Commercials often try to use humor to grab a viewer’s attention. Often times, in commercials, men are the butt of the jokes. I’ve seen so many commercials lately that feature a man doing something dumb and then getting in trouble with his wife. This is troubling to men such as myself, as it may show a dramatic shift in the balance of power in relationships.
I’m going to show you two commercials that will further explain what I mean. I will spend way too much time breaking down these 30 seconds TV spots than I should. But they all lead me to my point at the end. So bear with me…
In this commercial, some guy and his wife are having a nice breakfast at McDonald’s when the woman decides she’s gonna start trouble. She tells her man that her sister’s boyfriend does nothing but watch football on Sunday and then looks to her man for a comment as way to test him. If he says the wrong answer, he’s dead.
First off, this is a bullshit tactic. Why start trouble? Their relationship has nothing to do with yours, so why even test him? You seem to be enjoying a nice breakfast together. Is it really worth bringing this up? Maybe she’s just pissed that he took her to McDonald’s instead of some place nice.
After she seeks her husband’s opinion on the matter, the guy begins to freak out. Sunday’s are absolutely for watching football but he’s too much of a pussy to be honest. So he desperately tries to come up with an answer that won’t result in him getting kicked out of the house tonight. So what does he do? He makes up a lie and sells out a fellow bro in the process by calling him a jerk.
It’s obvious that the woman does indeed “wear the pants” in this relationship. This guy loves football and NFL betting, like any other man, but because he’s too big of a vag to stand up for himself, he’s now going to spend every Sunday shopping at Whole Foods and watching Desperate Housewives with her.
But to him, lying is better than the alternative, which is having sex and dinner withheld and being kicked out of the house (Though there’s a good chance when he makes his move in bed tonight, his wife will claim she’s too tired anyway).
His problem is that he let things snowball until it got to this point. This woman clearly runs the show. This man is TERRIFIED of his own woman. He lives in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing to the girl he chose to spend the rest of his life with. It’s pathetic. Somehow, over the course of the relationship, his nuts have gradually ascended inside his body and he has lost what little hand he had in the relationship to start with.
In this commercial, our protagonist Steve is excited to tell his wife that he just got the family unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes on their cell phone plan. Before he can even explain himself, his wife chimes in out of turn, complains about him spending more money and then mutters that she should have married some other guy.
First off, can you imagine a guy saying something like this to his wife? We would get smacked so hard. If I told my wife that I wish I married someone else, it would be a minimum of a week before she would even acknowledge my existence. Yet somehow a woman can get away with this?
Secondly, she’s complaining about spending too much money as she waters a room full of plants in her fancy greenhouse. Anyone else see the irony here? This dude is just trying to get a better cell phone plan, and she’s bitching about money, while she throws away cash on an expensive greenhouse that provide zero value to the family. Steve is working his ass off, trying to provide for his family, even though she probably wasted lots of money by taking out a home equity loan to “pursue her passion.” This man’s first mistake was not shooting down that idea in the first place.
At least this dude has some semblance of sack. You can see the look on his face. He desperately wants to call her a stupid cunt after she makes that comment but he holds back and just reveals that it didn’t cost any extra money, thus showing that he was right, leaving his “better-half” speechless. The man, for now, can enjoy a small victory in the battle for the upper hand. Unfortunately for him, it’s a battle he will ultimately lose.
Despite his victory here, it’s pretty obvious that the wife controls the relationship. The fact that she has the hubris to even make that comment proves that is the case.
This man also hates his wife. He used to love her and would do anything to get things back the way they were. He thinks telling his wife that he got free mobile-to-mobile minutes would—at least for a brief moment— bring the smile he once fell for back in college. But quickly, that hope is dashed, as he once again is reminded that his wife has become some person he tolerates living with and not the woman he couldn’t be with out.
And yes, I got all that from a 30 second spot about a wireless calling plan.
So what do these commercials say about men? Have men lost control of the household? Do women “wear the pants” now? It seems like we are no longer masters of our domain.
Back in the day, men were the rulers of the castle, if only because women were dependent on men for survival. A man was often the sole breadwinner in the family and therefore provided his wife with a lifestyle she could not achieve on her own. Women had to put up with men out of necessity, which as a result gave men the upper hand in relationships.
But things have shifted dramatically now. Women are no longer dependent on men for survival. They are independent and sometimes are making more money then their significant others. They no longer need to put up with us. They also have the power to withhold sex from us (which men can’t pull off), and that gives them the edge.
Ideally, this isn’t how it should be. Marriages are certainly challenging, but it should be an equal partnership. We should be honest with each other and not fear that the wrong answer will put us in the doghouse. But if one of us has to have an upper hand, I’d prefer it to be men.
Perhaps this is just the way we are portrayed and these types of moments are not the norm in real society. I don’t really have a definitive answer. I could probably do a dissertation on this if I wanted to. I don’t really feel like doing all that work so I thought I’d pose these questions to the readers instead.
What are your thoughts?
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