Subscribe to Risktopia

January 1, 2018

The Dumb Husband Cliche: Sexism Tables Have Turned

Are you a man? If so, according to recent depictions in popular media you probably fumble around major appliances, can't do basic math, are awestruck by your trivial accomplishments and need to be trained by your wife.

These days, it is common to see husbands portrayed as reckless idiots. This seems to be the 'go-to' creative for many ad agencies targeting women.

It wasn't that long ago the roles were reversed and women were portrayed as naïve sex objects who could be won-over with home appliances. Frankly, the ads depicting women before the 1980s were downright abysmal. The fear of abandonment via divorce or adultery was a common theme in ads targeting women. Shit, I've even seen old ads calling wives 'pets' and insinuating they require the occasional spanking (the punishing kind, not the consensual fun kind).

I am happy that women today are portrayed as intelligent, sophisticated beings. What I don't appreciate is that men are now being portrayed as childlike buffoons who would crumble if it weren't for their patient spouses.

Men and women do bring different skills to the table and both have flaws, but men undeniably contribute to the adult pair-bond in many meaningful ways.

While some might say I'm taking a joke too seriously, I believe these portrayals permeate the greater consciousness subtly affecting the way society in general treats men. I work hard to support my family and I don't want that to be denigrated down to an idiotic representation in a Cascade commercial.

Watch the following commercials and you'll see what I mean. Watch them a second time, but picture the genders are reversed. Can you imagine the outcry?

It was wrong to do this to women before the 1980s and it is wrong to do this to men in the 2010s.

So where's the outcry for men? Actually, scratch outcry is required.

Instead, a simple modicum of respect is all I ask. Life is hard. Women work hard. Men work hard. I'm sure the advertising world can dream up more creative ways to appeal to females without leaning on the newest 'dumb husband' cliche.

Free eBook: 40 Job Interview Red Flags