.

The Twittersphere would shake with outrage at the portrayal of women. It is sexist, misogynistic and degrading. It would last about 2 microseconds before it was taken down. There would be complaints to the media regulators and the press would be in morally “super indignant mode”.

The sad thing is that if the gender roles were reversed there would be almost no comment, little expression of indignation and few if any, complaints. Not a murmur on Social media. It is obviously OK to portray men in a negative light. Why is there such a double standard? Why do we not challenge it until it changes?

We accept adverts that portray men as weak, indecisive idiots without complaining. These commercials are common, and often use humour to increase the feeling of inadequacy that is portrayed. It is Ok to ridicule men but it is only OK to do this if the men are white, because in Australia at least we have section 18c of the race discrimination act that stops us offending people on the basis of race, colour or ethnicity. Not sure why being “white” does not qualify!

There is rarely any debate about the issues raised, just vicious name calling, labelling and vitriol. Maybe it’s the fear of this backlash and the nastiness that restricts actions to address the imbalance, or maybe its just passivity brought on be experience that suggest she effort it takes rarely produces good results.

Just yesterday we had the “manflu” presentation with the whimpering (obviously pretending to be ill) man who needs a lot of TLC because he is such a pathetic specimen. The other message that comes across is that women are strong, smart and in control. There are many examples of this such as:

 

Another series of adverts that paints such negative pictures of men (contrasting with the womens’ super qualities) is the RACQ Insurance commercials featuring the “Charter Boat” one.

 

The man sounds so pathetic, uninformed and needing help.

Yet despite the negative stereotypes presented in the media, I couldn’t help but laugh at a recent you tube clip, even though a dispassionate analysis would show that the man is an idiot. The emphasis is on the humour and most of us can relate to aspects of the situation. It is funny and if the gender roles were reversed it would make an excellent statement promoting men, but even as it is it is worth a look so at least we can say that its Ok to poke some fun at the opposite gender but let’s restore some balance overall.

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