Just when I think I’m seeing the last of this “MAN” marketing (to manly men with man bits and man face only, please and thank you), another company comes along and absolutely floors me with their homophobia and penchant for shaming dudes who don’t fit gender norms. Here I am, just sitting here on my couch with my current boy toy, trying to enjoy whatever Star Trek episode happens to be on Spike, when this Sketchers ad comes on TV.
Of course, I immediately sat bolt upright and began berating the TV. By now I should know this is completely ineffective; but no matter.
What did I just see? Was that a headless, stereotypically gay man flouncing by, objectified in the same way that women often are in advertisements? Was that done to emphasize the fact that he is FEMININE LIKE A LADY? Who is this awful redshirt smirking nastily at him, anyway? Apparently, unbeknownst to me until I googled it, he’s Mark Cuban, the owner of a basketball team. Of course.
This sort of ad just reinforces the same tired stereotypes. Basically, the one that says that only women and gay men can care about what they look like. That men think comfort is more important than appearance in any and all cases – well, if they’re straight, manly men you can relate to, at least. So, “real” men. It sends the message that deriding someone who seems to be gay for wearing a “man-scarf” is okay, and even funny. Cuban even pretends (patronizingly) to agree with the kid in the end, before glancing over and laughing at him behind his back as if we were in junior high school. I’m shocked and disappointed with Sketchers for airing an ad that’s fairly obviously stereotypical and just plain rude. But then again, should I even be surprised considering the same company created this line for girls:
(It’s in… Japanese? Sorry, the best example I could find)
Versus this for boys:
(Again, it’s in Dutch. BUT WHATEVER THE CONTENT IS GRASPABLE)