Monday, April 27, 2009

Predatory Commercialism and Feminism

Okay, let me start with a short disclaimer. I do not lack a sense of humor. I'm also not a "Militant, Radical, Lesbian, Feminist", anymore. Once upon a time, yes, now, not quite so much. Don't get me wrong I firmly believe in equal rights, but not at the expense of bashing men. Men are people too! I have some good friends who are men.

Okay, that said, I feel the media, and commercial marketing types, are getting a touch predatory about equal rights.

Predatory Commercialism is to my mind the use a specific concepts to find a lever into someone else's wallet when they might not otherwise be willing to spend money. Or to shroud something in market friendly phrases without really doing the concepts any justice. Home Despot for excample has recently launched a course, or courses called:

DIH! (Do it herself) Doh!

To "teach" women how to "do it yourself." So when did "Do it yourself" become not enough?

Then Pepsi has several new radio spots that just make me laugh my butt off everytime I hear them. The first one talks directly TO men, and ends with "Now you can look your cahonnes in the eye!" All about Pepsi Max, and diet Pepsi a man doesn't have to be embarassed to drink.

Excuse me, but when did drinking diet soda embarrase guys? I know plenty who drink it and don't have any problem with it. In fact, until I heard the commercial I never really thought anybody gave it much thought. I certainly didn't. But now we've got "PEPSI MAX" a Man's diet in the solid black can.

Not to let it go at that, I heard another Pepsi commercial talking about how women like to change our minds, constantly. So there are now multiple varieties of Pepsi with different flavorings added. Like Lime, Vanilla and Wild Cherry flavored Diet Pepsi so women can drink them and because we crave variety? It all smacks of the old comment about it being our prerogative to change our minds. But the commercial, like the one about Diet Pepsi Max being just for GUYS, made the whole thing feel cheap and sleazy to me. Especially since I know in this mass market, one size fits all push that retailers have, no-one's going to really carry the new stuff, leaving us all to stick with what we know. And of course, add flavor as we see fit. Like when I want a Cherry, Vanilla 7-Up! Oh, wait, that's neither cola, nor Pepsi. Which is honestly too sweet for me anyway. When I did still drink soda, and cola specifically, it was always Coke for me because it wasn't too sweet. I drank the diet, caffene free version, and that was hard enough to get, let alone diet, caffene free, wild cherry... Which you can bet they are NOT making.

Now, if you followed that all, there's a country song sung by Brad Paisely that I kid you not includes the line "It's hip now to be feminized!" He goes on to sing, "What can I say, at the end of the day, honey I'm still a guy!"

And a cute one you are Brad. But the whole song is about him not buying into the rampant feminization of men. Color me stupid, but I like my men to look like men, and women to look like women. This way I don't accidentally say something stupid and without meaning to, hurt someone's feelings.

Wow, yeah, me babbling I'm thinking...



Lori D said...

Hurt someone's feelings...I'm really good with doing that, or is that "bad at doing that?" Gah...

When a coworker drinks one of those special sodas, we call them "fu-fu" if he's any less of a man by drinking it. Me? I cheerfully pop one open and drink away!

alan said...

I survived my last few months of overtime at GM on lo-cal Red Bull, Diet Pepsi and caffeine tabs...I could have cared less what anyone thought I was just terrified of running someone over when they walked out in front of my 16,000 pound forklift.

That said, I know exactly the kind of "niche marketing" you mean!


Ariel Taylor said...

This is not the first time it's been hip for men to be femme.

Witness: Beau Brummell.
Witness: Oscar Wilde.
Witness: Noel Coward.
Witness: France from Louis XIV to the present.

It's just the first time in America. :D We are slow to catch on to these newfangled trends. American hyper-masculinity has been rather iconic the past century or two. It's been hard for us to move on from John Wayne ~ not that there is anything wrong with John Wayne (I quite like The Searchers).

After him, we had Ahnuld as the dominant masculine cultural force in the 80's (alongside Raygun), and bodybuilding media exploded. Eventually people realized 'roided-out cartoon people were more ridiculous than fashionable. Not that there is anything wrong with, say, Terminator 2. But I think there is room for all types of masculine iconography in our popular culture, not just muscleheads. For instance, there is definitely room for Adam Lambert.

Samantha said...

Thanks Ariel for reminding me, that yes, it's hip for men to be femme.

Personally I think folk should lighten up some and live a life of their own while letting others do likewise. Anything else is a recipe for some serious unpleasantness. And for my regular readers who might find some bemusement in my infrequent "Firefly" references, you can thank Ariel, she got me hooked!

Having been hurt too many times in the past, I try to keep from hurting other folks, but I doubt I'm perfect. Frankly I wouldn't want to be perfect, because that'd just be wrong.

Regrettably, America is very backward in so many ways, not just appearances.

While I'm not a big fan of Idol, Adam Lambert is a very cute boy, and I agree, there is so room for him! Oddly enough, I didn't really think of him as femme when I saw him on idol one night.

The govenator, yeah, he's a living stereotype.

Ariel Taylor said...

Does Hugh Jackman count as manly? He is polished, but not really femme (despite his song and dance talent). I know Wolverine will disappoint me, but I want to see it just for him.

Samantha said...

Oh yeah, he counts as manly, and oh so yummy! Yeah, I want to see it too, but I'm not expecting miracles from the movie either. Watching him, listening to him, oh yeah, sign me up!

Ange said...

Hugh Jackman in Australia.

Sorry, I was going to say other stuff, then Ariel mentioned Hugh Jackman, and, well, you know how us women are.

Samantha said...

Oh Ange my dear, have no fear, I don't know a woman alive whose motor doesn't start to hum around Hugh Jackman. In his latest movie, Wolverine, he's purported to be naked in the snow for part of it. Yes, yes, OH YES! The movie could otherwise suck and I'll watch it again and again. And only to be fair, and honest, my love of Hugh started well before he became a mutant. Kate & Leopold! Oh my God he was so yummy in that. Yes, I know just how us women are. He could show up at my door and say "Hi" and all my clothes would fall off and I'd probably faint. Manly Ariel? Oh yes, yes, YES!!! More men like him and the world would be a much better place!

So no worries Ange, yeah, I know just how we are!