In the immortal words of the great Descartes:
I am stupid… therefore, I’m a man!
See, now I’m processing whether I should even dedicate a whole blog post to this. Because if I do, I become the town crier whining-about, over what most men who come across it welcome a lovable affirmation of their own typical brute. Sure, the majority of us will recognize Dr. Pepper’s Power 10 commercial as ‘tasteless‘, but see qualms that act no deeper than ‘fun and game‘. Which lends me to projections of “soft” and “sensitive” for so much as giving it an extra thought.
Me? THINK?? < The audacity.. I’m a guy!
Plus.. my caption for it probably does more to tap on that rigid mental than would a full on exploration into the social psychology which conditions us to reinforce such shallow depictions of Men; depreciates a Women’s capacity to share space in a traditionally male world. Only, I’m afraid there are far too few of us who’d be insulted being exposed to the possibility we may have come all this way in life, without ever realizing just how (how could I say this..) un-evolved we show to be; just how much credit, beyond that which we deserve, we give ourselves.
Let me put it out there that I, for one, happen to enjoy romantic comedies.
Get clear brothers, I’m not talking myself up, I’m not speaking for Women.. I’m speaking for US. And not in the way we do when one of us start a statement with: “I think I speak for all men when I say…” No, this is not that. We don’t need another alpha ego stepping up to cajole our rowdy response to the opportunity he saw to take; stepping up to be THE MAN in the room, just as the rest of us were settling down to listen.
(( sit back down “fuck these hoes” guy.. please find your seat Mr. “Long as they don’t bring it around me.” ))
I ain’t necessarily saying you need to start looking at the sky like it’s the ground and the ground like it’s the sky;
_you ain’t going to hear me advocate you run out and get a pedicure right now. although, it’s a Sunday, you got off and yo’ shit is busted.. why the hell not
_i’m not interested in you going out of your way to find a Woman who can bench press as much as you do. don’t let me find out the only Firewoman in town is suddenly having to avoid stalkers *fellas, keep it together*
_i don’t care about the check you’re going to write out in the name of gender equality. What you do in the bedroom (in the name of gender equality) is not my business…
But it is high time for us to have a conversation on just how comfortable we are allowing ourselves to be defined and represented, by our lack of depth in everything from domestic (cooking, cleaning), to personal (hygiene, diet), to social (emotion, communication) survival skills. And by the same coin how UN-comfortable we remain, with re-considering how we engage ourselves and how we engage others in respects to identity/lifestyle as indiscriminate matters of choice.
Hell, it’s time we have a conversation about our discomfort with having a conversation, period!
We’d love to be able to write off the Dr. Pepper Power of 10 commercial as a ridiculous marketing ploy. We’d love to equate it analogous to English Royalty; parody on a dated legacy; slide our hands into our own jaws, show it has no teeth. But if that were the case, why then do companies continue to use sexism to sell their products; why haven’t they stopped using sports networks, and targeting audiences on football sundays, to sell beer and beef jerky using scantily clad Women and big wheeled trucks??? Something about these concepts perpetuating violence, misogyny, and homophobia must be proving beneficial to those putting them out there…
There are those amongst us who pose that it isn’t the media generating these dynamics of oppression, that it is we ourselves being violent, misogynistic, homophobic, and that markets are simply being wise to exploit our condition; holding up a mirror; doing it in a humorous way. To a certain extent these points are valid. I as a 30 year old man neither feel inclined to buy beer because somebody told me to be a man and do it! Nor will I walk out the door tomorrow, having fixed myself to be more like the guys in the commercial because they like beer. ..But what about the impressionable youth? Doesn’t the plausibility that that which is given precedence in the media will bare an influence on society, increase, when messages inferring what it is to be a man (insensitive, intolerant) and what it is to be a woman (sexualized, quiet yet bubbly) are being absorbed by the boy who will tell his friend to BE A MAN! When he is in mourning or feeling humiliated?
You may feel we ought to expect that not everything being projected by the media will be respectful towards diversity, not everything will be compassionate towards our emotional and psychological impulses. But are there boundaries we ought be mindful to keep? Is there a measure of accountability any entity must face, if not to the law, to your own personal or your communal sensibilities of right and wrong??
Miller Lite has been running a “Man-Up” campaign which airs commercials framing an “Un-Manly” thing the men in each respective spot reflect on one of them having done. In one of the commercials we are aired a flash-back to a gentleman bawling out tears before his girlfriend; he repeats “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” slumping his head over rejected shoulders. Two of the commercials question a man for what he is wearing (in one a scarf, in the other: skinny jeans), and two others mock a man who would exhibit fear (in one a man is screaming on a roller coaster, in another, he is anxious for someone to take the fish off his line). And if Miller Lite is putting out that it is not “manly” to be hurt in a relationship, or that it is not “manly” to be nervous, then by in large it is not only limiting to men, it is limiting to Women.. It must be ‘womanly’ to be nervous and thus we can see how Women learn to depend on men for strength. It must be ‘womanly’ to be hurt in relationships, so in turn, women who DON’T allow themselves to live at the affect of heartbreak become heartless ‘bitches’.
The relationship we assume to the mediums responsible for informing our reality, determine the power we have to maintain a grasp and mold of our own making on it. Sure there is an element of entertainment we can prosper from being open to enjoying, in whatever it is we take in. But to omit any and all angles for sociocultural critique is to befall the reality of a robot. We become consumers in our homes, in our minds; we disconnect from our humanity.
There is something valuable, that we have yet to recognize as men, about standing for being recognized and appreciated for our intimate qualities. We open up to allow young brothers around us to transform who they are at an earlier age than we did, and thus empower them to impact the world around them in ways we will not be able to imagine until we witness them do it. We give our elders the privilege of watching humanity continue to evolve via our very actions, in their lifetime.
When a world class football player is a boy, he wants to be like his idol. He begins his life in the game, performing in emulation of what he has seen on television. But before long, he recognizes that he will not be successful watching himself be that idol; running from outside his body, dodging competition in choreographed step. At some point he begins to recognize mechanisms that work for HIM, he begins to acquaint himself with techniques that draw him closer to himself as a prospective athlete. He felt how the balls of his feet twisted off the ground when he recorded his record time; he aims to reproduce and master that motion. He feels the muscles of his thigh disjointing and pulling together, meticulously, and knows he is doing something right, as he looks left and right to see he has left all other sprinters behind him.
We see a game… But he –
he feels the wind, smells the grass, hears his own calculations.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things – 1 Corinthians 13:11
we are men
because we don’t need to be reminded that we are.